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Leaders hit London Raiders for six

PUBLISHED: 07:37 15 January 2017

Lukas Zatopek carries the puck for Chelmsford as Jake Sylvester keeps JJ Pitchley at bay (pic John Scott)

Lukas Zatopek carries the puck for Chelmsford as Jake Sylvester keeps JJ Pitchley at bay (pic John Scott)

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London Raiders 0 Chelmsford Chieftains 6

London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper collides with Juraj Huska along the boards (pic John Scott)London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper collides with Juraj Huska along the boards (pic John Scott)

London Raiders were brought back down to earth by National League leaders Chelmsford at Lee Valley last night.

Having opened 2017 with a win double over Solent, Raiders found their fierce rivals smarting from their previous weekend’s return of one point out of four against Invicta.

The home side had John Connolly back on their blue line, but were missing Andy Munroe and Jacob Ranson in front of a good-sized crowd.

Barely two minutes had been played when former junior team-mates JJ Pitchley and Grant Bartlett clashed and picked up minor penalties and Chieftains opened the scoring at 6.24 when another former Romford youngster, Jake Sylvester, netted the first of his hat-trick.

Former Raiders import Juraj Huska doubled the advantage less than two minutes later and Liam Chong set up Oliver Baldock to make it 3-0 in the 14th minute, forcing Raiders coach Alan Blyth to call a timeout.

A tripping penalty against Chieftains import Lukas Zatopek gave Raiders a powerplay chance towards the end of the opening period, but they could not capitalise and had goalie Euan King to thank for denying a Chelmsford breakaway chance.

The home side were then hit with a bench minor penalty for having too many men on the ice, but survived the shorthanded spell either side of the first break.

There was a lot of intensity in the middle period, which was cut five minutes short after linesman Phil O’Neill suffered an injury.

After a delay, the teams returned to finish the session and Sylvester scored his second goal of the night, assisted by Huska, to leave Raiders with a mountain to climb.

Another tripping penalty against Zatopek went unpunished, before Brandon Miles was binned for slashing and Chieftains had a goal ruled out during their man advantage.

The visitors went 5-0 up in the 49th minute, though, as man of the match Sylvester completed his treble and Huska had the final word with number six, after Pitchley and Danny Hammond had dropped the gloves for a mid-ice scrap.

Sam Roberts took the man of the match award for Raiders, who will hope for better when they travel to take on Bracknell Hornets tonight (Sunday).

Scorers, Raiders: None.

Chieftains: Jake Sylvester 3+2 Juraj Huska 1+3 Oliver Baldock 1+3 Cameron Bartlett 0+1 Callum Wells 0+1 Liam Chong 0+1.

Penalty minutes: Raiders 10 Chietains 10.

Shots faced: Euan King (L) 14-16-16=46-6 Sonny Phillips (C) 12-11-6=29-0.

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