National League: London Raiders 3 Invicta 1
PUBLISHED: 19:59 16 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:59 16 December 2017
London Raiders made it four National League wins in a row with success against Invicta at Lee Valley on Saturday.
Jake Sylvester, Brandon Ayliffe and Marek Nahlik were all on target as Raiders beat Dynamos for the fifth successive time in all competitions this season, with the two sides set to meet in the cup in Gillingham on Sunday.
Raiders were without leading scorer Juraj Huska, Olegs Lascenko and Callum Wells, while Invicta arrived in east London with 13 skaters and their two goalies.
And the visitors created the first chance, as Louis Colvin forced Michael Gray into an early save.
Raiders were unable to take advantage of a power play when Steve Osman was called for hooking and Callum Fowler’s shot from the right was almost forced in by Mason Webster.
Ollie Baldock then went close for the hosts, who were given another power play chance as Brandon Webster picked up a roughing minor.
But Dynamos killed off the penalty, then saw Jaroslav Cesky force Gray into another save with a shot from the right.
Invicta got into more penalty trouble late in the opening period when former Raiders defenceman Ross Connolly was given a match penalty for high sticks after catching Ayliffe, but Matt Turner picked up a holding minor to leave the teams at 4-on-4.
And the visitors broke the deadlock with 49 seconds left in the period as Cesky found Ashley Jackson to smash the puck past Gray.
Turner was thwarted by Damien King early in the second period, before the Connolly penalty – which was downgraded from a match to a game – came to an end.
But Raiders were back on terms when Sylvester pounced on a rebound, after his own shot was saved, to find the back of the net.
Julian Smith was binned for hooking to hand Invicta their first power play of the night, but Raiders survived the shorthanded spell.
Colvin was unable to make a clean contact with Fowler’s pass across goal, while Gray kept out Jackson’s effort and also denied Fowler just before the end of the session.
King blocked Nahlik’s attempted wraparound effort as the third period got underway, but Raiders took the lead within three minutes of the restart through Ayliffe, assisted by Andy Munroe, and Dynamos called a timeout soon after.
Jackson fired wide from Colvin’s excellent set-up, before Mason Webster was also off-target for the visitors and Gray turned aside another effort from Jackson.
Ondrej Zosiak and Fowler were then denied by Gray, while JJ Pitchley was thwarted by King as the match entered the last four minutes.
And after Dynamos pulled King for an extra skater in the closing seconds, Nahlik fired into the empty net with one tick left on the clock to end a good night for Raiders.