Dan Pye was ejected for roughing, weakening the Raiders’ defence.
Wightlink Raiders 7, Cardiff ENL Devils 6
WIGHTLINK Raiders made hard work of defeating a young and spirited Cardiff side at Ryde Arena on Saturday night.
The Island side never really found a rhythm and had to come from 3-1 down early in the second period to take the points.
They opened the scoring in a very scrappy first period through Kieran Annis, the youngster netting after Osman broke away while the Raiders were sitting out a hooking penalty.
The second period saw Devils equalise almost immediately after the restart, and then things went from bad to worse when Raiders defenceman Dan Pye was ejected for roughing, after a scrap with Joe Morris. The five-minute penalty for Cardiff bore fruit twice, with Steven Balmer and Giacorno Raffaeli netting to give the Welsh side a 3-1 lead.
But Raiders fought back well in a much more positive spell and pulled back level with goals from Nathan Taylor and Osman, within the space of 30 seconds.
Cardiff then pulled ahead again, Ben Brown making the best of Raiders’ goalkeeper Matt Colclough’s dip in form.
The final period was much more exciting and positive for home fans as the Raiders seemed to find another gear. They equalised through Corey Watkins, before Richard Facey gave them the lead again — and this time they would not relinquish it.
The two sides traded goals, Raiders nudging ahead and Cardiff pulling back, but the visitors were unable to find the leveller and Raiders held on. Alex Barker scored Raiders’ sixth goal, a belter on the powerplay, with Jeremy Cornish scrambling in their seventh.
Defenceman Yousif Abu Saada was man of the match with another excellent display of shot-blocking.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Raiders host Solent and Gosport Devils at Ryde Arena, face off 6pm, before travelling to Streatham Redskins on Sunday.