Ice Hockey: Raiders 3 Sheffield 5
- Credit: Archant
Everyone Active Raiders slipped to defeat against the Steeldogs at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Saturday.
The visitors flew out of the blocks to open the scoring with only 38 seconds gone through Kieran Brown, but Raiders were back on terms with only 77 seconds on the clock thanks to Jake Sylvester.
Steeldogs regained the lead in the fourth minute as Jan Danecek netted, but they lost Cameron Brownley to a slashing penalty, which Raiders could not capitalise on.
Jordan Griffin was next to fall foul of the officials, picking up four minutes in penalties for cross-checking and roughing, but again the home side's power play could not find a way through as Dmitri Zimozdra made two good saves.
Sheffield lost Ben Morgan, soon after returning to full strength, to a hooking call and Raiders were again denied by Zimozdra, who also produced a superb glove save to thwart the hosts before Alex Graham became the fourth Sheffield player to make a trip to the penalty box in the opening period.
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And despite dominating the shot count 20-8 in the first session, Raiders found themselves trailing at the first break.
Tim Smith was binned with barely a minute of the middle session gone on a hooking call, but the Sheffield penalty killers did their job well again and the visitors went 3-1 up as Danecek claimed his second goal of the night.
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Michael Gray denied Nathan Salem and Brown during a spell of 4-on-4, after Vladimir Luka and Sean Barry were called for hooking penalties, and the Raiders goalie made a good glove save to keep out Brown's wrist shot.
Raiders went on another power play as Brownley returned to the penalty box on a holding call just before the game's midway point and cut the gap to one when Dan Scott found the net, assisted by Olegs Lascenko and Mason Webster.
But their joy was shortlived as Danecek squeezed the puck inside a post to complete his hat-trick and make it 4-2 three minutes later.
Gray denied Luka, before Graham was binned for elbows and Raiders defenceman Callum Wells departed for charging in the 35th minute.
The scoreline remained unchanged, with Raiders losing Sylvester to the penalty box early in the final period, before Brown (holding) and Danecek (slashing) followed for Sheffield.
Smith was left hobbling after blocking a shot on the Raiders power play, before the visitors were hit with a delay of game penalty. But Steeldogs survived and then went on a power play of their own when Webster was called for elbowing Tom Relf.
Raiders closed the gap while shorthanded, though, as Erik Piatak claimed his first goal for the club, assisted by Brandon Ayliffe and Barry with 11 and a half minutes left in the match.
However, Ayliffe was soon in the box as Sheffield went back on the power play with seven minutes to go, with Zimozdra denying Piatak on another shorthanded chance.
Brown shot wide at the other end, before JJ Pitchley and Lewis Bell were binned inside the final two minutes, and the visitors sealed the points with a late fifth from Salem.
Raiders travel to Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday.