Alex Barker scores against Invicta. Picture by NICKY CRAFT
WIGHTLINK Raiders secured second place in the National Ice Hockey League division 1, after defeating a below-par Invicta Dynamos on Saturday night.
Whoever won the tie was guaranteed the runners-up spot, and a play-off date with the seventh-placed side in the division, which could be Bracknell Hornets or Solent and Gosport Devils. The sides will do battle next weekend, April 5 and 6.
Invicta sent a small squad for the game on Saturday, missing several key players. Raiders romped to a 4-0 first-period lead, goals courtesy of Craig Tribe, Steven Osman, Alex Barker and Richard Facey.
Invicta enjoyed a second-period revival, and threatened to completely obliterate the lead Raiders had worked hard to build up, scoring three goals in nine minutes. However, Damon Larter’s goal two minutes from the break, put a little space between them.
Matt Vizzari was on hand for a quick-fire double early in the final session to really kill off Invicta’s chances, and although they pulled a goal back with five minutes left, it was too little, too late, as Raiders posted a 7-4 victory.
On Sunday night, Raiders hosted Milton Keynes Thunder, and, just like the weekend before, recorded an easy 15-4 win.
Like Invicta the night before, Thunder arrived with a short bench of only two lines and one netminder, and offered little in the way of firepower, registering just 27 shots.
By contrast, Raiders peppered Chris Gill with 68 shots, Gill earning the Milton Keynes man of the match prize for his gallant effort.
Goals came thick and fast.
In the first period, Jeremy Cornish got the ball rolling at 3.17 while on the powerplay, and this was quickly followed up with strikes by Yousif Abu Saada, Tribe and Facey.
Larter, Cornish, Vizzari and Barker were all on the scoresheet for the middle session, before the hosts really ran riot in the final period, with seven goals.
Vizzari scored three more to take his tally to four, with Barker grabbing his second, and Osman, man of the match Alex Trendall and Loris Taylor all getting in on the scoring act.
l In last week’s match report we incorrectly reported that Vizzari won man of the match on both nights. Alex Barker won man of the match on the Saturday night.