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London Raiders draw some positives

12:30 24 January 2016

Marek Nahlik (right) netted a hat-trick for London Raiders against Streatham (pic: John Scott)

Marek Nahlik (right) netted a hat-trick for London Raiders against Streatham (pic: John Scott)

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SE Trophy: London Raiders 5 Streatham 5

Matt France returned to a London Raiders jersey and was on target against Streatham (pic: John Scott)Matt France returned to a London Raiders jersey and was on target against Streatham (pic: John Scott)

Honours finished even as Raiders and capital rivals Streatham battled it out in a 10-goal thriller at Lee Valley last night.

But the home side might feel they let a good chance slip as they blew a two-goal lead and saw their winless streak extended to eight matches.

Raiders handed debuts to defencemen John Connolly and Matt France, who was returning to a gold and blue jersey, after their midweek signings from Chelmsford and the visitors included former Guildford Flames blueliner David Savage in their line-up.

And the visitors went closest early on as Steven Fisher hit a post and then fired another chance wide.

John Connolly impressed on his London Raiders debut (pic: John Scott)John Connolly impressed on his London Raiders debut (pic: John Scott)

Raiders took the lead when Marek Nahlik found space and fired into the roof of the net past Will Sanderson, but Savage replied with a first-time shot past Ryan Bainborough after France was called for a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the plexi glass.

Sanderson denied Nahlik at close range after good work from Seb Downing as Raiders looked to restore their lead, while Sam Roberts saw his shot blocked by the Redskins goalie.

And Redskins edged in front against the run of play when Chris Wiggins kept the puck in the offensive zone and found former Raider Joe Allen in front of the net to fire high past Bainborough.

Adam Wood was denied a third Streatham goal by Bainborough’s save and it was all square with five minutes left in the opening period as France fired into the top corner from the blue line.

Tempers boil over between Raiders and Redskins (pic: John Scott)Tempers boil over between Raiders and Redskins (pic: John Scott)

Raiders killed off a penalty against Mason Webster before taking the lead just before the break as Nahlik pounced on a defensive error to skate onto a clearance and claim his second goal of the night.

The Slovakian import had netted six times when Raiders beat Redskins 10-4 in December – their last victory – and completed his hat-trick early in the middle session as he potted a rebound after Sanderson’s initial save.

Streatham cut the gap to one once again, though, as Best produced a good finish and there were some big hits flying in from both sides, with London’s Robert Veares called for a hit on Wiggins before Wood flattened Webster and Wiggins sent France to the ice to give Raiders a powerplay.

Connolly and France both impressed for Raiders during the man advantage, but Redskins rallied to draw level through Dominic Hopkins.

Play continued to swing from end to end and Raiders saw Roberts denied by another impressive save from Sanderson late in the period.

But Streatham moved 5-4 up within nine seconds of the restart through Kamil Kinkor, who pounced to score from close range.

Good play from Savage thwarted Webster and Downing, while Bainborough kept out Jack Tarczycki’s effort at the other end.

And Raiders were back on terms when the puck fell kindly to Michal Oravec and he produced an excellent finish into the top corner against his former club.

Both sides had chances to win it in the time that remained, with Bainborough denying Kinkor before Webster and Tarcyzcki clashed and Raiders went on the powerplay.

Sanderson stacked the pads for a stunning save to keep it level before tempers boiled over in the closing stages and Raiders saw young Rio Grinell-Parke ejected for tripping, while his big brother Evander and Streatham team-mate Fisher were also given early showers by referee Yurij Solovjovs.

But when the dust settled, both sides could go away with something for their efforts.

Scorers, Raiders: Marek Nahlik* 3+1 Matt France 1 Michal Oravec* 1 Seb Downing 0+3 Jack Cooper 0+1 John Connolly 0+1 David Oliver 0+1 Rio Grinell-Parke 0+1.

Redskins: Callum Best 1+1 Kamil Kinkor* 1+1 David Savage 1 Joe Allen 1 Dominic Hopkins 1 James Warman 0+1 Steve Fisher 0+1 Nick Chinn 0+1 Chris Wiggins 0+1.

Penalty minutes: Raiders 31 Streatham 55.

Shots on goal: Ryan Bainborough (L, 59.42) 15-8-14=37-5 Will Sanderson (S) 10-11-12=33-5.

Referee: Jurijs Solovjovs.

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