Impressive Raiders send a mesage
London Raiders sent a warning to the rest of the National League with a superb win on the Isle of Wight at the weekend.
The home side had skated to a 4-0 victory over leaders Chelmsford a week earlier, but two goals apiece from Alan Lack and Jacob Ranson led London to the points, as Chris Douglas made 51 saves in the visitorsâ€™ net.
The visitors arrived in Ryde without captain Tom Davis, defencemen Stevie Dunnage and Matt France and forwards Grant Taylor and Ross Wilkinson, who was completing a seven-match suspension.
And Wightlink player-coach Jeremy Cornish put the hosts ahead in the fifth minute, only for Lack to level just 23 seconds later.
Wightlink regained the lead moments later, as Aaron Edwards beat Douglas, but Richard Facey was then banished for hooking and it was all square once again when Ranson struck on Londonâ€™s powerplay.
A slashing penalty against Edwards gave the visitors another man advantage and they made it count through Lack.
And it was 4-2 with barely 14 minutes played when Vaclav Drabek found a way past Matt Colclough in the home net.
After such a goal-filled opening, it was almost half an hour until the scoreline changed.
The middle period remained scoreless, as Colclough and Douglas held firm at each end of the rink, but the gloves came off as Lack and Cornish scuffled.
Wightlink lost Niall Bound to a 2+10 penalty for checking from behind just before the break and London moved 5-2 up in his absence, early in the final frame, as Stephen Deacon got on the scoresheet.
Jack Cooper and Nick Compton traded blows to earn roughing double minors, with the London defenceman picking up an addition 2+10 for checking from behind.
But the visitors – outshot 22-9 in the last period – went 6-2 up when Ranson netted his second of the night, and 12th of the season, with an assist from Bailey Wootton.
A late holding call against Deacon allowed Wightlink to net their third goal on the powerplay through Damon Larter, but there were only 42 seconds left on the clock by that stage after Douglas had performed heroics.
Two-goal Ranson said:
â€œIt was a massive win and will show teams in the league that we mean business now.
â€œEveryone who played came ready to play for the name on the front of the shirt and the fans in the stand.
â€œEveryone played their hearts out and our new-look side is really clicking now.â€
Solentâ€™s win in Milton Keynes enabled them to remain five points clear of Raiders in seventh place, but they lost to ninth-placed Oxford last night.
Raiders are due to host Solent at Lee Valley next month, but now have a free weekend before visiting Invicta on March 8.
Scorers, IOW Raiders: Damon Larter 1 Aaron Edwards 1 Jeremy Cornish* 1 Ben Paynter 0+1 Richard Facey 0+1 Ryan Webb 0+1 Craig Tribe 0+1 Robert Streetly 0+1.
Raiders: Alan Lack 2 Jacob Ranson 2 Stephen Deacon 1+1 Vaclav Drabek* 1+1 Bailey Wootton 0+2 Jack Cooper 0+1 Jakub Kostelansky* 0+1 David Oliver 0+1.
Total penalty minutes: Wight 32 Raiders 32.
Shots faced: Matt Colclough (W) 13-12-9=34-6 Chris Douglas (L) 21-11-22=54-3.