ICE HOCKEYWightlink Raiders 6, Chelmsford Chieftains 2
A BRILLIANT performance from the Wightlink Raiders sent a clear message to their rivals, as they defeated title hopefuls Chelmsford Chieftains on Saturday night.
Raiders, who are five points behind Chelmsford with three English National League Division 1 matches remaining, and seven points behind leaders Romford, are showing excellent form ahead of the post-season playoffs.
They outclassed Chelmsford throughout, and encouragingly for fans, showed real depth in attack, with eight different players scoring goals or assists.
The game took some time to settle, and after 12 minutes of action, Raiders finally made a breakthrough, with man of the match Alex Murray netting from Jeremy Cornish and Steve Gosset.
Three minutes later, they doubled their advantage, when the nippy Grant Rounding scored from Dominic Hopkins and Richard Facey.
Facey turned scorer with 90 seconds left on the period, his goal assisted by Rounding and Joe Rand.
In similar vein to the first period, it took some ten minutes for another goal to be scored in the second session. In-form Hopkins had the next Raiders’ goal, with Cornish and Gosset teaming up again to provide the assists.
Though Chelmsford pulled one back through former Raider Alan Green, Raiders answered early in the final session, as Murray bagged his second of the game. Veteran defender Steve Gannaway, and Hopkins, set up the effort.
Chelmsford scored their second of the game but this was cancelled out when, after incurring their first penalty of the game at 53.34, Raiders took advantage and scored, Facey scoring his second of the game, from Hopkins and Rand.
Once again Liam McAlister was solid in goal, turning away 38 shots.
Raiders have two very tough league games this weekend, starting with the visit of Cardiff ENL Devils tomorrow (Saturday), face off at Ryde Arena is at 6pm.
On Sunday, they travel to Invicta Dynamos, who last weekend recorded one of the league’s biggest victories in recent years, a 24-2 demolition of Slough ENL Jets.