National League: Swindon 3 London Raiders 2
PUBLISHED: 08:50 19 November 2017
London Raiders saw their three-match winning streak come to an end with a narrow loss at the Link Centre.
Sean Easton’s side travelled in good spirits, having beaten Peterborough, Milton Keynes and Streatham and took an eighth-minute lead through Slovakian import Juraj Huska.
The hosts were back on level terms soon after, though, as Max Birbraer beat Michael Gray and the scoreline remained deadlocked for over 30 minutes as the two sides battled for supremacy.
Gray was slightly the busier of the two goalies, facinng 23 shots in the first two periods to the 15 fired at Swindon’s Renny Marr, as Raiders – who were without Alan Lack – saw Olegs Lascenko and Huska hit the pipes.
And Wildcats took the lead early in the final period when Jordan Kelsall converted a pass from captain Jan Kostal.
The hosts gave themselves some breathing space less than five minutes later as Aaron Nell netted to make it a 3-1 game, but Raiders refused to lie down and Huska grabbed his second goal of the night with nine minutes remaining to raise hopes of some reward.
The visitors called a timeout with 94 seconds left on the clock and removed Gray for an extra skater in the closing stages, but they could not force an equaliser, in front of a crowd of 1,412, and came away empty-handed.
Raiders are back on the road on Sunday evening as they visit Basingstoke Bison, having suffered a 7-1 loss in Hampshire earlier in the season.
And Bison lost on penalty shots in Peterborough in an Autumn Cup tie on Saturday, when former Raiders goalie Euan King made 42 saves on his first appearance for the Phantoms, following a move back to his home-town club earlier in the week.
Scorers, Swindon: Aaron Nell 1+1; Max Birbraer* 1+1; Jordan Kelsall 1; Chris Jones 0+1; Sam Zajac 0+1; Jan Kostal* 0+1.
Raides: Juraj Huska* 2; Ollie Baldock 0+2; Brandon Ayliffe 0+1.
Penalty minutes: Swindon 6 Raiders 4.
Shots on goal: Renny Marr (S), 8-7-10=25-2; Michael Gray (L, 59.28) 12-11-11=34-3 Empty net (0.32) 0-0.
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