Chelmsford Chieftains 4, Wightlink Raiders 3
WIGHTLINK Raiders came the closest yet to defeating leaders Chelmsford Chieftains away from home on Sunday — but were defeated once again.
Chieftains are notoriously hard to defeat on their own ice and although Raiders did well to run them extremely close, they were unsuccessful once more, losing 4-3 at the Riverside.
The Islanders had an awful start, conceding inside the first minute when Luke Brittle scored at 0.58. Just over two minutes later they were 2-0 down, Grant Bartlett adding to Raiders' woes.
But Raiders rallied brilliantly, and launched their comeback just 12 seconds into the second period, when Alex Barker netted, with assists from Simon Hobbis and Cornish.
Less than two minutes later, Raiders levelled, Nathan Taylor scoring from Barker and Damon Larter.
And with moments to go, they took the lead for the first time in the match, when Barker grabbed his second.
Chelmsford were not about to lay down though, and unsurprisingly they were quickly back in the game, levelling just over a minute later courtesy of import Daniel Volrab.
The game winner came just 48 seconds into the final session, Michael Ranby scoring while on the powerplay — Corey Watkins sitting out a slashing call incurred just before the break.
Despite almost having 20 minutes to find an equaliser, Chelmsford held onto their slender lead.
Wightlink Raiders 7, London Raiders 6
Raiders just about edged past rivals London Raiders at Ryde Arena on Saturday night.
In a topsy-turvy game, the result was not certain throughout as the former Romford outfit pushed the Islanders all the way.
The hosts got off the mark first when Nathan Taylor scored in the sixth minute, but a quick-fire double from Frankie Harvey and Jakub Klima put London ahead.
It wasn’t until just before the break that the Raiders got back on level terms, the returning Corey Watkins netting from Richard Facey’s assist.
London edged ahead just a minute after the restart, but once again Raiders rallied and player-coach Jeremy Cornish levelled, before Steven Osman scored to regain the lead for the hosts.
London came back again though, with Klima bagging his second of the game less than three minutes after Osman’s score. It took the Raiders a full eight minutes to respond, Kieran Annis scoring just before the second-period break for what would prove to be a vital goal.
The final period started with London making it 5-5, with around 11 minutes of the game left. But this time Raiders were not about to let their advantage slip and a short-handed goal by Alex Barker, and a goal for defenceman Dan Pye, put space between the two sides for the first time in the match.
London had five minutes to come back, and although they were able to reduce the deficit to one, Raiders held on to take two more vital NIHL Division 1 South points.
This weekend, Raiders have a double header against the London Raiders again, visiting London tomorrow (Saturday) in the league, before entertaining them at Ryde Arena on Sunday, from 5.30pm, for a cup game.