Ice hockey: MK Lightning 6 Raiders 4
PUBLISHED: 19:40 26 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:40 26 January 2020
Everyone Active Raiders were brought back down to earth by National League defeat at Milton Keynes on Sunday.
Having beaten the Lightning in Romford a week earlier and seen off play-off rivals Bracknell at the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Saturday, Raiders travelled in search of a third successive win.
And Lightning, beaten 4-1 at bottom club Leeds on Saturday, lost James Griffin to the first penalty of the night when he was called for tripping.
But the Raiders power play lasted just 31 seconds before Ollie Baldock was binned for holding and Erik Piatak followed for a face-off violation.
Tomas Kana was then called for interference, to leave the sides skating 3-on-3, but the scoreline remained blank until the 14th minute when former Raiders forward Rio Grinell-Parke put the hosts ahead with a deflected effort which just crept in.
The lead lasted just 25 seconds, before Baldock got Raiders back on level terms, assisted by JJ Pitchley and Jake Sylvester.
And Raiders took the lead two minutes later through Blaho Novak, who fired in off a post from an Olegs Lascenko pass.
The home side squared matters less than two minutes on from that, though, as Tom Carlon found the top corner of the net, before Callum Wells was given a penalty for a late hit and Liam Stewart followed on an interference minor in the final minute of the opening period.
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Lightning lost Lewis Christie to a tripping penalty early in the middle session and Sean Barry fired wide on the Raiders power play, before Brandon Stones blocked a Baldock effort.
James was called upon to save from Cale Tanaka, before Grinell-Parke shot wide as the hosts enjoyed a good spell of pressure.
But the hosts regained the lead just past the midway mark with a power play goal from Harry Ferguson, tipping in the puck after Pitchley was binned on a delay of game minor for lifting the puck over the plexi glass in his own zone.
Lightning killed off a tripping penalty against Leigh Jamieson, but Raiders levelled once more through captain Aaron Connolly, with his eighth goal in four games.
However, Jack Flynn was then binned on an elbowing penalty and Lightning struck on the power play again through Ferguson to take a slender lead back to the lockerroom ahead of the final stanza.
They gave themselves some breathing space within three minutes of the restart as Russ Cowley netted to open up a two-goal gap, but Raiders refused to lie down and were back within one as Novak notched his second of the night, when his shot from the hash marks squeezed through, assisted by Lukas Sladkovsky.
However, a high-sticking penalty against Barry gave Lightning another man advantage and Stewart netted their third power play goal of the night with a shot from the right circle to leave Raiders 6-4 down with 13 minutes remaining.
The visitors then had to survive a hooking penalty against Baldock, with Lightning finding the net but having the effort ruled out due to a player in the goalie's crease.
And a cross-checking call against Wells kept the hosts on the power play, with James denying Stewart, but time was running out fast on Raiders.
And although they pulled James for an extra skater late on, they could not make it count as Lightning held on for victory.