Ice hockey: Peterborough 2 Raiders 3 (OT)
PUBLISHED: 21:48 22 September 2018 | UPDATED: 21:48 22 September 2018
Aaron Connolly’s buzzer-beating overtime winner gave Everyone Active Raiders a thrilling victory on the road at National League Division One rivals Peterborough on Saturday.
They needed a late goal from import Juraj Huska, during a 6-on-3 chance, to force the extra period and then survived a shorthanded spell before Connolly struck as time expired for a memorable victory.
Raiders went on an early power play when Tom Norton was called for roughing and were given a brief two-man advantage when Petr Stepanek was also binned for slashing.
But they couldn’t capitalise from a series of Dan Scott slapshots and saw Julian Smith given a hooking penalty, which they managed to kill off.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 15th minute through JJ Pitchley, assisted by Filip Sedivy, and survived another shorthanded spell when Jake Sylvester was called for roughing.
And they had some good chances to extend their lead after Peterborough’s Corey McEwen was given a minor tripping penalty late in the opening period, but could not find a way past Jordan Marr.
Raiders were back on the power play early in the middle period when McEwen was called for interference following a challenge on Aaron Connolly, only for Scott to follow soon after to leave the sides skating 4-on-4.
The hosts wanted a penalty shot for Scott’s slash on James Ferrara, but their appeals were ignored and they had a let-off in the 27th minute when Raiders had the puck in the home net, but referee Stephen Matthews waved it off.
The home side were instead given another power play chance midway through the period when Matt Turner was called for holding the stick, but Michael Gray saved well from Stepanek and Scott Robson as Raiders remained ahead.
Ferrara and McEwen had early chances for the Phantoms at the start of the final period, denied by Gray, before an interference call against Smith gave them a power play opportunity, which McEwen accepted to tie things up in the 45th minute with a shot into the bottom corner.
Four minutes later and Phantoms were in front as McEwen sent a backhand shot towards the net and captain Ferrara pounced on the loose puck to tap in a rebound.
The hosts were caught with too many men on the ice soon after, but Raiders could not cash in and were then hit by a tripping call against Pitchley.
But they avoided further damage as Gray held firm in net, before losing Will Weldon to a tripping minor penalty and a game misconduct for abuse of official with 3.12 remaining.
Ferrara also fell foul of the official to pick up a hooking penalty and Raiders withdrew Gray to create a 6-on-3 in the closing stages.
And the move paid off as Blaho Novak set up Huska for a power play goal with 82 seconds left on the clock to tie it at 2-2 and force overtime.
After killing off the Ferrara penalty, Phantoms saw Scott given a tripping minor just 39 seconds into the extra period and called a timeout to discuss their options.
But Gray denied Ales Padelek, before Stepanek also went close to a winner for the home side as they piled on the pressure against shorthanded Raiders.
And Raiders snatched victory on the buzzer as Connolly beat Marr, assisted by Huska, to the home side’s huge disappointment.
Raiders return to Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday to host Invicta Dynamos (5.30pm).
Scorers, Phantoms: Ferara 1+1, McEwen 1+1, Norton 0+1, Padelek 0+1.
Raides: Huska 1+1, Pitchley 1, A Connolly 1, Sedivy 0+1, Novak 0+1.
Shots faced: Jordan Marr (P) 12-8-12-4=36-3, Michael Gray (R) 13-14-13-8=48-2.
Penalty minutes: Phantoms 44 Raiders 14.