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London Raiders denied by Streatham rally

PUBLISHED: 20:38 29 October 2016 | UPDATED: 21:38 29 October 2016

London Raiders goalie Michael Gray smothers the puck (pic John Scott)

London Raiders goalie Michael Gray smothers the puck (pic John Scott)

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London Raiders 4 Streatham 4

London Raiders fans celebrate (pic John Scott)London Raiders fans celebrate (pic John Scott)

London Raiders had to settle for a point from their latest National League cup outing against Streatham after letting a two-goal lead slip in the final period in Lee Valley.

Raiders were without new signing Euan King and defenceman Ross Connolly, but welcomed goalie Michael Gray back from his suspension.

Streatham, meanwhile, were much-changed following a host of signings from Isle of Wight, as Chris Cooke, Nick Compton, George Norcliffe, Danny Rose and Ryan Webb all lined up for their new club for the first time.

The visitors had the first chance of note, as Steve Fisher forced Gray into action, while JJ Pitchley fired wide at the other end.

Streatham import Sean Scarborough thought he had opened the scoring with a wraparound effort, but the net had left its moorings, and Raiders were handed a powerplay when Ryan Giles was called for interference.

The hosts could not make their extra man count and then fell behind as former Raider Michal Oravec struck for Streatham, converting a rebound.

Julian Smith forced Will Sanderson into a save with a shot from the blue line, but Raiders lost Marek Nahlik to a holding penalty late in the opening period.

Streatham were unable to capitalise either side of the break and Sanderson was grateful to see his defence clear a loose puck after Tom Davis let fly.

Raiders were back on terms soon after, though, as Jacob Ranson scrambled the puck past Sanderson and James Pentecost went close on a powerplay.

Streatham regained the lead while shorthanded as Rose streaked clear and outwitted Gray and were then handed a powerplay chance as Pitchley was called for slashing.

But the home side levelled with a shorthanded goal of their own as Nahlik stole the puck and centred for Davis to fire home a first-time shot.

And after Scarborough joined Pitchley on the sidelines to leave the teams skating 4-on-4, the visitors lost James Warman to a holding penalty and Raiders took the lead with a powerplay goal from Nahlik.

It was soon 4-2 as Pitchley broke away to beat Sanderson with a neat finish, forcing new Streatham head coach Jeremy Cornish to call a timeout to settle his side down.

And Norcliffe tested Gray after the restart, before the Raiders goalie thwarted Streatham during a scramble on the edge of his crease.

Webb went close to a third goal for the visitors just before the end of the middle session, as his attempted tip-in went wide.

But a penalty against Slavomir Buda early in nthe final session gave Streatham the chance to cut the gap to one on the powerplay as Fisher’s shot was saved by Gray and Callum Best converted the rebound.

Jack Tarczyski and Warman were both hit with delay of game minor penalties in quick succession, with Pentecost just unable to tip in Nahlik’s shot from the blue line, before Buda and Oravec tussled on the boards.

And it was all square again with less than 10 minutes to play as Compton’s inch-perfect pass sent Scarborough through the middle of the ice to deke Gray and score.

Play continued to swing from end to end, at a furious pace, and Raiders lost Nahlik to a minor penalty with six minutes remaining, but Raiders survived the shorthanded spell and almost regained the lead when Nahlik returned, only to be denied by Warman’s timely poke-check.

Buda showed quick hands to release a shot on the turn, but Sanderson was equal to the task as the puck looked to be heading for the top corner of the net, and neither side could find a late winner as honours finished even.

Best was named man of the match for Streatham, while Gray was the pick for Raiders, who return to league action with a trip to MK Thunder on Sunday evening.

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