Leeds Knights first defeat of season brings timely reality check, says Bobby Streetly
BOBBY STREETLY says a first defeat of the 2021-22 season for Leeds Knights won’t do them any harm and comes as a timely ‘reality check’.
The Knights went down 5-4 on home ice against a dogged Peterborough Phantoms side on Sunday night, a result which saw their winning start to their NIHL National Autumn Cup campaign capped at six games.
Having already secured a place in the semi-finals of the competition, it leaves Dave Whistle’s team to face-off against second-placed Sheffield Steeldogs on Friday night to decide who will finish top of the group standings.
And Streetly believes the visitors will head into the showdown fully focussed after seeing their perfect start brought to an end.
“It was obviously a disappointing to have lost, everybody was a bit disheartened in the room afterwards,” said Leeds-born Streetly. “But it needed to come sooner rather than later, a little reality to check, in a way, to show us exactly where we are.
“Even with all the firepower that we do have, we still have to play the right way and the moment we don’t do that, teams with good structure – teams like Peterborough and Sheffield, probably – they are going to take advantage of us.
“After winning six on the trot it was probably just what we needed to keep us grounded and remind us that we do need to work hard every night.
“On our night and if we’re playing the right way, there’s going to be no team in the league that will be able to cope with us – we’ve shown that at times already. We have some serious offensive talent but sometimes the longer a winning run goes on, the more it can sometimes hide flaws in your game.
“There have been a couple of games already this year, probably even the Raiders game when we scored 10, we probably didn’t play that great on the day – they still scored four goals against us and they should never have done that.”
Defenceman Streetly, 27, who came up through the Bradford Bulldogs junior system like a number of his Knights’ team-mates, believes head coach Dave Whistle has done a great job in nurturing the young talent he has at his disposal.
But he remains keen to ensure that his players – at both ends of the ice – don’t cut corners on any shift.
“He’s not putting too much pressure on us, but he still wants us to do the little things right,” added Streetly. “The kind of things that are going to make the big differences.
“If we can iron out little things like making sure we get the puck out of our zone, not turning it over at either blue line, shooting the puck more when we get the opportunity, or just putting it in the corner or passing it into a space where somebody can skate on to it, those are the kind of little things that will take us from being just a good team to becoming a winning team.”