Steven Osman was once again star man.
Wightlink Raiders 5, Solent and Gosport Devils 3
WIGHTLINK Raiders went to the top of the National Ice Hockey League with a gritty victory at home to the improved Solent and Gosport Devils.
These local rivals do not have much of a friendship, and though this game was not as fiery as their previous encounters, there were still a couple of flashpoints to keep the tradition going.
The first clash came towards the end of the first period, when Raiders’ Alex Barker went toe to toe with Mitchell Murray — by then the game was tied at one apiece, Barker’s early strike cancelled out by a goal from former Raider Alex Murray.
After the break, Mitchell Murray gave the visitors the lead, but Barker responded in kind with a second goal to tie things up, his effort coming just five seconds into a powerplay.
The remainder of the goals came in the final session, and it was a stroke of genius from Steven Osman which got the crowd singing. Osman got the puck after a face-off in the Devils’ zone and, after being checked mid-ice, still managed to pull off a scoring shot while falling to the ground.
Breathing space was finally achieved five minutes later when Nick Compton made it 4-2, and although Mitchell Murray narrowed the gap with his second goal, a breakaway goal just 37 seconds from the final buzzer, from Matt Vizzari, sealed the victory.
Streatham Redskins 5, Wightlink Raiders 7
Illness and injuries could have knocked the Raiders back in this NIHL Cup game on Sunday, but they overcame those hurdles to take another two points.
The side were without Yousif Abu Saada, Nathan Taylor and Nick Compton, and then lost Vizzari in the first period to what appeared to be a shoulder injury after a mis-timed check, so with barely three lines against a full Streatham squad, the Raiders were up against it.
And it looked like defeat was on the cards when the hosts racked up a 3-1 first-period lead, Osman netting the only Raiders’ goal.
But three goals in the opening five minutes of the second period put Raiders in the ascendancy. Corey Watkins scored shorthanded at 21.28 before two powerplay goals from captain Damon Larter made it 4-3.
Redskins responded at 28.39 and although Richard Nembhard restored the advantage, Redskins levelled again just before the break, while on the powerplay.
It took two goals in the final ten minutes, from Osman — who had four assists on the night as well — and Barker, to seal the victory.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Raiders take on their toughest test so far with a league match against Chelmsford Chieftains, face off at Ryde Arena is at 6pm. On Sunday, they travel to Cardiff ENL Devils.