Final: Cardiff 1 Raiders 4
PUBLISHED: 21:32 24 March 2012
Lee Power reports from Cardiff Ice Arena
Romford Raiders took a big step towards the ENL Division One title with a fine win in Wales tonight.
Billy Phillips fired them into a first-period lead, with a slapshot which deflected in off the leg of Jason Stone.
And Juraj Huska’s superb second-period hat-trick put them firmly on top after the second session.
Jamie Hayes netted the only goal of the third period on a Cardiff powerplay to end Michael Gray’s shutout hopes, but there was no denying Raiders their victory.
Grant Taylor and JJ McGrath were denied by Mike Brabon early in the final period, before Gray thwarted Hayes on three separate occasions, including one very good reflex save.
Chris Jones saw a shot held, after JJ Pitchley was called for holding, before Hayes and Stephen Deacon were also kept at bay by Gray, who faced only eight shots in the opening 40 minutes.
Devils got a consolation at 51:09 when Hayes was left open on the right and blasted a shot inside the far post.
And Raiders lost Tyrone Miller for the rest of the match as he was handed a 10-minute misconduct penalty in the aftermath of the goal.
Tempers began to boil over after Jordan Powell’s hit left Billy Phillips with a cut.
Gray denied Robert Sedlak before Shaun Yardley’s drop pass set up Danny Marshall, who saw Brabon kick his effort away.
Brabon, named Cardiff’s man of the match after facing 52 shots, kept Anthony Leone out, as well as AJ Smith, in the closing minutes.
Gray, meanwhile, kicked out a pair of wristshots from Louis Lockwood after hat-trick hero Huska was binned late on for elbows.
It was a job well done by Raiders, who can now set up a potential title clincher at home against the Isle of Wight next Sunday, if they win at lowly Slough in a week’s time.
0-1 Phillips (Huska, Marshall) 12:09
Penalties: J Smith (Ro) interference 0:49; McGrath (Ro) high sticks 12:12; Phillips (Ro) misconduct (10) 15:08; Sadler (Ca) misconduct (10) 15:08;
0-2 Huska (Marshall) 23:30
0-3 Huska (Marshall) 34:51
0-4 Huska (Marshall) PP 39:24
Penalties: Marshall (Ro) high sticks 23:51; Huska (Ro) high sticks 32:40; Powell (Ca) elbows 39:08.
1-4 Hayes (Jones, Dixon) PP 51:09
Penalties: Pitchley (Ro) holding 47:28; J Smith (Ro) tripping 48:08; Marshall (Ro) holding 50:00; Miller (Ro) misconduct (10 minutes) 51:09; Wilkinson (Ca) holding 55:50; Huska (Ro) elbows 57:26; Dixon (Ca) hooking 58:48;
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