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Ice hockey: Swindon 5 Raiders 4 (OT)

PUBLISHED: 20:50 08 February 2020 | UPDATED: 20:50 08 February 2020

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders suffered more National League overtime heartbreak at the Link Centre on Saturday.

Having suffered a last-gasp overtime loss at Basingstoke a week earlier, Raiders were 21 seconds away from victory against the Wildcats in normal time.

But after seeing the home side net a late equaliser, they had to settle for a point as Swindon struck a sudden-death winner.

Raiders saw Michael Gray return in goal but less than four minutes had been played when Chris Jones put Swindon ahead.

But the visitors, with defenceman Callum Wells absent as he started a six-match suspension, went on the power play when Tyler Plews was binned for hooking and levelled the score as Ollie Baldock fired into the top corner to level.

And Swindon - who had captain Aaron Nell making his 500th appearance - were hit with another penalty against Edgars Bebris (cross-checking) soon after, which they managed to survive only to then see Raiders captain Aaron Connolly put his side ahead, assisted by Erik Piatak.

The hosts had a goal ruled out early in the middle session as the net was off its moorings but killed off a slashing penalty against Floyd Taylor only for Raiders to go 3-1 up as Lukas Sladkovsky broke away and fired through the legs of goalie Jordan Hedley on a delayed penalty.

But Wildcats replied through Tyler Vankleef, who was left open in front of Grays' net to score, and Raiders had to kill off penalties against Brandon Ayliffe (tripping) and Jacob Ranson (delay of game).

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Jones was then called for slashing, but Raiders lost Jack Cooper to a hooking penalty to leave the sides skating 4-on-4 before the break, which set up a tense final period.

Bebris was binned for interference within a minute of the restart, but Swindon survived the shorthanded spell only for Jake Sylvester to give Raiders some breathing space with their fourth goal, scored with a wraparound finish.

Piatak was penalised for interference just 32 seconds later, handing Swindon a power play chance to get back into the game, and Nell made the most of the opportunity with seconds left of the man advantage on his big night to cut the gap to one with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Raiders were then hit with another penalty with little more than five minutes left on the clock, when Ranson was called for hooking, but they survived and saw Swindon remove Hedley for an extra skater inside the final two minutes of the match.

The home side squared matters with just 21 seconds to play through Tomasz Malasinski to force overtime, then claimed victory in the extra session through Vankleef.

Raiders return to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday to host Basingstoke (5.15pm).

Swindon: Tyler Vankleef 2, Chris Jones 1+1, Tomasz Malasinksi 1+1, Aaron Nell 1, Sam Bullas 0+1, Luc Johnson 0+1, Toms Rutkis 0+1, Edgars Bebris 0+1.

Raiders: Ollie Baldock 1+1, Lukas Sladkovsky 1+1, Jake Sylvester 1, Aaron Connolly 1, Blaho Novak 0+2, JJ Pitchley 0+1, Mason Webster 0+1, Erik Piatak 0+1.

Penalty minutes: Wildcats 10 Raiders 10.


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