The South London side marched to their fifth successive home league win with an assured performance that left the Raiders wondering whether this really was the same Redskins side that rolled over 14-3 to them back in November.
The answer to that is an emphatic no, as this time the Redskins put on yet another emphatic gutsy display on home ice to take the two points.
It had all started so well for the Raiders as they opened the scoring after only a minute and a half, when Frankie Harvey somehow managed to divert the puck into the corner of the net after a pass across the front of goal from Danny Marshall.
Streatham continued to struggle from the restart as Romford bossed the opening stages of the game with Redskins goalie Will Sanderson making early stops from Shaun Yardley and Matt Turner in quick succession.
With five minutes gone, a rare Streatham attack was broken up and the Redskins defence lost the puck on the blue line allowing AJ Smith to skate down the right wing and then shoot the puck under no pressure past Sanderson.
With the crowd silenced, Romford surged forward sensing more goals and Andrius Kaminskas saw his shot from slot saved perfectly by Sanderson.
Streatham’s forays into the Raiders zone were few and far between, however Joe Johnston was unlucky to see his wrist shot clip the post after good work from line mates Jakub Klima and Joe Allen.
The game threatened to turn ugly with five minutes remaining as Raiders power forward JJ McGrath got involved in some handbags in front of the Redskins goal and was planted onto the ice by Redskins Scottish defenceman Shaun Smith with a late hit after the whistle. Both were sent to the penalty box with the McGrath’s team mate Tom Davis also given a minor penalty for cross checking.
This incident finally gave Streatham a much needed powerplay and they eventually managed to gain a foothold in the Raiders zone, testing goalie Gray and his defence for the first time.
Romford’s forwards had undoubtedly stolen the show in the first period, but it was their goalie who was most impressive in the second. A slight reshuffle of the lines by Streatham coach Warren Rost proved pivotal as Streatham looked a completely different side from the restart.
An early tripping call on Kaminskas gave Streatham another powerplay and Gray was on hand to make a fantastic pad save from Klima and then somehow kept an effort out from Johnston after the Redskins captain had faked his shot initially and then saw his effort denied by a sprawling Gray’s glove on the line.
The pressure from Streatham on the Romford goal helped the home side grow in confidence but they just could not find a way past the in-form Raiders stopper. Both sides hit the crossbar before the end of the second period but Romford probably felt they had weathered the storm and went in to the locker room 2-0 up.
It took only 35 seconds for Streatham to open the scoring in the third period as Klima finally got reward for his hard work as he latched onto an Allen pass on the blue line and skated down to the slot and finally beat Gray.
Despite this early goal, Streatham goalie Will Sanderson found himself having to make big stops from Smith and then Turner as he continued his excellent form of recent games.
Streatham hit a dramatic equaliser with just over ten minutes to go as their dogged third line combined to release Liam Rasmussen (pictured top right) and the speedy winger held off the Raiders defence before firing the puck into the back of the net. The line celebrated wildly with their own bench and the home fans began to believe that an unlikely win was on the cards.
With Kaminskas sitting in the box for a hooking penalty, Streatham’s powerplay unit combined to score one of the goals of the season at Brixton as slick passing between Allen and Klima switched the puck back over to Johnston on the far post and he showed superb composure before shooting the puck into the bottom of the net.
This time it was Klima who set up Allen and he accelerated past the sluggish Raiders defence and then beat Gray before reeling away in celebration against his old club.
The confidence and energy drained away from last season’s league champions as Streatham held firm and despite Player Coach Danny Marshall pulling the goalie to give the Raiders an extra skater in the last minute and a half of the game, the scoreline remained the same.
The final buzzer sounded with Streatham’s players swarming around Sanderson and Coach Rost reflecting on his side taking their third big scalp in consecutive home league games.