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Youngsters crowned national champions

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Romford 6 Sheffield 1

National Under-16 Final

Romford Hornets were crowned national champions after a superb display at Ice Sheffield.

And their success capped a superb season for the Rom Valley Way club, following the English National League and South East Trophy double won by Danny Marshall’s Romford Raiders.

Having won the southern league ahead of Bracknell, Romford’s youngsters met northern champions Sheffield Rapiers and edged in front in the first period through Glenn Billing’s strike.

Romford remained in front in a tight second period and replaced goalie Dennis Bell with fellow England under-15 international Sonny Phillips just past the midway mark.

And it remained a one-goal game until late in the middle period, when a powerplay goal from Olegs Lascenko allowed Romford to double their lead with only 13 seconds left on the clock.

They went 3-0 up after Sheffield fell into more penalty trouble as Lascenko set up Billing for his second goal of the night.

And Sheffield lost captain Lyndon Taylor to another minor penalty, but hit back with a shorthanded goal from Rudi Molnar.

Their joy was shortlived, though, as Romford made the extra man count and restored their three-goal cushion with a powerplay goal from Jake Sylvester, their third of the match.

Toms Rutkis made it 5-1 just eight seconds later and struck again to complete the tally soon after.

Tempers boiled over in the final minute, with Romford’s Jon Binder and Sheffield rival Dan Hallam receiving match penalties.

But it did little to dampen the mood in the Romford dressing room as several members of the squad celebrated a second successive championship, following success at under-14 level a year ago.

Romford: S Phillips (G, 12 shots); L Borg; J Binder; S Downing (0+1); B Ayliffe; J Sylvester (1+0); T Rutkis (2+1); C Phillips; G Billing (2+1); T Fillery; O Lascenko (1+1); M Hamilton; C Cullen-Hatch; J Cooper; C Wells; H Gulliver; D Bell (G, 12 shots).

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