Monday 3 March 2014

South 2: Haringey Racers' 4 Point Weekend

The CVS Haringey Racers enjoyed the greatest weekend of their season so far, as a record crowd of 792 witnessed a 10-2 St David's Day demolition of Cardiff at Alexandra Palace on Saturday, before a thrilling 5-4 win over the reigning league champions away at Oxford City Stars on Sunday. 
Haringey jumped out to a three goal lead inside the first ten minutes on Saturday, with Matt Brown scoring in the opening minute and Sean Martin adding a quick fire brace. Owen Griffiths pulled on back for the visitors but Ricky Rutherford restored the cushion before the first break. 
Haringey goaltender Ian Shepherd pulled up with a recurrent injury after the first period, so impressive youngster Sam Calder stepped between the pipes and churned out a man of the match performance over the next two periods.  Griffiths scored again for Cardiff after the restart but the Racers pressed on with captain Lee Mercer and Ricky Mills increasing the lead before the end of the second period. 
The hosts then ran away in the final stanza, with Ben Osborne scoring his first goal for Haringey, Mills completing a brace, Anthony Child grabbing a powerplay goal and Martin completing a hat-trick in the last few minutes.
Tempers boiled over in the final minute of the game and Racers' power forward Mason Webster fought with Cardiff's Tom Smith and as both went to ground Webster hit his head on the ice and sustained a very nasty cut above the eye. 
Shepherd was still ruled out for Sunday, so Calder started but Webster was back and ready to play and the Racers took the lead again when Ricky Rutherford found the target in the 12th minute. Oxford levelled through Joshua Oliver late in the period only for  Martin to pounce again before the buzzer and restore the lead. 
Martin doubled his tally and Haringey's lead after the restart with an early goal but Oxford's Alan Green scored on the powerplay to keep them within touching distance. Webster hit straight back as Haringey tried to pull away again and they went into the second break 4-2 up. 
Oxford came out hard in the tense final stanza and punished Haringey for taking penalties when two powerplay goals from Jeff Sykora and Joshua Florey pulled the champs level with ten minutes left to play. The Racers needed a hero, and they found one in experienced defenceman Rob Jenner, when his shot from the blue line deflected off an Oxford defenceman and into the net for the winning goal, with five minutes to go.
The Racers then clung on for a nervy but memorable finish to a momentous weekend.
Sam Park
Photos: top - Ricky Mills, bottom Rob Jenner - both by Sam Park