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Ice hockey: Raiders 2 Peterborough 3

PUBLISHED: 20:05 25 November 2018

Raiders goalie Michael Gray tries to find the puck in his equipment after making a save against Peterborough (pic Lee Power)

Raiders goalie Michael Gray tries to find the puck in his equipment after making a save against Peterborough (pic Lee Power)

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Everyone Active Raiders were edged out for the second successive night in the National League, as James Ferrara’s hat-trick fired Phantoms to the points in Romford.

Having let a four-goal lead slip to lose in overtime at Basingstoke, Raiders twice came from behind to suggest they might add more to their haul.

But Ferrara’s power play goal left them empty handed and wondering what might have been after another close contest.

Barely two minutes had been played when Ferrara beat Michael Gray with a shot from the left face-off circle to open the scoring.

And the visitors went close to a second when Petr Stepanek played a give-and-go on the right and forced the Raiders goalie to make a good save before Taylor Romeo also called Gray into action.

Raiders forward Blaho Novak picked up the first penalty of the night when called for slashing just past the five-minute mark and Gray did well to kick out Scott Robson’s shot at close range early in the Phantoms power play.

The rest of the penalty was killed off, but Raiders were shorthanded again when JJ Pitchley was called for charging and Gray made a stick save to deny Tom Norton’s shot from the blue line.

Will Weldon sent one off Gray’s mask, before Dan Scott flattened Martins Susters with a big hit and James White had a shot turned away.

And Raiders were back on terms when John Connolly’s stretch pass sent Filip Sedivy in on goal to beat Jordan Marr with a smart finish.

The home side’s joy was shortlived, though, as Ferrara followed up to lift the puck into the roof of the net on his backhand, after referee Tim Pickett appeared to have already blown his whistle to call a penalty against Raiders.

And Raiders, feeling a sense of injustice, went close with a Callum Wells slapshot on the next shift, before Novak and Ashley Jackson had whacks at a loose puck in front but could not convert and Aaron Connolly had a shot deflected over.

Play remained at a high tempo for the next few minutes, with Raiders continuing to come forward, but Phantoms held their ground, until Norton was called for interference on Sedivy behind Marr’s net.

And Marr produced a fine reflex pad save to keep out Jake Sylvester at close range, after Scott’s shot was deflected.

Gray’s blocker denied Padelek a shorthanded goal at the other end, after he was sprung by a long pass from Callum Buglass, before Wells threw a big hit on Robson as the buzzer sounded.

Raiders went on the power play at the start of the middle session when Robert Ferrara was called for a hook on Aaron Connolly and they made it count to draw level.

Sedivy and Pitchley combined on the left, with Connolly producing a superb backhand finish at the far post to lift the puck into the roof of the net.

Huska whistled a shot narrowly over the net, before Gray thwarted Corey McEwen at close range and held on to Glenn Billing’s wristshot.

But John Connolly was binned for a hit on Billing and Gray kicked out McEwen’s one-timer, before gloving a shot from Padelek.

And the gloves came off when Connolly clashed with Will Weldon behind Gray’s net, with Raiders earning a power play chance as the Peterborough player was called for an initial slashing penalty.

Shorthanded Phantoms had a great chance to regain the lead when McEwen – son of the great Doug – skated clear, but Gray would not be beaten and Jake Sylvester forced a pad save from Marr just after the power play had ended.

Novak blazed wide on a 2-on-1 chance and, after Phantoms were caught with too many men on the ice, missed the target again when Scott’s shot was originally blocked.

Raiders were almost punished late on, though, after turning the puck over at Peterborough’s blue line as Stepanek got into space on the left wing, but Gray held firm once again to set up a tense final session.

Jackson’s close range attempt was trapped by Marr, before Sylvester was tripped by Susters and Wells took umbrage, ensuring both sides were reduced to four skaters.

But chances were at a premium as the two sides continued to cancel each other out well across the ice, although Robert Ferrara fired just wide from the blue line.

Gray denied Susters twice on the same shift, before the gloves came off again, with Susters and Pitchley trading blows this time.

Both players received slashing minors, plus double minors for fighting, but Pitchley was adjudged the instigator and Phantoms went on the power play with just over nine minutes remaining.

And they only needed 35 seconds with the man advantage, setting up in the Raiders zone before Padelek’s rink wide pass found James Ferrara, who fired a first-time shot home, despite Gray getting a decent glove on it, to complete his treble.

McEwen wasted another breakaway chance, as Gray won their personal battle once more, before Jackson, Connolly and Novak were all thwarted in a scramble in front of Marr.

Raiders removed Gray in the final minute for an extra skater and put pressure on the Phantoms net, but Scott’s low shot came back off a post with 11 seconds left and Marr gratefully put his glove over the puck before anyone could pot the rebound.

Raiders: Filip Sedivy* 1+1, Aaron Connolly 1, John Connolly 0+1, JJ Pitchley 0+1.

Phantoms: James Ferrara 3, Ales Padelek* 0+3, Glenn Billing 0+2.

Shots on goal: Michael Gray (R) 15-12-11=38-3; Jordan Marr (P) 11-17-13=41-2.

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