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Ice hockey: Swindon 5 Raiders 2

PUBLISHED: 20:37 02 November 2019 | UPDATED: 20:37 02 November 2019

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders fell to a fifth defeat in six outings in the National League at leaders Swindon on Saturday.

But they will hope to bounce back when they welcome Bracknell Bees to Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.15pm), having won 3-2 in Berkshire last weekend.

Raiders goalie Michael Gray was called into action early on at the Link Centre to make a stunning glove save.

But less than two and a half minutes were gone when the home side opened the scoring, as Max Birbraer found the top corner from close range.

And after seeing defenceman Ross Connolly stretchered off to hospital with a leg injury, Raiders conceded a second to Birbraer in the 16th minute as they were outshot 15-8 in the opening period.

Given the fact they had trailed 4-0 after the first 20 minutes on their previous visit to Wiltshire on the opening day of the season, it represented something of an improvement.

And the second session was tight, with Mason Webster and Loris Taylor both picking up cross-checking penalties just before the midway mark to leave the sides skating 4-on-4.

Raiders halved the deficit as captain Aaron Connolly found the net, assisted by Lukas Sladkovsky, which was far better than last time, when they had been 7-0 down before opening their account.

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The home side thought they had restored their two-goal cushion not long after, but officials waved it off as the Raiders net has been dislodged from its moorings.

However, Swindon did go 3-1 up in the final minute of the period through Aaron Nell, after Raiders felt Blaho Novak had been on the receiving end of a cross-check at the other end of the ice.

The visitors hit back just 23 seconds into the final period as Jack Flynn produced a superb assist to set up skipper Connolly for his second goal of the night. But Wildcats went 4-2 up three minutes later as Floyd Taylor found the net.

A hooking penalty against Nell gave Raiders a power play chance, but they could not make it count and fell further behind as the guilty party netted Swindon's fifth goal just 32 seconds after his return to the ice.

Callum Wells was called for high sticks with just under seven minutes to play, with Sladkovsky binned inside the last two minutes for slashing.

But Raiders were awarded a penalty shot in the closing stages, only to see captain Connolly miss the chance to complete his hat-trick as Wildcats made it seven wins in a row.

Swindon: Aaron Nell 2+1, Max Birbraer 2, Floyd Taylor 1, Tomasz Malasinski 0+3, Sam Godfrey 0+1.

Raiders: Aaron Connolly 2, Jack Flynn 0+1, Lukas Sladkovsky 0+1.

Penalty minutes: Swindon 4 Raiders 6.

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