London Raiders tame MK Thunder
PUBLISHED: 20:02 10 December 2016 | UPDATED: 20:02 10 December 2016
London Raiders 6 MK Thunder 3
Slavomir Buda and JJ Pitchley struck twice apiece while Thomas Beesley and Stewart Tait claimed their first goals for London Raiders as they silenced MK Thunder in the National League at Lee Valley.
And they will look to make it three wins in a row when they visit runaway leaders Chelmsford on Sunday evening, having already defeated the Chieftains home and away in the cup competition.
Raiders captain Tom Davis fired an early effort just over the crossbar, after crossing the blue line, and Buda’s pass across the crease could not find a team-mate’s stick.
But Jamie Line then countered for the visitors and sent a shot narrowly over, before Tom Mboya was sent to the penalty box to give Raiders the first powerplay chance of the night.
John Connolly’s blast from the point was saved by David Wride, while Marek Nahlik saw his hard shot rebound all the way back into London’s zone.
And Jacob Ranson saw his wristshot plucked out of the air by Wride, as it looked destined for the top corner, just after the powerplay had come to an end.
Raiders were unable to capitalise on another man advantage soon after, but Nahlik forced Wride into another save with a quick shot from a face-off, then Connolly’s slightly deflected shot through traffic was also kept out by the alert Thunder keeper.
Euan King was called into action to deny Line at the other end, after Mboya and Nick Chinn had combined, before Bailey Chittock and Nidal Phillips were binned at the same time to leave the sides skating four-a-side.
King kicked out a slapshot from Simon Howard, while Wride denied Connolly at the other end and JJ Pitchley just failed to convert the rebound.
But Raiders broke the deadlock soon after when Wride made another good leg save, which led to a big scramble in front of his net and Pitchley slotted the puck home.
And it was 2-0 soon after when Beesley skated through the middle of the ice and picked his spot, high and to the right, to open his account for the club.
Mboya was then called for tripping, handing Raiders another powerplay to carry into the start of the second period.
But Thunder survived the shorthanded spell and saw Jakub Klima thwarted by Tait’s block and King save from Adam Harris.
The visitors were then given powerplay chances as Tait and Matt France were binned, but Line, Boris Ruzicka and Alex Whyte could not convert and Raiders went 3-0 up when Tait bundled the puck over the line for his first Raiders goal.
Buda fired home a stunning fourth soon after, but Connor Goode managed to beat King with a first-time shot before the end of the middle session and Klima’s shot on the turn cut the gap to two early in the final period.
Raiders restored their three-goal lead moments later as Buda converted Beesley’s perfect pass at the far post, but Davis was then called for hooking and Klima pounced on the powerplay after Chinn’s shot was saved.
A boarding call against Sam Roberts gave Thunder another powerplay chance, but Nahlik went close for shorthanded Raiders as Wride stuck out a leg to make the save.
A penalty against Whyte left the sides at even strength again and Phillips saw a wrist shot saved comfortably by King, before Howard was called for a delay of game penalty after firing the puck over the plexi glass in his own zone.
Raiders moved 6-3 up when France’s big shot from the point rebounded to Pitchley, who claimed his second goal of the night, and Howard was then called for holding Beesley as he attempted to break in on goal.
But Thunder had a great chance to score another while shorthanded as Ruzicka’s shot fell for Mboya in front of King, only for the puck to bobble over his stick and the opportunity to go begging.