MATCH REPORT: Stars Set Oxpens on Fire
A Sunday night at Oxpens Road with the Stars is always special, and Sunday 1st October was no different as Oxford City Stars played host to Slough Jets.
Oxford have 2 wins from 3 games so far this season, and Slough 0 from 2, and both sides looking to move their league efforts forward this weekend on the back of losses the weekend before. Stars looked focussed during the warm-up and netminder Milan Ronai looked full of energy, pulling off some flashy glove saves like some crazed NHL character with stats set to 99 – this was building up to an exciting game for the City Stars.
Oxford #7 Josh Oliver wins the opening face-off for Oxford and it didn’t take long for the first shots to be fired. The first line changes taking place after 36 seconds and both teams trying to settle into the opening stage of the 1st period. It became clear though that Oxford were looking to dominate the attack. Chances from both sides being denied but Oxford dominating position early on. After 6 minutes we saw Joe Edwards getting close from behind the net but alas, ex-Stars net minder Chris ‘Disco’ Douglas keeps it out. Oxford desperately searching for that go-ahead goal and then suddenly the ref’s arm’s up, it’s Slough Jets’ #6 Jack Lee with a penalty for tripping and Oxford reset for the power play. This is the chance they’re looking for. A fabulous display of owning the zone ensues and it’s Jake Florey & Josh Oliver who assist Kimil Kinkor with the slickest of wraparound goals for the City Stars. 1-0 Stars!
Moments later Oxford #23 Conor Redmond slides one back to the blue line and #27 Alex Staples lets rip. A roar at Oxpens Road follows as the net bulges. 2-0 Stars!
Jets now on the back foot but playing a physical game. More chances for Oxford in the following minutes and tensions are running high in the Slough camp. With 7:58 to play Oxford #71 Dax Hedges is denied a great chance followed by a big hit from Staples on Jets #19 Stuart Spence which results in a whistle. A few words between the players and Chris Beal of the Jets fancies a go at Oxford’s Dax Hedges, but it’s Alex Staples and Slough’s Jack Lee who get 2 minutes a piece for roughing. This could get interesting as 4 on 4 hockey ensues and Oxford continue to dominate with a barrage of shots – some wide, some blocked and some that just should have gone in but Jets’ net minder Chris Douglas is seriously earning his keep. More chances for Oxford following a break in play during the final minutes but the horn sounds and the players head off for a well-deserved break.
Shots on goal in the 1st period – Oxford City Stars 17, Slough Jets 4. Stars lead 2-0.
Period 2 gets underway with Josh Oliver dominating the face-off circle again. It’s Kinkor on the charge across the blue line this time. Drops it back to Oliver who slips it to Jason Ikin who buries it convincingly just 26 seconds into the 2nd period. 3-0 Stars!
Seven minutes go by with Oxford camped out in the Jets zone. Valuable input from defenseman Dominic Hopkins – standing ground impressively on the blue line and pumping it back in for the offense. Shot after shot is denied by Douglas – gasping for a rest from this onslaught. A near wraparound for Jason Ikin is followed by a whopping hit from Oxford’s Joe Edwards on Jets’ Jack Lee – That’s going to hurt in the morning. Finally a whistle, and it’s Jets’ #83 Stuart Spence who’s called for interference. Oxford on the power play again. A further Stars onslaught ensues and many chances again denied by Douglas. Some fancy footwork from Redmond to escape the fore-check finds Joe Edwards with another chance but it’s turned over by Slough #3, Liam Underdown and flipped up to #34, Lukas Smital who carves through 4 Oxford players to go up against Ronai, and wins. Slough finally on the board. 3-1 Stars!
A moment later Oxford get that one back by setting up in the Jets’ zone and a beauty of a pass from Tait and a cross from Staples finds Dax Hedges with open net to shoot at. 4-1 Stars!
A lovely break out move sees Stewart Tait with a chance but it’s denied. Jets then with a chance, Ronai covers. Oxford attack again but with nothing to show for it. A faceoff in the attacking zone goes to Dom Hopkins who winds up from the blue line and fires. Some confusion in front of the net but it’s in, and the crowd roars with the cry “YELLOWS”. 5-1 Stars!
Shots on goal for period 2 – Oxford City Stars 25, Slough Jets 4. Stars lead 5-1.
The opening of period 3 saw attempts from both sides but play is stopped due to a penalty on Jets’ #85 Jack Standing for charging. Oxford power play again. Slough kill the penalty off and once back at full strength Standing (who was penalised earlier) finds Smital who finds Underdown with space and they’re on the board again. 5-2 Stars!
Oxford call time out with 11:10 left on the clock. Whatever Coach Redmond said to the players must have worked as they suddenly looked rejuvenated and held station. Another Stars onslaught ensued culminating in the 6th Stars goal. This time a wrist shot worthy of the highlight reel from #23, Connor Redmond assisted by Dax Hedges & Jake Florey. 6-2 Stars!
A few moments later Kinkor finds Edwards who flings one in that rings off the post and finds the back of the net. 7-2 Stars!
The onslaught continues as Slough back pedal and its Joe Edwards again finding net through assists from #21, Matt Lawday & #27, Staples. 8-2 to Stars!
Jets call time out with 7:41 left on the clock. Play is resumed and Dom Hopkins gets 2 minutes for cross checking and Oxford go on the penalty kill for the first time. Despite being a man down its Oxford who look like they’re the ones on the power play, Slough just not getting the passes to connect. Oxford kill it off and with 2:43 left on the clock Edwards drops a beauty of pass to setup a shot but it’s denied by Douglas. The clock winds down as both teams play hard up until the final buzzer and it’s all over at Oxpens Road.
Final score Stars 8 Jets 2.
Total shots on goal: 64 to Oxford and 15 to Slough.
Slough Jets’ man of the match went to ex-City Stars net minder Chris Douglas who heroically faced a massive 64 shots.
Oxford City Stars’ man of the match went to #18, Jason Ikin.
Oxford City Stars are at home again on Sunday 15th October against the Invicta Mustangs for an 18:15 face-off.
See you all then!
Jarred Rex Taylor