NIHL South preview: Johnston targets play-off glory

Streatham IHC head into the NIHL1 South play-off quarter-finals knowing they are facing one of the league’s most in-form teams.

Solent Devils ended the regular season campaign with five wins from their last six games, but Streatham also finished the campaign in good form.

They followed up victories over Oxford City Stars and London Raiders with a narrow defeat against champions Chelmsford Chieftains, and captain Joe Johnston believes the performance proved they could make an impact on the play-offs.

“That game proved something I’ve been talking about all season – we have the capacity to beat any team on our day,” Johnston told London News Online.

“I’ve never seen Chelmsford rocked like they were in that second period. They had no answer to what we were producing and it was fantastic to watch – however, consistency let us down again.

“We need to find a way of channelling that type of play across sixty minutes and there won’t be anyone who can live with us. There is no better time to start than the play-offs.”

London Raiders’ forward JJ Pitchley is chomping at the bit to face Oxford City Stars in the end-of-season showdown this weekend.

Pitchley missed the last two games of the season through suspension, but says he’s ready to play his part as the Raiders look to progress to the semi-final.

“I’m hugely excited, as I think all the boys are – this is the part of the season that everyone loves,” Pitchley told the Romford Recorder.

“The rink has this buzz that is amazing to play in front of.

“Oxford are a good team and have a few guys missing, but that doesn’t make them any easier to beat.

“We can beat them and have done earlier on this year. After the comeback two weeks ago in Oxford I was massively impressed with the boys being short-staffed.

“I’m excited to see if we can get the rink packed on Saturday and as many fans in Oxford on Sunday.

“It will be good to show all the teams who doubted us this year what the gold and blue can do.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

NIHL1 South

Bracknell Hornets v Chelmsford Chieftains
Invicta Dynamos v MK Thunder
London Raiders v Oxford City Stars
Solent Devils v Streatham IHC

NIHL2 South

Bristol Pitbulls v Basingstoke Buffalo
Chelmsford Warriors v Slough Jets
Haringey Racers v Lee Valley Lions
Peterborough Islanders v Invicta Mustangs

Sunday

NIHL1 South

Chelmsford Chieftains v Bracknell Hornets
MK Thunder v Invicta Dynamos
Oxford City Stars v London Raiders
Streatham IHC v Solent Devils

NIHL2 South

Swindon Wildcats NIHL v Cardiff Fire

(Image permission: Rick Webb)

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