Player-coach Jeremy Cornish scored twice on Sunday.
Wightlink Raiders 7, Gosport and Solent Devils 2
RAIDERS remain at the heels of NIHL Division 1 South leaders Chelmsford Chieftains after a solid victory over Solent and Gosport Devils on Saturday night.
The Islanders took their time to make their mark over their near rivals — now coached by former Raiders Steve Gannaway and Alex Murray — but a devastating second-period spell earned them the points.
Raiders were all over their opponents in the opening minutes but their finishing, coupled with solid goaltending from Christian Cole, meant it took almost ten minutes to get on the scoresheet.
The first goal came courtesy of Steven Osman, and it took another seven minutes before they doubled their lead, Simon Hobbis netting while on a delayed penalty. Devils hit back almost straight away with a soft goal the Raiders would definitely want back, but they held their slender advantage going into the break.
The second period was almost a carbon copy of the first to start with, Raiders in the ascendancy but unable to score. It took another ten minutes before Nathan Taylor made it 3-1, and then two minutes later they conceded again, Gosport netting after a goalmouth scramble.
However, any hopes Devils had of a full comeback were quashed when, with devastating precision, Raiders made it 5-2 in a heartbeat. First, Osman netted from Jeremy Cornish’s assist on the powerplay at 35.36, and then, 22 seconds later, Loris Taylor scored with a bullet shot.
The final period saw Raiders consolidate their advantage, Loris Taylor bagging his second goal with eight minutes remaining, and Matt Vizzari scoring a lovely goal just three minutes from the buzzer.
Wightlink Raiders 3, Invicta Dynamos 1
The following night, and without several key players — Corey Watkins, Nick Compton and Alex Barker — Raiders produced a gutsy victory to keep their hopes of winning the South East Trophy alive.
Dynamos have been in blistering form of late but Raiders did all they could to silence their rivals and produce the goals when it mattered.
Player-coach Cornish turned out to be the go-to man on this occasion, scoring two out of the three goals and earning his man of the match prize.
The game was goalless for the first half an hour, until Invicta opened the scoring at 30.35. But Raiders were equal to the challenge, and levelled just two minutes later through Cornish, assisted by Osman and Craig Tribe.
It took until the 52nd minute of play for the next goal to come, the three Raiders players combining again to set up Cornish for his second.
And the win was completed with just two seconds left when Invicta pulled their netminder and Raiders — with a man down due to a late penalty for interference — scored into the empty net, Richard Facey claiming the goal.
This weekend, Raiders have another two vital matches if they want to keep their league title hopes alive. Tomorrow (Saturday) they host London Raiders at Ryde Arena, face-off 6pm, before they travel to leaders Chelmsford on Sunday.