Streatham IHC boss Jeremy Cornish hasn’t ruled out challenging for the NIHL1 South title this season and believes his players will hit the ground running despite six weeks without a game.
Cornish’s team lie fourth in the table ahead of this weekend’s fixtures against Oxford City Stars and Invicta Dynamos, and still have plenty to play for during the rest of the campaign.
“I’ve never had such a long mid-season break before, but I’m hoping the excitement of getting back on the ice will help with that,” said Cornish.
“We’ve got a really good group of committed players and I’m sure it will be business as usual when we get back on the ice together.
“I’m really excited for the second half of the season – we’re currently in fourth place and we’ll be looking to challenge Chelmsford for the title if we get the results we need.
“We’ve also got the cup semis and play-offs to look forward to and I’ve always taken great pride in giving full commitment and effort for each trophy available.”
Saturday’s opponents Oxford have struggled in recent weeks, picking up just a single point from their last seven games.
Having finished fourth last season hopes were high around the club that they could challenge for honours, but Head Coach Simon Anderson says his players need to improve for that to happen.
“This league’s a different animal this year – everybody needs to find another gear,” Anderson told Oxfordshire Sports Online.
“Every single player that played last year is down on scoring and that’s hurting us. We need to be taking our chances and take a little bit of pressure off ourselves.
“We’re getting opportunities and we’re out-shooting teams, so I’m hoping in the second half of the season it’s all going to fall into place.
“Streatham are a good team with a good coach. They’ve got the best of his old Raiders team and the best of the Streatham team, so if this was the beginning of the season you’d probably tip them to win the league.
“Solent will come here on Sunday and work hard – they grind you down so you’ve got to be ready mentally. If you don’t outwork them, you get beat – it’s as simple as that.
“We have to start winning in front of our own fans and it has to start this weekend.”
London Raiders v Chelmsford Chieftains
Solent Devils v Invicta Dynamos
Streatham IHC v Oxford City Stars
Bracknell Hornets v London Raiders
Chelmsford Chieftains v MK Thunder
Invicta Dynamos v Streatham IHC
Oxford City Stars v Solent Devils
Bristol Pitbulls v Lee Valley Lions
Chelmsford Warriors v Invicta Mustangs
Peterborough Islanders v Haringey Racers
(Image permission: Rick Webb)