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Raiders go fourth after mauling Cats

PUBLISHED: 12:17 10 December 2010

Romford Raiders Leone

Romford Raiders Leone

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English National League

ROMFORD RAIDERS 15

SWINDON WILDCATS 2

RAIDERS returned to Rom Valley Way after a successful away day in Bristol to notch their biggest victory of the season over the Wildcats.

The hosts fired 79 shots at the Swindon goal - 35 alone in the third period - in a game that was perhaps ten goals shy of where it should have been, were it not for relief Wildcats netminder Kevin McGurk.

McGurk was exceptional in the third period after replacing starter Jamie Thompson following the ninth Romford goal as highlight reel glove saves and a selection of sprawling pad stops denied the home side far greater disparity than the scoreline suggests.

Raiders scored six times in the opening period and added another six in the second.

Anthony Leone, Frankie Harvey, Joe Allen, Juraj Huska, Jason Buckman and Julian Smith all scored in the first as Raiders

dominated possession.

Leone cut in from the right after just 90 seconds, beating Thompson with a rising wrist shot that seemed to go straight through the Wildcats goaltender.

The second and third periods resembled a 40-minute powerplay for Raiders, such was Swindon’s inability to clear the zone.

Romford moved the puck well, utilised their defenceman from the point and stepped in to a succession of slapshots in the slot. Huska, with three goals to his name on Saturday, completed his second hat-trick of the weekend when he one-timed Danny Marshall’s cross-ice feed short-side into an open net. It was his second of the period after a move around the net went unchallenged leading to a wrister from in front that beat Thompson high over his glove.

Buckman and Julian Smith each posted their second of the night as Raiders threatened to rack up a cricket score in the second, Buckman one-timing Huska’s cross-crease pass and Smith blasting home from the blueline.

Grant Baxter became the second of three Raiders to score their first of the season as he exchanged passes with Tom Davis and beat McGurk far side, whilst AJ Smith fired home from between the circles as the Raiders began to tee off on the Swindon goal.

The third period was Raiders’ most dominant. Allen neatly deflected Julian Smith’s wrister beyond McGurk before player-coach Marshall netted his 500th Raider goal to complete successive weekends of personal celebration.

All-time leading points scorer Marshall tapped in a cross-ice pass from Huska off a 2-on-1 breakaway before JJ McGrath followed Baxter in scoring his first of the year, backhanding a loose puck past McGurk as it lay prone in the crease following a goalmouth scramble.

Even the most ardent of Raider fan must concede that this weekend has been little more than a glorified stat-padding exercise for the boys in gold and blue. These kind of games will not win you a championship, but they can go some way toward losing one and to that end, it was a job well done.

And, with Raiders a man short in the closing stages, Gray sent the puck up ice to Huska, who skated clear of the defence to complete his hat-trick in style.

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