Raiders suffer back-to-back defeats to Bison in pre-season

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly in action this season

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly in action this season - Credit: John Scott

Everyone Active Raiders suffered back-to-back 3-2 defeats to Basingstoke Bison in pre-season friendlies. 

Head coach Sean Easton rounded off pre-season with three defeats and one draw in four friendlies and will now look to build on returning to action when cup action starts next weekend. 

On Saturday, it was a trip away to Basingstoke, where the hosts opened the scoring thanks to Aidan Doughty being set up by Canadian import Alex Roberts in the 10th minute of play. 

They took the 1-0 lead into the first period break, but just over a minute into the second period, Raiders levelled the score thanks to captain Aaron Connolly who slotted a shot beyond Alex Mettam following a pass from defenceman Dan Scott. 

Just minutes later Bison restored their lead as Doughty grabbed his second of the match, once again being set up by Roberts, and their fellow line mate Zack Milton on the powerplay. 

Basingstoke then made it 3-1 as they took advantage of another powerplay with Alex Sampford being the man to find the back of the net after a drop pass from Brendan Baird in the 47th minute of play. 

Late on in the contest Raiders kept fighting and were rewarded in the 58th minute as a long range shot from Erik Piatak found the back of the net. 

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The visitors pressed for an equaliser, but Ashley Tait’s men held firm, and saw the game off. 

The following night, at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre finished with the exact same score line, and Raiders having to try force an equaliser late on once again. 

Captain Connolly opened the scoring with an unassisted goal early in the second period on the powerplay but his effort was cancelled out five minutes later through player/coach Ashley Tait. 

Raiders then restored their lead as Connolly picked out the back of the net once again on the man advantage in the 24th minute of play. 

Bison levelled the score as Milton netted a powerplay goal with assists going to Roberts and Adam Jones. 

Experienced forward Tait then fired home the winner as he raced down the right wing with less than five minutes left to play. 

Raiders pushed for an equaliser but similar to the night before Bison held on for the win.