National League: Invicta Dynamos 2 London Raiders 5
PUBLISHED: 19:52 28 January 2018 | UPDATED: 07:59 31 January 2018
Raiders came from behind to defeat the Dynamos for their third win in four outings on Sunday.
Having played their final home game at Lee Valley the night before, falling to a 4-1 defeat against title-chasing Basingstoke, Raiders travelled to Gillingham without Callum Wells.
Michael Gray was called into action early on to save from Ondrej Zosiak, before Brandon Ayliffe tested Damien King and sent another effort wide.
Marek Nahlik sent another shot wide of the far post before Scott Bailey and Tom Davis were binned after clashing behind the play.
Julian Smith was then called for slashing Jaroslav Cesky and Tommy Ralph tested Gray with a hard-hit slapshot, but Raiders were awarded a penalty shot during Invicta’s power play, only to see Juraj Huska thwarted by King.
Gray kept out Steve Osman at close range while Jack Cooper served a tripping penalty but Invicta opened the scoring soon after when Bailey carried the puck into the zone and sent a backhand pass to Cesky, who swept his shot past Gray.
Raiders saw Huska’s low shot kept out by King on a power play opportunity, after Arran Strawson was called for holding, but Gray had to pull off a fine save to deny Louis Colvin from George Hoang’s cross.
Gray appeared in some pain shortly after but adjusted well to deny Ryan Morgan late in the first period, after Smith was binned for elbows.
Ralph fired straight at Gray after the restart, before the Raiders goalie clashed with Mason Webster and both were handed roughing minors.
And the visitors were back on level terms within four minutes as Nahlik’s centring pass from the left was fired past King by Davis.
Ollie Baldock was called for holding soon after, giving Invicta another man advantage, and Raiders were made to pay as Ralph fired a first-time shot psat Gray from the blue line.
Birthday boy JJ Pitchley, 24, then retaliated after being pinned against the boards by Invicta debutant Jake Stedman and, as he skated towards the penalty box, exchanged words with Webster, who dropped the gloves and ended up handing Raiders a power play chance.
They could not capitalise, but were given another chance when Ralph was binned for hooking soon after and Jake Sylvester struck on the power play, assisted by Baldock.
King kept out Nahlik’s volleyed effort from a Cooper pass moments later, but put Raiders ahead in the 35th minute, forcing the puck home from close range after King had kept out his first effort from the right.
Sylvester was denied on a breakaway by King, while Baldock saw a shot held by the home goalie during a spell of 5-on-3 after Hoang was binned for interference and Invicta were also given a bench minor.
Raiders went close to a fourth before the end of the session, though, as Huska found Andy Munroe on the left and the defenceman’s shot hit the far post.
And Alan Lack was denied by an excellent block by Ross Connolly early in the final period, with King wrong-footed, before Gray kept out Steve Osman at close range.
Gray thwarted Stedman from Osman’s clever pass, before Raiders went 4-2 up in the 45th minute as Lack’s shot from the left was deflected inside King’s near post and Matt Turner forced a glove save from King soon after with a low shot as Raiders continued to dominate territory.
The visitors wasted a 3-on-1 chance as Huska and Olegs Lascenko combined to tee up Lack, who sent his shot wide.
But the respite was brief for Invicta as Lack found Huska in the slot and he tucked his shot past King with just under seven minutes remaining.
Cesky and John Connolly dropped the gloves in the closing stages and picked up double minors for roughing, but it was only a footnote as Raiders skated off with the points.
The club will now focus their attention on their move to a new rink in Romford, where they will host bottom club Cardiff next Saturday.