Ice hockey: Raiders 10 Leeds 6
PUBLISHED: 19:35 05 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:35 05 January 2020
Everyone Active Raiders ended a three-game losing run with victory in an old-fashioned goal-feast at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday.
The two sides had experienced mixed fortunes on Saturday, with Raiders losing 9-2 at Swindon while the Chiefs beat Bracknell 5-2.
And the home side drew first blood in the third minute when Jake Sylvester scored from Ollie Baldock's pass.
Leeds were back on level terms less than a minute later as Adam Barnes fired into the roof of the net, with Ashley Calvert sending a shot wide soon after.
Lukas Sladkovsky cut in from the right but was too high with his attempt, before Raiders went on the power play as Barnes was binned for slashing.
And the hosts regained the lead with the man advantage through Baldock, assisted by Sladkovsky.
Aaron Connolly fired wide, before Ethan James kicked out Calvert's shot, and Sam Gospel kept out low shots from Olegs Lascenko and Brandon Ayliffe.
Sylvester shot wide before Raiders went 3-1 up through Erik Piatak, assisted by Sean Barry, and James denied Barnes on a break soon after.
And it was 4-1 when Jacob Ranson netted his second goal of the weekend, assisted by Piatak and Connolly, with Dan Scott and Blaho Novak also trying their luck before Leeds grabbed a second late in the period through Lewis Houston.
The middle session was less than two minutes old when Novak made it 5-2, with JJ Pitchley, Ayliffe and Lascenko all firing shots on Gospel as Raiders continued to dominate.
Houston had a shot blocked at the other end, while James denied Steven Moore's hard left-wing blast before Baldock shot wide for the home side.
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Piatak picked out Connolly at the far post, but the Raiders captain could not convert the chance and Leeds grabbed their third goal when Barnes set up Houston to beat James just before the midway mark.
Raiders head coach Sean Easton called a timeout, but then saw Novak binned for cross-checking to hand Leeds a power play chance.
And the visitors needed just 12 seconds to capitalise as Baldwin netted to make it a one-goal game and set nerves jangling among home supporters.
James did well to get his stick out and intercept a pass from Liam Charnock looking for Calvert, while Pitchley shot just wide for Raiders before Leeds player-coach Sam Zajac was binned for hooking.
Lascenko saw a shot deflected high off Moore's stick during the power play and Scott fired wide from the blue line, before Raiders netted their sixth goal of the night through Novak to give themselves some breathing space.
And after James blocked a shot from Barnes, it was 7-4 to the home side when Sladkovsky scored an unassisted goal from a tight angle on the left wing with Gospel out of his net.
Leeds made a bright start to the final session, with Scott getting back to stop Barnes and James denying Andres Kopstals and Zajac, before Kopstals scored assisted by Barnes and Richard Bentham.
Piatak called Gospel into action at the other end and Connolly shot wide, before Raiders restored their three-goal cushion through Sladkovsky and they went 9-5 up through Sylvester's second goal of the night with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Chiefs refused to throw in the towel, though, and beat James for a sixth time just 22 seconds later as Houston completed his hat-trick, only to lose Zajac to a tripping penalty moments later.
Gospel denied Connolly towards the end of the Raiders power play, but Zajac was back in the penalty box on a hooking call to give the home side another man advantage.
James blocked a shot from Baldwin as shorthanded Chiefs went closest to adding to the scoreline, before Lascenko's long shot from the left wing was gloved by Gospel.
And Raiders hit double figures with just under four minutes remaining as Brandon Ayliffe got in on the act, assisted by Sladkovsky, to open their account for 2020.
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