Coach Easton is delighted to see Raiders earn shoot-out win over high-flyers Wildcats
PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 February 2018
London Raiders continued their unbeaten start to life at their new Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre home with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win against Swindon Wildcats on Wednesday.
They came back from 2-0 and 4-2 down to tie the game with just 3.22 left when Sean Barry fired a puck goalwards from the right face-off circle, looking for Juraj Huska at the far post, and saw it beat Remy Marr at his near post.
Marek Nahlik, Matt Turner and Juraj Huska had netted the earlier Raiders goals, but neither side could find a winner in the time remaining and so it went to 3-on-3 overtime.
Nahlik wired a hard blast wide for the hosts, while Steve Whitfield pushed a good chance off-target for Swindon.
John Connolly hit the mask of Marr when attempting to find the net from an acute angle, but Michael Gray had to produce a fine glove save to deny Floyd Taylor with less than 90 seconds left on the clock.
Ollie Baldock and Nahlik then sealed the two points for the gold and blue outfit as they held their nerve in the shoot-out, as Chris Jones hit a post and Max Birbraer was denied by Gray.
And Raiders coach Sean Easton was delighted to get another two points, although he admitted his side must stop starting matches so slowly as it could prove costly as they look to finish fourth in the National Ice Hockey League table.
“Definitely, we needed those points after dropping some last week,” the 31-year-old said.
“We started horribly, but we always find a way back into the game somehow.
“Our third periods are always good, it’s just how we start. We need to start quicker as it’s four games running now we’ve gone one or two goals behind.
“It’s important we can start getting some good starts so we can keep the tempo high throughout the game instead of having to claw it back in the third.”
Long-serving Raiders goalie Gray was named man of the match after a busy night of action in front of a big crowd saw him face 40 shots, and see Swindon hit the pipework twice, and Easton praised his display.
“We kept the shots simple for him, I don’t think we left him hung out to dry, but he did really well and made some good saves,” he added.
Easton’s men currently sit fourth in the table and are three points ahead of Bracknell Bees with just eight games remaining in the league schedule before the play-offs.