Raiders build cup final lead
PUBLISHED: 22:10 30 March 2013 | UPDATED: 22:10 30 March 2013
NL Cup final: Romford Raiders 8 Chelmsford Chieftains 3
Raiders will take a five-goal lead to the Riverside Ice Arena tomorrow after a strong performance in the first leg of the National League Cup final at Rom Valley Way this evening.
Danny Marshall’s men were gunning for revenge against their Essex rivals, following a chastening 8-1 league defeat only two weeks earlier, and redressed the balance to a degree with a convincing victory over the newly crowned league champions.
Now they will hope to complete the task in the return meeting to ensure another piece of silverware for their own trophy cabinet.
Less than a minute had been played when Ryan Giles ripped a bomb from the left point through Ryan Bainborough’s defences to give Raiders a perfect start.
And the home side, without the suspended Billy Phillips, continued to dominate through the first period, although Shane Kemp had to kick out a Gary Clarke effort after Andrius Kaminskas turned the puck over on a powerplay.
Juraj Huska rang the pipes as Tibor Schneider served a holding the stick minor before Kaminskas and Julius Sinkovic clashed to earn coincidental roughing penalties.
Kaminskas looked set to double Romford’s lead seconds after his return as a pass from Giles set up a great chance, but a hook from Sinkovic prevented the goal and the hosts could not cash in on the subsequent man advantage.
Bainborough denied Huska with a sharp pad save just before the break and Chieftains levelled in the 28th minute, just seconds after Matt Turner had been binned for slashing, as Sinkovic pounced on a loose puck in the low slot.
But Raiders regained the lead less than two minutes later as Marshall – back in action after a recent eye infection – converted while on one knee and Turner made it 3-1 with another close range conversion within 90 seconds.
Things got even better for the hosts as they struck twice more in just eight seconds to move 5-1 up in the 36th minute.
Tom Davis caught Bainborough napping with a superb snapshot into the far top corner from the left point for Romford’s fourth and Huska netted from Marshall’s pass on the very next shift to send the Rom Valley Way faithful wild.
Sinkovic replied with his second, netting a rebound after his initial attempt came back off the netting, but Raiders capped a stunning period when defenceman David Oliver drove to the net and gobbled up a loose puck to make it 6-2.
It could have been better still but Huska was unable to convert a penalty shot before the interval.
And penalties against Turner and Grant Taylor then gave Chieftains 1:26 with a two-man advantage early in the final stanza, but the hosts survived and then extended their lead when a puck fell kindly for Marshall to score from just beyond the crease.
Sinkovic completed his hat-trick on the next shift with a slap shot from beyond the blue line but a stunning turnaround pass from Frankie Harvey found Huska at the far post to make it 8-3 with 10 minutes still to play.
Marshall picked up an assist to move to 1,500 career points (591+909) for Raiders, before the visitors replaced the shell-shocked Bainborough with Ben Clements.
The home side then killed off an interference minor against Kaminskas in the closing minutes before Chieftains were awarded a penalty shot with only seconds remaining after Taylor pushed Kemp’s net off its moorings.
But Kemp kept out James Ayling’s effort to ensure a commanding lead for part two.
Raiders: Marshall 2+3 Huska 2+1 Giles 1+1 Turner 1 Davis 1 Oliver 1 Harvey 0+5 AJ Smith 0+1 Taylor 0+1 Kaimnskas 0+1.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Romford Recorder. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.