Ice hockey: Bracknell 0 Raiders 2
PUBLISHED: 20:50 22 February 2020 | UPDATED: 21:08 22 February 2020
Everyone Active Raiders moved back into the National League play-off places with victory over fellow hopefuls Bracknell on Saturday.
Goals from captain Aaron Connolly and Sean Barry sealed the points, as young goalie Ethan James posted a 33-save shutout in the first half of a weekend double-header with the Bees.
The two sides meet again at Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.15pm) in what is sure to be another tense battle between two old rivals.
Bracknell had beaten leaders Telford home and away a week earlier, while Raiders suffered back-to-back defeats against Sheffield and Peterborough.
And James blocked a left wing shot from Edward Knaggs in the second minute, while Olegs Lascenko fired wide for Raiders at the other end.
Adam Goss denied Jake Sylvester with a glove save, before Lukas Sladkovsky was blocked by a home player as he went towards the net.
Sylvester saw a right-wing centre across the face of Bracknell's net go to waste, while JJ Pitchley sent a shot on the turn wide of the target and saw Goss block another attempt just past the midway mark.
Bracknell went on the power play when Dan Scott was called for cross-checking but Sladkovsky and Blaho Novak broke while Raiders were shorthanded and went close.
Harvey Stead's low shot was blocked by James, who produced a scrambling stop to deny Brendan Baird before Scott's return to the ice.
Lascenko sent another long shot wide for the visitors, before Ryan Webb and Stuart Mogg also missed the target for Bees as the first period ended scoreless, with Raiders 13-8 up on shots.
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A combination of Knaggs and Goss denied Brandon Ayliffe early in the middle session, while Jack Cooper and Scott were unsuccessful with shots from range for the visitors.
Goss also kept out Ollie Baldock, after he skated over the blue line and fired a low shot on the home net just before the game's midway point.
But a bad giveaway by Raiders handed Aidan Doughty a shooting chance, with James producing a good save, before Pitchley was called for interference to hand Bees their second power play of the night with just over four minutes left in the period.
Knaggs sent a long range effort into the glove hand of James before Pitchley's return, while Erik Piatak's left-wing shot came to nothing.
And Doughty directed a Webb shot goalwards, where James blocked, as the scoreline remained blank at the 40-minute mark.
Raiders had the first sight of goal in the final period, but Sladkovsky's mishit shot was easily covered by Goss, before a hooking penalty against Zack Milton gave the visitors their first power play of the night.
Novak had a low shot kicked away by Goss, while Scott's long shot went close before Bees returned to full strength.
But Raiders broke the deadlock soon after, with 13.12 left on the clock, through captain Connolly, assisted by Sylvester and Piatak.
And Goss had to be alert to deny Novak and Baldock as the visitors pushed for a second, with the match clock ticked past 50 minutes.
Baldock shot wide with less than five minutes to go, while Goss saved from Novak before making way for an extra skater in the final minute.
And Raiders sealed their win with 21 seconds left on the clock as defenceman Barry fired into the empty net, with 20-year-old James picking up an assist on the goal to go with his shutout.
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