National League: Raiders 1 Peterborough Phantoms 6
PUBLISHED: 21:25 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 21:25 24 February 2018
Raiders were hit for six by high-flying Phantoms as they suffered a second successive National League defeat in Romford and slipped out of the top four.
Having let a lead slip in the closing minutes of their meeting with leaders Basingstoke six days earlier, they again got their noses in front against Peterborough’s title hopefuls.
Phantoms made a bright start, but Raiders took the lead when Sean Barry jumped on a loose puck in the zone and fired it past former team-mate Euan King.
The visitors were soon back on terms, though, as ex-Raiders Darius Pliskauskas beat Michael Gray from close range at the other end, then repeated the trick to put his side ahead just 25 seconds later.
Tom Norton made it 3-1 in the 13th minute and the second period was only 29 seconds old when a blue line shot from Robert Ferrera was tipped past Gray by Owen Griffiths to make it 4-1.
And Griffiths grabbed his second in the 24th minute when deflecting a James Ferrara shot past Gray, despite claims he had done so with a high stick.
Gray, no doubt still seething, was given a misconduct minor penalty moments later after his net came under more pressure from the visitors.
Nathan Salem and Pliskauskas were both denied by Gray on the power play, before Julian Smith sent Pliskauskas into the end boards and was subsequently bumped to the ice by Leigh Jamieson as tempers began to boil over.
Referee Blaine Evans made no calls, but handed Will Weldon a minor penalty for hooking for a challenge on Brandon Ayliffe after Callum Wells went close.
Raiders received a bench minor for having too many men on the ice, though, which negated the power play chance and Gray made a sprawling pad save to thwart Pliskauskas as he attacked the net.
Juraj Huska thudded a drive into the pads of King at the other end, but then gave the puck away in his own zone and saw Glenn Billing tee up Ales Padelek, whose first-time shot was kicked out by Gray.
Phantoms were caught with too many men on the ice during a line change towards the end of the middle session, with Ayliffe going close with a backhand shot in the early part of the power play.
That was as close as the home side got, though, and they lost Matt Turner to a slashing penalty after some scrappy play just outside the Raiders zone.
Turner pushed a good chance wide from Olegs Lascenko’s set-up early in the final session, then departed on a high-sticking penalty after clashing with Weldon, who was called for cross-checking.
Ollie Baldock was denied by King after forcing a turnover in the Phantoms zone and Ayliffe was also thwarted by a good pad save from the low slot.
King produced a stunning blocker save to keep out Huska from Turner’s cross-ice pass, before Raiders fell foul of Evans again as Nahlik (boarding) and Lack (hooking) were binned a minute apart.
Phantoms converted on the 5-on-3 power play chance through James Ferrara to complete their haul and leave Raiders to lick their wounds in fifth place ahead of Sunday’s trip to third-placed Swindon.
Raiders: Sean Barry 1, Jake Sylvester 0+1, Brandon Ayliffe 0+1.
Phantoms: Owen Griffiths 2+2, Darius Pliskauskas* 2+1, James Ferrera 1+2, Thomas Norton 1, Scott Robson 0+1, Leigh Jamieson 0+1, Will Weldon 0+1, Robert Ferrera 0+1, Glenn Billing 0+1, Nathan Salem 0+1.
Penalty minutes: Raiders 18 Phantoms 12.
Shots on goal: Michael Gray (L, 59.48) 8-16-9=33-6; Euan King (P) 11-10-9=30-1.
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