Havering Hawks hit back in thriller
PUBLISHED: 16:01 26 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:01 26 April 2015
BISHA South East: Havering Hawks 7 London Knightz 6
Havering Hawks kicked off with a win in their new home rink of Hornchurch Sports Centre.
But they left it late as former Romford ice hockey junior Brandon Ayliffe settled a 13-goal thriller with only five seconds left to seal a stunning fightback.
The home side had their first chance in the opening seconds when Danny Hooper fired a shot on target straight from the opening face off.
The Hawks continued to attack, getting off a few more shots that were turned away by London goalie Jess Bowman, another former Romford junior.
And Havering’s TJ Fillery, having just completed the ice hockey season with London Raiders, broke loose on three minutes before seeing his shot blocked.
The visitors started getting things together a few minutes later after a slow start, but could not find their way past Hawks keeper Neil Smith.
The deadlock was broken midway through the first period when Havering’s Lawrence Reffell beat Bowman to slot home a backhand shot and a minute later player-coach Anthony Laird made it 2-0 when he managed to convert a rebound.
London hit back two minutes later when John William Kouao saw his shot go in after picking up a rebound off Smith’s pads.
But Havering was soon pushing forward again, before forwards Jake Hall and Ayliffe both went to the box for tripping.
And the London powerplay worked well for the visiting side when defenceman Scott Davies fired in to tie the game at 2-2.
Havering again regained the lead early in the second period when Laird put away his second with a slap shot after receiving a pass up the boards from Lewis O’Brien.
The home side kept the pressure on and midway through the session Fillery broke clear on a great solo effort, but was brought down by Davies with a hip check.
It was all squared up around the 12-minute mark in the second when forward Kouao slotted into the top right corner for his second of the game.
A timeout was called by the Hawks, but it did not seem to give them the fire they needed as they came out slow and found themselves down seconds after the restart when Knightz captain Jakob Horstman pounced on a loose ball and beat Smith.
Ayliffe rocked big defenceman Davies into the boards in the final minute of the period, nearly sending him through to the other side when they cracked, but the play carried on, with the boards being fixed in time for the third period.
The visitors stretched their lead to 5-3 after five minutes of the next session, with Kouao completing his hat-trick on a rink-wide play.
But only a minute later Havering clawed one back, with O’Brien letting loose a cannon from the blue line, during a 4-on-3 powerplay.
The tension was rising, though, and on the 38-minute mark Reffell and Ben Hill were battling in the corner before they came to blows.
Havering applied more pressure in a desperate bid to get back on terms, but were countered when Kouao slotted home his fourth of the game from Jerry Martelly’s pass.
The last three minutes saw the home side dig deep and Reffell battled his way round the rink before being rewarded when he found the net off a distance shot.
The side kept going and their pressure saw their former Romford junior duo link up brilliantly for Fillery to slot home the equaliser in the dying stages.
Then, with only five seconds to go, Ayliffe broke through straight off the centre-ice face-off to seal the deal and win the game for the Hawks, with London’s Davies far from happy with the circumstance and black carded for his actions.
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