Raiders pass Oxford exam
Improving London Raiders made it back-to-back wins as they dimmed the Stars at Lee Valley.
Oxford had won the earlier meeting between the two sides this season by the odd goal in 15, but Raiders gained some revenge to follow up last weekendâ€™s success at Solent.
But they needed a third-period hat-trick from import forward Marek Nahlik to pull clear of their rivals before banking the points.
But Raiders led 2-1 at the first break after Ben Ealey-Newmanâ€™s opening powerplay goal from close range was cancelled out by Michal Oravec soon after and Liam Chong struck with just one second left on the clock.
Raiders added their third goal early in the middle session through in-form Oravec and should have extended the advantage as they applied more pressure.
But after Raiders saw captain Tom Davis handed a double minor after a clash with Josh Florey and Chong pick up a 2+10 penalty for checking from behind, the visitors cut the gap to one through Darren Elliott.
Gray preserved his sideâ€™s lead with some key saves before the second interval, while Alan Green put a gilt-edged chance wide for Oxford.
And Gray came up with a vital glove save to thwart Ondrej Pekarik at the start of the final stanza, before Davis played a defence-splitting pass for Nahlik to skate in on Shannon Long and make it 4-2.
A delay of game minor penalty against Joe Edwards then gave Raiders a powerplay chance which they capitalised upon within seconds as Davis fired home a fifth goal.
And after Long was replaced between the pipes by Connor Ranby, the home side made it 6-2 as Chong set up Nahlik for his second of the night.
Oravec clashed with Josh Florey, with both players earning four minutes in penalties, and Andrew Cox replied for Oxford.
Then Ealey-Newmanâ€™s second goal of the night pulled Stars to within two goals with two minutes remaining and they withdrew Randby for an extra skater in their late search for more goals.
But the move backfired as Nahlik fired into the empty net to complete his hat-trick and seal the points for Raiders.
Report courtesy of the Romford Recorder