Panthers pounce for title
SWINDON Panthers capped a remarkable league season with success in the play-off final recently as they beat Streatham Chiefs 7-4 in the final.
After comfortably disposing of Solent Scorpions in the semis, Panthers took on Streatham Chiefs who included a host of imports in their side in what was always going to be a tough affair.
With the Chiefs the only team to beat the Panthers in a league fixture, the final started at a frantic pace with big, physical, hits the setting out the Chiefs’ gameplan.
Panthers took the lead through the Richards, Redmond and Gough line with 1.22 on the clock, with a rasping shot from outside the blue line from Ian Richards finding the back of the net.
The second soon followed, at 2.48, Gareth Endicott and Rob Croucher combining well to double the advantage although the Chiefs quickly pulled one back.
Chiefs kept pushing and an individual effort from one of the import players, Andrea Masalk, beat the Swindon stopper to tie the game at 2-2 with four minutes remaining in the first period.
However, Swindon’s Dave Lovejoy drove out of defence and, after good work from Endicott and Croucher, thumbed home to give Swindon a 3-2 lead at the first buzzer.
The second period started in the same way as the first, and when Richards won the face off back to Darren Taylor, who shot at the net, the rebound fell to Richards who slotted home to take the game to 4-2 to the Panthers.
The game started to run in Swindon’s favour, with a booming slapshot from Matt Crouch from the blue line, after some more low work from Endicott and Croucher, making it 5-2.
Both sides were still working each other hard and up stepped the Neil Rouse to slot home number six after some lovely work behind the net from Wojciak at 35.53, the period closed out after this with the Panthers ahead 6-2.
The final period got under way as Streatham came out flying, scoring their third goal at 44.12 from import Masalk, followed by lots of pressure on the Panthers for them to score their fourth two minutes later from Brit Dave Graham.
The Chiefs rained shots on Swindon keeper Thompson, with the game was going end to end for the next 13 minutes, with neither team being able to score until 1.33 left.
Robin Davison picked up on a loose puck, weaved past Chiefs players to find Endicott who rifled the puck home.
Richards picked up man of the match and captain Crouch the two trophies on the night.