London Raiders scalped by champions
PUBLISHED: 09:13 20 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:45 20 March 2016
National League: London Raiders 2 Chelmsford 9
London Raiders ended up well beaten by champions Chelmsford in their last home match of the regular National League season at Lee Valley.
And with the two sides set to meet in the first round of the play-offs next month, the Chieftains struck a notable psychological blow with the margin of their eighth straight success in meetings between the sides this season.
Raiders welcomed Liam Chong back from a lengthy injury absence, but the hosts were without defencemen Robbie Veares and Matt France, as well as captain Tom Davis and fellow forward Mason Webster.
Chelmsford arrived in east London with 19 skaters and two goalies and took the lead inside the first minute through Cameron Bartlett.
Former Raiders import Juraj Huska doubled their advantage with barely two minutes on the clock and Olegs Lascenko made it 3-0 inside six minutes.
Oliver Baldock added a fourth before the eighth minute of play had been completed, but the visitors then saw Darren Brown penalised for boarding.
Raiders replied on the powerplay through Seb Downing, against his former club, and grabbed their second goal just 35 seconds later through Rio Grinell-Parke to complete a frantic opening nine minutes.
But the goals dried up after that until the 26th minute, when ex-Raider Charlie Phillips made it 5-2.
Huska helped himself to another goal before the second interval and Brown got in on the act with the seventh Chelmsford marker, before Bartlett bagged his second and Chelmsford’s eighth.
The visitors completed their tally with just over five minutes remaining when Slovakian hot-shot Huska completed his hat-trick.
Chong tweeted: “Tad rusty tonight. Felt good to be back on the ice though, despite Seb chiselling my goal.”
Raiders will look to bounce back when they visit MK Thunder on Sunday, having beaten them 8-2 on home ice last month.
Scorers, Raiders: Seb Downing 1 Rio Grinell-Parke 1 John Connolly 0+1 Liam Chong 0+1.
Chieftains: Juraj Huska* 3+1 Cameron Bartlett 2+1 Charlie Phillips 1+2 Olegs Lascenko 1 Oliver Baldock 1 Darren Brown 1 Danny Hammond 0+2 Lukas Zatopek* 0+2 Sean Barry 0+1 Ross Brears 0+1 Jake Sylvester 0+1 Julian Smith 0+1 Matt Turner 0+1.
Penalty minutes: Raiders 4 Chelmsford 6.
Shots on goal: Michael Gray (L) 13-13-14=40-9 Euan King (C) 6-9-11=26-2.
Referees: Donovan Florek/Don Campbell.