Ice hockey: Basingstoke 6 Raiders 5 (OT)
PUBLISHED: 21:02 28 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:05 29 December 2019
Everyone Active Raiders had to settle for a point from an overtime defeat at Basingstoke on Saturday.
They looked set for a third successive National League win, but saw Bison draw level with just four seconds left in the match before netting a winner in the extra period.
Raiders will now hope to end the year on a high note when they host Swindon at Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.15pm).
Sean Easton's men were without goalie Michael Gray, the suspended Mason Webster, as well as JJ Pitchley and Olegs Lascenko and long-term injured duo Brad Windebank and Ross Connolly.
But Tommy Huggett was called up from the Junior Raiders and the visitors had the first shot on target as Lukas Sladkosvky called Alex Mettam into action.
Ethan James denied Michal Klejna at the other end before Tom Ralph was called for elbows and Raiders converted on the early power play as Ollie Baldock's shot beat Mettam, with assists to Sean Barry and Sladkovsky.
Liam Norris saw a shot squeeze through James but go just wide as the hosts, having beaten Swindon 3-2 on Boxing Day, looked for a quick reply, before a tripping call against Erik Piatak handed Bison a power play.
James kept out a shot from Klejna during the early stages of the man advantage but it was all square soon after the penalty expired as Liam Morris fired goalwards and Samuel Talbot poked the puck home.
Norris and Klejna had chances to put Bison ahead, but couldn't beat James, and a cross-checking call against Bayley Harewood put Raiders back on the power play.
They could not capitalise on this occasion and had James to thank for thwarting Morris and Klejna, who then drew a cross-checking penalty from Dan Scott with only 18 seconds left on the clock.
Adam Harding forced a good glove save from James before the buzzer while Ryan Sutton was also foiled by the young goalie after the restart.
And Raiders regained the lead with barely two minutes of the middle period gone when Sladkovsky beat Mettam at close range from Blaho Novak's pass.
Mettam kept out Piatak before a long pass sent Ashley Tait and Richard Bordowski on a 2-on-1, only for James to make a superb save to protect the Raiders lead.
Talbot swapped passes with Harding to force a pad save before a delay of game penalty was called against Dan Fuller for lifting the puck over the plexi glass and Bison drew level through Alex Sampford.
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Raiders then lost Novak to a 2+10 checking from behind penalty for a hit on Talbot, followed by Sladkovsky for a tripping call, but Aaron Connolly almost got a shorthanded chance for the visitors, only to be denied by Adam Jones.
Sladkovsky found the shoulder of Mettam once Raiders were back to full strength, while James denied Harewood and Norris as Bison finished the period well.
The home side thought they had taken the lead late on, but referee Matt Thompson waved away their appeals as James sat on the puck before it crossed the line.
Mettam then kept out Piatak at his near post and made another good glove save to keep it at 2-2.
Bordowski was denied at the start of the final period, after Talbot's dash up the wing, but was then handed a cross-checking penalty to send Raiders back on the power play.
And Raiders made it count as Jake Sylvester beat Mettam from the hash marks, assisted by Brandon Ayliffe and Piatak.
Just over two minutes later it was 4-2 as Sylvester's backhand shot found the gap between Mettam's skates, with assists to Fuller and Ayliffe, forcing the hosts to call a timeout.
A hooking call against Baldock gave Bison a power play opportunity not long after play resumed and they cut the gap to one as Jones fired home from Klejna and Norris with 12 minutes remaining in the match.
However, Raiders restored their two-goal cushion less than two minutes later as Sladkovsky fired home after Ayliffe caught Jay King flatfooted and Morris was then binned for interference.
James denied Ralph on a shorthanded break, but Mettam held firm as Raiders moved the puck well on their power play and the home side made it a one-goal game once more as Klejna tipped the puck past James with 6.26 left to play.
Sylvester was unable to find the net with Mettam scrambling, while Harding and Jones combined to almost find Talbot at the other end before Jack Flynn's solid hit on Norris.
But with Mettam pulled for an extra skater in the closing stages Raiders had victory snatched from their grasp with only four seconds left on the clock as a scramble in front of James ended with Sampford poking home an equaliser to send the match into overtime.
A big hit by Scott on Morris then saw the Raiders defenceman given a game misconduct for checking from behind, putting Bison on the power play for the rest of the extra period once blood had been cleared off the ice.
James robbed Klejna with a glove save, before Connolly broke for shorthanded Raiders to be denied by a big save from Mettam.
But Bison claimed victory with 91 seconds left through Norris, who tapped in after Bordowski and Harding had combined to set up the chance on the 4-on-3.