Raiders up and running
PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:00 20 September 2015
National League: London Raiders 7 Cardiff Devils 3
Raiders opened their account for the new season as Michal Oravec’s hat-trick helped down the Devils at Lee Valley.
Beaten by Streatham and Oxford on the first weekend of the campaign, Raiders gave a debut to young forward Rio Grinell-Parke and welcomed defenceman Robbie Veares back to the gold and blue as Frankie Harvey and Stevie Dunnage missed out.
But they fell behind inside five minutes as Luke Merrick beat Michael Gray.
A delay of game minor penalty against Joe Morris gave the hosts the chance to level through David Oliver’s powerplay goal at 11:33, but their joy was shortlived as Giacomo Raffaelli restored Cardiff’s lead a minute later.
Oravec got Raiders back on terms for a second time with a fantastic effort and it was 3-2 before the break as young forward Seb Downing grabbed his fourth goal for the club, as TJ Fillery and Sam Roberts claimed their first assist.
The scoreline remained unchanged until just before the midway mark when captain Tom Davis put Raiders 4-2 up after good work between Liam Chong and Marek Nahlik.
Davis departed on a tripping call soon after and was joined in the penalty box by Oliver for a similar offence.
But Raiders killed off the 5-on-3 and extended their lead soon after returning to full strength as Oravec claimed his second goal of the night.
Cardiff called a timeout and the two teams came together at the end of the period, which led to penalties for Owen Bradshaw and Raiders duo Gray and Jack Cooper.
Shorthanded Raiders extended their advantage just 91 seconds after the restart, though, as man of the match Oravec completed his treble with an unassisted goal.
And it became 7-2 courtesy of a powerplay goal from Nahlik after Morris was called for interference.
Bailey Chittock and Jack Randall received roughing minors after a disagreement and Mason Webster was also called soon after to give Cardiff a powerplay chance.
But the visitors had to wait until the 59th minute to claim a consolation third through Josh Haslam, although it did little to dampen the Raiders mood.
Raiders turn their attentions to the league cup on Sunday as they visit defending champions Chelmsford, who skated to a 7-3 win on the Isle of Wight.
The match at the Riverside Ice Arena faces off at 6pm.
Raiders: Michal Oravec* 3 David Oliver 1+2 Tom Davis 1+1 Marek Nahlik* 1+1 Seb Downing 1 Mason Webster 0+2 TJ Fillery 0+1 Sam Roberts 0+1 Jack Cooper 0+1 Liam Chong 0+1.
Devils: Giacome Raffaelli 1 Luke Merrick 1 Josh Haslam 1 Chris Hart 0+1 Owen Bradshaw 0+1 Tamas Elias 0+1 Ben Brown 0+1 Kieran Latchford 0+1.
Penalty minutes: Raiders 24 Cardiff 12.
Shots faced: Michael Gray (L) 13-8-9=30-3 Ross Miller (C, 59:56) 13-20-16=49-7.
Referees: Tom Stephenson, Emilio Fusco.