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Ice hockey: Sheffield 5 Raiders 4 (OT)

PUBLISHED: 21:45 18 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:45 18 January 2020

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly in action against Sheffield (pic John Scott)

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly in action against Sheffield (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders picked up a point in Sheffield thanks to a four-goal display from captain Aaron Connolly.

Raiders were without senior defenceman Dan Scott, but welcomed Jack Flynn back into the line-up.

But after some decent possession in the offensive zone, they fell behind just past the five-minute mark when Lewis Bell beat Ethan James.

Jan Danecek doubled Sheffield's advantage just 12 seconds later to leave Raiders in an early spot of bother.

But Connolly called Curtis Warburton into action for his first real test of the night, then halved the deficit midway through the period as he buried a rebound from a Sean Barry shot.

Lukas Sladkovsky tried his luck soon after, with Raiders getting back on terms as Connolly bided his time patiently and picked his spot to score, assisted by Barry and Erik Piatak.

Charlie Thompson fired over for the hosts, while James held onto a shot from Bell and then blocked an effort from Nathan Salem.

After a low-key start to the middle session, Steeldogs went on the power play when Dan Fuller was called for tripping Nathan Finley and the home side went close after a scramble in front of the Raiders net.

But despite some good build-up play with their man advantage, Sheffield could not find a way past young James and then lost James Spurr to an interference penalty for a hit on Jack Cooper just before the midway mark.

They regained the lead while shorthanded, though, as Vladimir Luka netted an unassisted goal, before Sladkovsky and Danecek were binned on slashing minors.

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And Raiders saw Connolly have a backhand effort stopped, after some pressure on the home net, before Brandon Ayliffe rang the pipework for the visitors.

Craig Elliott was called for high sticking, with just over five minutes left in the period, but Alex Graham broke away to beat James and make it 4-2 with another unassisted goal.

Raiders made the power play count, however, as Connolly completed his hat-trick, assisted by Piatak and Barry to make it a one-goal game once more.

And they went on another power play right at the end of the period when Reece Cochrane was given a 2+10 penalty for boarding.

Blaho Novak had an effort saved by Warburton before the penalty expired, before James was called into action at the other end of the ice to deny Brady Doxey.

But Raiders were back on terms again as Connolly claimed his fourth goal of the night, with helpers from Piatak and Fuller, and Tim Smith was then binned for hooking, handing the visitors another power play chance in the 48th minute.

Raiders were caught with too many men on the ice soon after, though, but hit the crossbar while Mason Webster served the minor penalty.

Olegs Lascenko blocked a shot from Luka, before Novak and JJ Pitchley created some pressure in the home end and came up against some dogged Sheffield defensive work.

Danecek fired a hard shot into the chest of James, while Piatak saw his effort find the netting, as Raiders tested Warburton with a couple of tricky shots late on.

But it went to overtime and Bell netted the winner for Sheffield.

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