Raiders goalie Gray silences Thunder
PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 November 2015
National League: London Raiders 2 MK Thunder 0
Raiders netminder Michael Gray stopped 44 shots and Slovakian import Marek Nahlik netted both goals to fire Raiders to a home victory over the Milton Keynes Thunder last night.
Gray had to be at his best early in the first period when Milton Keynes were given a 5-on-3 advantage after penalties on Raiders captain Tom Davis and David Oliver.
London survived the early pressure and Nahlik then gave his side a few early chances, before Davis was sent to the box again later in the period.
But the Raiders were stalwart on defence and Thunder goalie Villem-Henrik Koitmaa was then called for a delay of game penalty and the hosts received their first powerplay.
Raiders were unable to capitalize with the man advantage, but then with less than a minute to play in the period, Robbie Veares sent the puck across to Nahlik, who shot into a wide-open left side of the net to give the home side the lead.
Defenceman Oliver was sent to the box again for holding in the 23rd minute, but Raiders continued to press forward and Nahlik’s slapshot just trickled through Koitmaa’s legs for a short-handed goal.
Frankie Harvey nearly gave the Raiders a third goal a few minutes later, hitting the crossbar with a slapshot on a powerplay.
But the visitors ruled much of the remaining time in the period, putting pressure on Gray after the Raiders were penalized twice more.
The final 20 minutes began with the Raiders still two goals to the good and both sides had chances early on, with Koitmaa making a terrific sliding save.
The Thunder had most of the chances, but the Raiders were given a 5-on-3 powerplay and snatched the momentum back.
Davis was sent off the ice after his third penalty, but London remained in control and Nahlik had a chance to complete his hat-trick, only to hit the post with 90 seconds remaining.
Nahlik’s two goals were enough for the Raiders, though, and they moved to 4-1-4 on the season.
Gray was named man of the match for his shutout and Seb Downing was awarded the Player of the Month prize in his first month with the club.
London’s trip to Bracknell has been cancelled due to problems with the ice plant in Berkshire, but they will look for a third straight win when they visit Gillingham to play Invicta next weekend.
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