Jiri Hanzal was forced out of Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.
ICE HOCKEY Romford Raiders 6, Wightlink Raiders 4
WIGHTLINK Raiders are on the verge of losing their chances of winning NIHL Division 1 South after defeat at Romford.
The Islanders were in the mix at the top after an 11-1 home win over Milton Keynes Thunder the night before but, after forfeiting a 3-0 lead at Rom Valley Way, they now look out of the hunt.
Chelmsford Chieftains lead the division with 42 points, with Romford in second place, also on 42.
Raiders now lie in third with 39 points, and player-coach Jeremy Cornish says defeat on Saturday against Chelmsford, will see the end of their challenge.
"I’ve always said that when teams give up leads and end up losing, it’s a sign of a lack of maturity. I just didn’t think I would see our team doing it so late in the season," said Cornish, in his online blog.
"Even though we have had a decent season, I want to make sure we finish strong over the next couple weeks heading into the playoffs. I don’t think the league is out of reach yet, but a loss on Saturday will really sink our league chances."
Things all seemed to be going so well when they blitzed the Romford goal and raced into the lead, goals from Craig Tribe and two from Richard Facey setting things in motion.
But Romford began to come back into it and a goal late in the first period, plus one in the second, put them right back in the hunt.
Sam Waller scored for Raiders early in the final period but Romford were not done, and three goals in a devastating five-minute spell earned them the points.
Defeat was made all the worse when import forward Jiri Hanzal was forced out of the game in the second period with a popped shoulder.
Wightlink Raiders 11, Milton Keynes Thunder 1
On Saturday night, Raiders played some of their best ice hockey to post double figures against Milton Keynes.
Goals came at regular intervals, with a quick-fire double from Hanzal settling the nerves, before Robbie Brown made it 3-0 before the break.
In the second period, Nathan Taylor and two from Richard Facey put the game beyond reach, but in the final period, the hosts really hit fifth gear, with captain Damon Larter scoring on the powerplay just two minutes in.
James Smith made it 8-0, before Cornish, Smith and finally Brown, while shorthanded, completed the rout.
Milton Keynes denied Matt Colclough a shut-out at 54.36 with a shorthanded goal.
On Saturday, Raiders host Chelmsford Chieftains, face-off at 6pm, before they travel up to Milton Keynes on Sunday.