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Ice hockey: Raiders 1 Swindon 4

PUBLISHED: 19:43 29 December 2019 | UPDATED: 19:44 29 December 2019

Raiders forward Blaho Novak (pic John Scott)

Raiders forward Blaho Novak (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders slipped to defeat against high-flying Swindon in their last match of the decade at Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday.

Having suffered an overtime loss at Basingstoke the night before, Raiders went on an early penalty kill when Jake Sylvester was binned for tripping, but good work by captain Aaron Connolly helped deny the visitors.

A tripping call against Jacob Ranson put Swindon back on the power play and Chris Jones had a low shot blocked, before Connolly tested Renny Marr at the other end.

Brandon Ayliffe had a right-wing shot kicked away by Marr, while Ben Nethersell's long range effort was stopped by Ethan James, who also denied Floyd Taylor.

And the young Raiders goalie was alert once more when Edgars Bebris playeed the puck dangerously in front of the net and Jones tried to convert.

Swindon saw Taylor ejected with a 5+game penalty for boarding on Jack Flynn, giving Raiders a man advantage for almost the remainder of the opening period.

And Ollie Baldock had a shot deflected over the crossbar, while Lukas Sladkovsky fired wide from the right wing and Connolly deflected Sean Barry's long shot towards Marr to no avail.

Swindon returned to full strength in the last minute of the period and Marr held on to Dan Scott's hard shot with only a few seconds left as it remained goalless.

Young Raiders forward Tommy Huggett had a shot blocked by veteran defenceman Neil Liddiard early in the middle session, before the hosts broke the deadlock through Erik Piatak.

Scott sent a long shot just wide before Swindon's Sam Godfrey sat a cross-checking penalty, quickly followed by Blaho Novak for holding.

Liddiard fired wide after both sides returned to full strength, while James saved from Bebris just past the midway mark.

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Bebris was then binned for tripping and Tyler Plews blocked a Sylvester shot on the Raiders power play before Fuller had a shot from the right stopped.

James foiled Tyler Vankleef and Luc Johnson shot wide before Fuller was called for slashing with just under three minutes left on the clock.

And after Vankleef had a shot blocked and Piatak fired a shorthanded chance wide, Swindon drew level during their man advantage thanks to former Romford junior Toms Rutkis.

Raiders then suffered another setback in the final minute of the period as Aaron Nell put the Wildcats in front, leaving them to come from behind in the last 20 minutes of the year, having been outshot 32-15 to that point.

Their task was made even harder within 90 seconds of the restart as Rutkis claimed his second goal of the game, with Fuller picking up a slashing minor and 10-minute misconduct penalty soon after.

Jones struck on the power play to make it 4-1, but Swindon lost Godfrey to a tripping penalty and Plews for holding the stick to give Raiders 65 seconds with a two-man advantage.

The home side called a timeout to discuss their options, but could not capitalise on the 5-on-3 and Johnson called James into action before Flynn was sent to the ice by a hard hit and needed help off.

Novak was called for slashing with under three minutes to play, but Liddiard was binned for tripping seconds later to leave the sides skating 4-on-4.

And although Scott had a long shot saved by Marr, Raiders ended up beaten by Swindon for the third time in four meetings so far this season.

The two sides meet again at the Link Centre next Saturday.

Raiders: Erik Piatak* 1, Tommy Huggett 0+1.

Phantoms: Toms Rutkis 2+1, Chris Jones 1+1, Aaron Nell 1, Sam Bullas 0+2, Edgars Bebris 0+2, Tyler Vankleef 0+1.

Shots on goal: Ethan James (R) 14-18-11=43-4; Renny Marr (S) 9-6-15=30-1.

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