SKATER HOCKEY: Mixed bag for Flames on opening day
SWINDON Flames juniors opened their 2014 season with mixed results on day one at Farnborough Leisure.
They opened their account with an emphatic 12-0 victory over KSF but were then brought back down to earth with a bump as they crashed 7-2 to a strong Oxford Hurricanes side.
Swindon were soon into their stride in their opening game of the season and took the lead after two minutes when Liam Coleman set up new signing Dylan Bonner who opened his account.
Despite the lead the Flames struggled to find any fluency in their attacking play and they were frequently bogged down in and around the KSF goal area. It took over six minutes for Flames to add to their advantage but it did soon come when Bonner set up Harding for the second.
Liam Coleman increased the lead with his first of the game a minute later but again there was a long break before Flames found the net again. Coleman added another before Jacob Latham scored before the break to extend the lead to five.
In the second period Flames produced a much better performance and scored regularly at two minute intervals throughout the half with Coleman (4), Harding (2) and Latham scoring the goals while another new signing, Leigh Starsmeare, and netminder Jake Silvester were credited with assists.
Any confidence Flames had gained from their earlier victory soon evaporated against Oxford when they went behind after only 30 seconds as a fierce Josh Hickman shot was saved by Silvester, but the Swindon defence failed to pick up an Oxford forward following up who just managed to lift the ball over the netminder.
Two minutes later Oxford scored again in a near identical fashion. The Swindon side began to fight back and enjoyed a lot of possession and got in plenty of shots on their opponents’ goal but found Josh’s brother Kieran in excellent form in the Oxford goal.
Harding eventually pulled one back for the Swindon side but Josh Hickman again skated through for an individual goal and repeated the feat with six minutes of the first period remaining.
The second period was much the same, with Swindon enjoying a great deal of possession and creating a hatful of chances but too often found Kieran Hickman frustrating their efforts.
Latham followed up a shot on goal to pull one back for the Flames but Josh Hickman scored a further three to extend the Oxford lead before the match closed with Swindon running into penalty trouble.