National League: London Raiders 6 Bracknell Bees 3
PUBLISHED: 20:06 20 January 2018 | UPDATED: 20:06 20 January 2018
Raiders moved into the top four of the National League with a fine win over long-time rivals Bracknell at Lee Valley on Saturday.
Slovakian import Juraj Huska hit a hat-trick, as Brandon Ayliffe bagged a brace and Jake Sylvester also netted to sting the former English Premier League Bees.
Raiders had Alan Lack back in their line-up, just weeks after suffering horrific facial injuries against Invicta, and made a bright start following their heavy cup losses to Swindon a week earlier as they forced early saves from visiting goalie Alex Mettam.
They took the lead in the ninth minute of their penultimate match at Lee Valley through Sylvester, who netted his 12th goal of the campaign, before killing off a high sticking penalty against Tom Davis to end the first period in front.
And Raiders doubled their advantage early in the middle session, after Josh Martin was binned for hooking and Ayliffe struck just 24 seconds into the power play.
Jack Cooper was called for slashing soon after, with Alex Barker halving the deficit on their power play, but Huska restored the two-goal cushion in the 28th minute.
Martin cut the gap to one again just past the midway mark and Raiders lost John Connolly and Alan Lack to minor penalties late in the period, giving Bees 90 seconds with a two-man advantage.
But the home side survived the shorthanded spell and went 4-2 up soon after returning to full strength as Juraj Huska claimed his second goal of the night.
Bracknell replied once more through Shaun Thompson in the 45th minute, though, and Raiders coach Sean Easton called a timeout soon after.
The hosts saw Callum Wells binned moments later, however, which handed Bees a chance to draw level on the power play, but it was killed off and Raiders then moved 5-3 up as Ayliffe netted for the second time from JJ Pitchley’s superb pass.
Huska was binned with just under seven minutes to play, but Bees could not capitalise and called a timeout with 68 seconds left on the clock.
But the move backfired as Mettam headed to the bench to allow Bees to send on an extra skater and Huska fired into the empty net with 10 seconds left to complete his hat-trick and move to 232 career goals for Raiders in a memorable win ahead of Sunday’s trip to Streatham.