League leaders start 2014 on a high

By Clare Newman

Friday, January 10, 2014

 

League leaders start 2014 on a high

Goaltender Dan Weller-Evans was excellent in both games.

ICE HOCKEY

Solent and Gosport Devils 3, Wightlink Raiders 6

WIGHTLINK Raiders remain at the top of the National Ice Hockey League Division 1 South table, and are the team to beat, after another competent victory at Solent and Gosport Devils on Sunday night.

The side are several points clear of their rivals after the win, which saw them post an incredible 93 shots at their opponents’ net.

Unlike their previous meeting before Christmas, which had been hot-tempered, the Raiders and Devils steered clear of scraps and penalties this time around and Raiders were always in control.

Craig Tribe got the scoring under way at 9.25, from Jeremy Cornish and Nick Compton, and although former Raider Alex Murray equalised — he would go on to score all three of Gosport’s goals — Raiders held the advantage going into the break thanks to an Alex Barker strike just before the buzzer.

The second period saw Barker score his second, just 14 seconds after the restart, and Richard Facey’s powerplay effort at 30.38 gave the Islanders a decent cushion for the first time.

Though Gosport pulled one back four minutes later, also on the powerplay, Raiders were cruising, and third-period goals from Damon Larter and Matt Vizzari just 59 seconds from the end, sealed another two vital points.

Netminder Dan Weller-Evans, in for Matt Colclough for the weekend, completed an excellent couple of games, stopping more than 40 shots.

London Raiders 5, Wightlink Raiders 8

On Saturday night, Raiders began 2014 with a South East Trophy match, and just like their previous meeting, came away with the win.

London, the new name for Romford Raiders, are going through a rough patch at their new home at Lee Valley, and had only 15 players on the bench for the tie.

However the hosts battled hard and made things interesting with a third-period flurry to narrow the gap.

Raider made the perfect start, when Dan Pye netted after only 1.27, and Loris Taylor — back with the club after a loan spell with EPL side Swindon — netted the second moments later.

Vizzari scored a third goal in the 11th minute, although this was cancelled out by London’s first goal.

In the second period, London drew first blood, at 29.31 but just nine seconds later, Raiders were celebrating again, when Cornish got in on the scoring act.

Two minutes later, it was 5-2, as Taylor netted his second of the game and the win was virtually sealed 12 seconds from the break when Vizzari scored his second.

The final period was London’s, as they scored three goals to the Raiders’ two, but by then the result was never in doubt. Raiders wrapped up their tally with strikes from Richard Nembhard and Richard Facey.

Tomorrow (Saturday), Raiders host the London Raiders at Ryde Arena, face-off 6pm.

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