Beaten Raiders clinging on

London Raiders were left clinging on to the eighth and last play-off place after losing to their namesakes at Lee Valley on Sunday night.

Rivals Oxford pulled to within a point after a 4-4 draw at Bracknell on Saturday, but Raiders have a game in hand as the regular season draws to a conclusion.

Raiders had skated to a 6-3 win over the Isle of Wight on their trip to Ryde last month, but fell behind within 42 seconds of the return and were always chasing the game.

Import Jaroslav Cesky had missed the previous meeting, but made his mark almost immediately as he raced clear to give the visitors the upper hand.

The home side, who were without their own import forward Jakub Kostelansky, killed off penalties against Stephen Deacon and Alan Lack, before Ross Wilkinson tangled with Ben Paynter late in the opening period.

Wight could not capitalise on their powerplay, but doubled their lead seconds after Wilkinson’s cross-checking penalty had expired as Ryan Webb netted.

Raiders, outshot 15-8 in the first session, hit back after the restart through Deacon, but then lost Wilkinson after he clashed with Carl Graham and picked up a 10-minute misconduct on top of his double minor for roughing.

Richard Facey restored Wight’s two-goal cushion before the second interval and a hooking call against David Oliver allowed them to go 4-1 up on the powerplay early in the final stanza as Alex Barker beat Chris Douglas.

Barker completed the scoring with just over five minutes left to leave Raiders facing a crunch clash with Solent next weekend.

Oxford travel to bottom club Cardiff in their penultimate match of the season, before visiting champions Chelmsford.

Raiders have a trip to Milton Keynes on Sunday (March 22), before completing their schedule with a home match against Cardiff six days later.

Scorers, London: Deacon 1 Lack 0+1.

Wight: Barker 2+1 Cesky* 1+2 Webb 1+1 Facey 1 Cornish* 0+1 Tribe 0+1 Graham 0+1 Cooke 0+1.

Penalty minutes: London 28 Wight 16.

Shots on goal: Chris Douglas (London) 34 Matt Colclough (Wight) 24.

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