Ice Hockey: MK Lightning 2 Raiders 6
PUBLISHED: 21:26 16 November 2019 | UPDATED: 21:26 16 November 2019
Everyone Active Raiders skated to a morale-boosting National League win over the Lightning on Saturday.
Having slumped to a chastening 10-1 loss at Peterborough in their previous outing, Raiders travelled without Ollie Baldock and Ross Connolly and, after a fast end-to-end start, they saw Erik Piatak force a save from Dean Skinns.
Sam Russell had the first chance of note for the hosts, before Jake Sylvester and Sean Barry tested Skinns in quick succession.
And Skinns blocked a wraparound attempt from Raiders captain Aaron Connolly, before Mason Webster was called for elbows.
But Lightning could not capitalise on their power play and JJ Pitchley forced a save from Skinns with a good shot.
Raiders opened the scoring with five minutes left in the first period as Lukas Sladkovsky fired home from between the face-off circles, but Callum Wells was then binned for holding.
The home side's power play was cut short as Liam Stewart was given a 2+10 penalty for boarding on Blaho Novak, with Sladkovsky bringing a glove save from Skinns with a hard shot late in the period.
Wells and Michael Gray did well to keep the hosts out as they mounted late pressure before the buzzer, with Gray denying Tomas Kana early in the middle session.
And Raiders doubled their lead soon after through Piatak, assisted by Barry and Brandon Ayliffe, before the Slovakian forward struck again to make it 3-0 and force Lightning to call a timeout.
Lightning lost Hallden Barnes-Garner to an interference penalty soon after play resumed and Sladkovsky had a shot from the blue line blocked during the power play.
But Raiders added their fourth goal soon after the penalty expired as Sylvester scored off an Olegs Lascenko pass.
Ayliffe was just too high with another effort before Gray denied Rio Grinell-Parke with a good save and also kept out Cale Tanaka and Kana.
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Jack Flynn was on the wrong end of a big hit from Kana, which earned the MK player a 2+10 penalty for boarding with five minutes left in the period.
But Gray had to save from Stewart before Piatak had a shot blocked and Sylvester made it 5-0 on the power play to cap a fine spell for the visitors.
Gray held firm during a scramble in his goalmouth early in the final session, then saw Harry Ferguson shoot wide before Pitchley was called for high sticks.
And Raiders killed off the penalty, as James Griffin skated around Gray's net and tried to set up Calum Robertson without success.
The visitors were inches away from a sixth goal as Sylvester skated clear and fired against a post, before Leigh Jamieson was binned for hooking to hand Raiders another power play chance.
And they needed just 36 seconds to make it count as Sladkovsky set up Novak to score number six.
Captain Connolly was called for slashing with 10 minutes remaining and Lightning ended Gray's shutout hopes with a power play goal of their own from Stewart.
But Gray denied Stewart twice in quick succession as Lightning looked for more success, before Jack Cooper was binned for interference to give the hosts another man advantage.
Robertson had a shot blocked and Gray held a shot from Tanaka, before Cooper returned to the ice with just under six minutes left to play.
And Pitchley had a shot from the left wing kept out by Skinns, before Gray blocked Jamieson at the other end of the ice.
Skinns held onto a left-wing shot from Connolly, before Lightning grabbed a late second through Ari Narhi's unassisted goal with less than two minutes on the clock.
But Raiders were comfortable winners and return to Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday to host Basingstoke Bison, looking to complete a four-point weekend.
Lightning: Liam Stewart 1, Ari Narhi* 1, Tomas Kana* 0+1, Leigh Jamieson 0+1.
Raiders: Erik Piatak* 2+1, Jake Sylvester 2, Lukas Sladkovsky* 1+1, Blaho Novak 1, Sean Barry 0+3, Brandon Ayliffe 0+1, Aaron Connolly 0+1, Olegs Lascenko 0+1.