Ice Hockey: Raiders 1 MK Thunder 4
PUBLISHED: 20:25 09 March 2019 | UPDATED: 20:25 09 March 2019
Everyone Active Raiders fell to a third successive National League Division One defeat and fourth loss in five on Saturday.
The hosts had Jake Sylvester, Dan Scott and Mason Webster back in their line-up, following last weekend’s 4-3 loss in Milton Keynes, but were without John Connolly and Callum Wells, as well as Ollie Baldock, Blaho Novak and prospects Brandon Webster and Ewan Hill for the return.
Joe Edwards forced Michael Gray to make the first save of the night, while JJ Pitchley pinged a shot off the net from Filip Sedivy’s cross-ice pass at the other end.
Jordan Lawday denied Liam Chong before Sylvester was binned for hooking and Aaron Connolly sent a shorthanded chance just wide.
Trevor Leblanc had a shot blocked during Thunder’s power play, while Tomas Rubes was also denied once Raiders were back at full strength.
Matt Turner and Sedivy were off target for the home side, while Lawday blocked Connolly and Barry shots.
Gray made a good block on Rio Grinell-Parke as the first half ended scoreless, with Thunder edging the shot count 16-12.
And Raiders were unable to capitalise on a power play chance when Logan Prince was binned for tripping early in the middle session, as Chong saw a long shot saved by Lawday.
Thunder broke the deadlock in the 27th minute through Edwards, but Raiders were back on level terms just over a minute later through captain Connolly.
The visitors regained the lead through Sean Norris just past the midway mark and Raiders lost Huska to a 10-minute misconduct penalty soon after.
Pitchley fired just wide, while Lawday thwarted Connolly, Jack Cooper and Webster and Gray’s glove save denied Grinell-Parke.
Brandon Ayliffe was also kept out in the final minute of the period as Raiders skated off in arrears.
Chong went close soon after the restart, with Pitchley forcing Lawday into action once more.
And Raiders went on the power play when Rubes was called for tripping, with Connolly shooting just wide.
A slashing call against Samuel Talbot gave Raiders a brief spell of 5-on-3 and coach Sean Easton called a timeout to discuss their tactics.
But Thunder saw Rubes race out of the penalty box and force Gray to save his shorthanded effort, before Scott’s blast from the blue line was blocked.
Grinell-Parke and Webster were both wide of the mark at either end of the ice, before Chong was binned for hooking with just over eight minutes remaining to hand Thunder a power play.
And though Raiders killed off the penalty, they were running out of time to turn things around and then left with a mountain to climb when Edwards claimed his second goal of the night from a Rubes pass with 5.39 left on the clock.
A tripping penalty against Leblanc gave Raiders a late power play chance and they removed Gray for an extra skater to apply lots of pressure on Lawday’s net.
But Thunder kept them at bay and rubbed salt into the wounds with an empty net goal from Talbot with 25 seconds left.
Scorers, Raiders: Aaron Connolly 1, Brandon Ayliffe 0+1.
Thunder: Joe Edwards 2, Samuel Talbot 1+1, Sean Norris 1, Trevor Leblanc 0+1, Greg Randall 0+1, Gareth O’Flaherty 0+1, Tomas Rubes 0+1.
Shots on goal: Michael Gray (R, 57.55) 16-5-8=29-3, Empty net (2.05) 1-1; Jordan Lawday (MK) 12-18-16=46-1.
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