London Raiders lose at champions Chelmsford
PUBLISHED: 07:26 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 07:26 13 February 2017
Chelmsford Chieftains 5 London Raiders 3
London Raiders came away empty-handed from newly-crowned National League champions Chelmsford after a hard-fought derby battle at the Riverside Ice Arena last night.
Frustrated to concede a late equaliser in a 4-4 draw at bottom club Bracknell a night earlier, Raiders welcomed Alan Lack back into their line-up but took to the ice without leading scorer Marek Nahlik.
And the visitors were soon chasing the game as former Raiders import Juraj Huska netted twice in less than three minutes to put his side on top at the 10-minute mark.
Slavomir Buda replied for Raiders, assisted by Thomas Beesley and Andy Munroe, and a tripping call against Grant Bartlett gave JJ Pitchley a chance to level things up on the powerplay.
Raiders began the second period with a man advantage after Carl Graham was given a 2+10 penalty for a check to the head on the buzzer.
But they could not capitalise and lost Buda to a roughing call, with Cameron Bartlett restoring Chelmsford’s lead just as the Slovakian’s penalty came to an end.
Darren Brown doubled the advantage before the midway mark, but Raiders managed to kill off penalties against Callum Burnett (clipping) and Beesley (tripping) before the end of the period.
Chieftains lost their cool with just under 10 minutes to play, with import defenceman Lukas Zatopek and Sean Barry earning 10-minute misconduct penalties from referee Stephen Matthews.
Anthony Leone (hooking) and goalie Sonny Phillips (delay of game) were also given minor penalties and Raiders closed the gap to one on the powerplay as Pitchley potted his second goal of the night.
A tripping call against Burnett left Raiders on the penalty kill as they pushed for an equaliser and although they survived that shorthanded spell they could not prevent Bartlett from bagging his second goal of the night with 81 seconds left on the clock to clinch the points for the hosts.
The two sides meet again in Lee Valley next Saturday, before their two-legged cup semi-final tie on the weekend of February 25-26.
Scorers, Chelmsford: Cameron Bartlett 2 Juraj Husja* 2 Darren Brown 1 Grant Bartlett 0+2 Oliver Baldock 0+2 Alex Staples 0+1 Anthony Leone 0+1 Lukas Zatopek* 0+1 Matt Turner 0+1 Jake Sylvester 0+1.
Raiders: JJ Pitchley 2 Slavomir Buda* 1 Andy Munroe 0+1 Thomas Beesley 0+1 Tom Davis 0+1 Julian Smith 0+1.
Penalty minutes: Chelmsford 44 Raiders 10.
Shots faced: Sonny Phillips (C) 10-10-11=31-3 Euan King (L) 13-17-17=47-5.
Referee: Stephen Matthews.