London Raiders downed by shooting Stars
PUBLISHED: 20:53 23 October 2016 | UPDATED: 20:53 23 October 2016
Oxford City Stars 9 London Raiders 3
London Raiders saw their hopes of a fourth successive win shattered by Oxford City Stars as they suffered a heavy National League defeat.
Following their 10-5 cup win over shortstaffed Invicta on Saturday, Raiders travelled to the university city without Ross Connolly and Oxford old boy James Pentecost, as well as goalie Michael Gray, who was serving the final match of his three-game suspension.
They had Peterborough’s Dan Lane guesting between the posts once again, after backstopping the side to a 6-5 win over Chelmsford last weekend and forced Oxford’s Tom Annetts into early action, before Ondrej Pekarik was called for a cross-checking minor to give Raiders a powerplay chance.
The visitors could not make their extra man count, though, and worse was to come as Pekarik returned to the action and put Oxford ahead soon after.
The hosts quickly doubled their advantage through Josh Oliver, but Raiders replied through leading scorer Marek Nahlik in a frantic start to proceedings.
Then Pekarik returned to the penalty box on a hooking call, as Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper was given a cross-checking minor to leave the sides skating four-on-four.
Alan Green put Oxford 3-1 up during that time, but Pekarik was then given his third penalty of the period, before JJ Pitchley was called for delay of game, and after both of those penalties expired, there was a tripping call against Oxford’s Hallam Wilson, with 2:39 left in the period.
The hosts were awarded a penalty shot when Darren Elliott was taken down, but he could not convert and Raiders also failed to make their powerplay count as a busy first period eventually ended with Oxford 3-1 up.
The middle session was only 24 seconds old when John Connolly was called for slashing and Pekarik picked up a cross-checking minor, then Bailey Chittock was binned for tripping to give Oxford a powerplay chance.
Raiders captain Tom Davis was called for interference, shortly before Chittock’s return to the ice, to ensure Oxford remained on the powerplay, but the visitors survived the shorthanded spells to remain in the hunt.
Their cause was not helped by a 5+game penalty for hooking against Matt France, though, and Oxford took a timeout to discuss their tactics during the major powerplay.
But the visitors dug deep to survive once again, only to then concede a fourth goal once back to full strength as Josh Florey set up Oliver for his second of the night.
An interference penalty against Julian Smith was killed off late in the period, but Oxford went 5-1 up when Pekarik and Green combined to set up Wilson at 36:38.
The home side then lost Mike Whillock (slashing) and Green (high sticks) in quick succession, while Smith was called for tripping, and Annetts produced some fine saves to deny Raiders any way back into the match, before Florey netted Oxford’s sixth goal of the night, assisted by Green and Pekarik, just two seconds before the second break.
Raiders were back on the penalty kill in the final session as Nahlik was called for tripping, with Pitchley given a slashing minor soon after to give the Stars a spell of five-on-three.
And Dom Hopkins fired home Oxford’s seventh goal on the resulting powerplay, assisted by Elliott, to pile more pain on Raiders.
Nahlik replied with a shorthanded second, assisted by Connolly, moments later but it was soon 8-2 as Wilson potted his second goal of the evening. then Whillock netted a ninth for the home side.
The scoreboard kept ticking over, as Pitchley and Jacob Ranson combined to set up Slavomir Buda for a third Raiders’ goal, before the visitors called a timeout.
And the visitors went on the powerplay soon after when Joe Edwards was called for high sticks, before Hopkins picked up a cross-checking minor with just under seven minutes remaining.
Raiders could not convert and lost Ranson to a slashing penalty, as well as Cooper for tripping and Smith on a 10-minute misconduct call.
But they avoided any further punishment in the final minutes, although that was little consolation as they headed home well beaten.