Raiders blitz the Hornets

London Raiders opened their account for the season with victory over Bracknell thanks to a lightning start in Lee Valley.

A 9-3 loss on the Isle of Wight on Saturday had extended the team’s winless run to four matches over the first three weekends of the season, but only 23 seconds had been played when Marek Nahlik opened the scoring on assists from Tom Davis and John Connolly.

And the 33-year-old Slovakian forward doubled the home side’s advantage three minutes later when netting from James Pentecost’s pass.

Raiders went 3-0 up in the sixth minute when Kamil Kinkor tapped in Jack Cooper’s shot, with Sam Roberts also picking up an assist as the shellshocked visitors called a timeout.

And Liam Underdown was called for tripping soon after play restarted, then Nahlik clashed with Brandon Miles, with both players given a total of six minutes in penalties.

Bracknell hit back with a goal on a delayed penalty call from Martyn Gray in the 17th minute and Raiders defenceman Julian Smith was given a hooking penalty soon after, but the home side survived the shorthanded spell and went into the first break with a two-goal cushion.

Raiders got a powerplay chance when Tom Fisher was binned for hooking in the 27th minute and they thought they had scored a fourth, but the goal was washed out as the net had come off its moorings.

The scoreline remained unchanged at the end of 40 minutes as a result, but Raiders were forced to finish the game without leading scorer Nahlik who was forced to go to hospital with a shoulder injury.

Fisher went back to the box early in the closing period on a tripping call and Raiders made the extra man count just 26 seconds later as JJ Pitchley, helped off the ice the night before after a second-period melee, found the net against his former club, assisted by Ross Connolly.

But the home side then had another effort ruled out and Bracknell pulled a second goal back when Miles finished off from Stewart Tait’s pass with nine minutes remaining.

Kinkor was then called for tripping with five minutes to go, before Davis was binned for hooking with just over two minutes left on the clock.

But Raiders survived those shorthanded spells to claim their first two-point haul of the campaign, with Sam Roberts taking their man of the match beers.

Report courtesy of the Romford Recorder

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