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Ice hockey: Swindon 2 Raiders 5

PUBLISHED: 20:47 08 December 2018 | UPDATED: 20:49 08 December 2018

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)

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Raiders toppled National League Division One leaders Swindon with a superb display at the Link Centre on Saturday to make it three wins in a row.

Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe attacks (pic John Scott)Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe attacks (pic John Scott)

Having beaten bottom two MK Thunder and Invicta Dynamos last weekend, Sean Easton’s men claimed arguably their best result of the season to tame the Wildcats.

Swindon’s Neil Liddiard was called for tripping inside three minutes and Raiders, beaten 6-0 on their previous visit to Wiltshire, made the power play count as Dan Scott fired home assisted by Jake Sylvester and Filip Sedivy.

But Scott was called for tripping midway through the opening period and Swindon needed just 12 seconds to make their extra man count as Chris Jones levelled.

The visitors went on another power play towards the end of the session after Max Birbraer was given a minor penalty for abuse of official.

Raiders goalie Michael Gray (pic John Scott)Raiders goalie Michael Gray (pic John Scott)

But the scoreline remained all square, until Raiders regained the lead in the 25th minute with a nice backhand finish from Ashley Jackson.

The latest lead lasted less than two minutes as Loris Taylor replied for Wildcats, assisted by former Romford junior Toms Rutkis.

But the hosts lost Birbraer to a high-sticking minor penalty just past the midway mark of the match and, although they could not make the power play count, Raiders took the lead for a third time as captain Aaron Connolly netted, assisted by Jackson and Brandon Ayliffe, on a delayed penalty call after a slashing by Birbraer.

Despite being outshot 18-8 in the middle session, that left Raiders with a slender lead heading into the final stanza.

Raiders forward JJ Pitchley is all smiles on the bench (pic John Scott)Raiders forward JJ Pitchley is all smiles on the bench (pic John Scott)

And they opened up a two-goal cushion in less than three minutes of the restart as Blaho Novak netted, assisted by Jackson and Ayliffe.

Raiders killed off a delay of game minor penalty against defenceman John Connolly, only to see Matt Turner binned for interference seconds later.

And having survived that shorthanded spell, the visitors had Sedivy binned for tripping with just over seven minutes left on the clock.

But the penalty-killing unit did its job once again and Raiders went 5-2 up when Juraj Huska scored assisted by Ollie Baldock with five minutes remaining.

Wildcats called a timeout with 2.26 left on the clock, with Marr withdrawn for an extra skater, but they could not make any inroads into the Raiders lead in the closing minutes as the visitors skated off with a fine win.

Raiders return to Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday to play host to Bracknell Bees (5.30pm).

Scorers, Swindon: Chris Jones 1, Loris Taylor 1, Adam Harding 0+1, Max Birbraer* 0+1, Toms Rutkis 0+1.

Raiders: Ashley Jackson 1+2, Dan Scott 1, Aaron Connolly 1, Blaho Novak 1, Juraj Huska* 1, Brandon Ayliffe 0+3, Jake Sylvester 0+1, Filip Sedivy* 0+1, Ollie Baldock 0+1.

Shots on goal: Renny Marr (S, 57.28) 10-8-8=26-5, Michael Gray (R) 8-18-14=40-2.

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