Raiders get on the board with two wins

April 16, 2024

Romford were at last able to get some points on the board in their play-off finals qualification group with a pair of wins over Swindon Wildcats.

After a pair of tight losses to Telford last weekend and some controversy up in Telford the Raiders sat rooted top the bottom of the table with 0 points and MK barely any more fortunate with 1. Swindon and Telford both claimed bragging rights with a full 4 points after the first weekend.

At the end of weekend 2, things had swapped around a little.

Raiders took another tight game out of Swindon with 2 points for their troubles and a 2-3 victory. That victory was all the sweeter for a 5 + game penalty in the 55th minute to Zack Milton for spearing. Despite incredible pressure from Swindon Raiders managed to hold off their impressive firepower, even with the netminder “pulled” for 6 on 4 during the 5 minute power play.

An overnight appeal, launched with great cooperation from Swindon to supply the video footage (thanks guys) saw the penalty quashed and the Sunday game could move on with Zack Milton back in his rightful place. The internet was saved from an overload of complaints and criticisms by the Raiders when the incorrect 5 minute penalty was seen out without conceding.

Sundays game became a crucial one for the Raiders, reenergised by their first two points and a generally positive record vs Swindon in the recent meetings. By the time Raiders were 0-3 down it was looking like form was escaping at precisely the wrong time.

Step forward Thomas Relf who appreciates timing and scored his first gola of the season to break Raiders duck just after the halfway mark. With some momentum on their side Jake Sylvester halved the lead with a blistering shot from an impossible angle.

The third period had barely started and Coy Prevost fired one high and wide of the Swindon goal only to watch as Renny Marr through out a hand to bat the puck away and simply deflected it into the goal over his shoulder. 3-3 and game on!

An impossible steal by Coy Prevost as Swindon were about to launch an attack of their own saw him fire at Marr and the rebound fell for Jake Sylvester who took the crowd out of their seats as he slammed the puck past a scrambling netminder and defence. 14 minutes left to play was plenty of time for a team like Swindon to come back and come back they did with Edgars Bebris extending the game into overtime with a final 4-4 score line and a point secured by both teams.

Overtime was eventful but scoreless and the teams sat back and discussed the 5 penalty shot takers from both sides. Adam Laishram stylishly converted and it looked like Swindon were going to leave without scoring a penalty until ex Raiders junior Glen Billing took the penalty shot out to sudeen death.

Raiders choice of sudden death shooter was a simply one and Adam Laishram used a completely different MO but the same result. Wildcats chose Malisinski, surprisingly perhaps because he had missed his first attempt early in the penalty shoot out. To Raiders relief he failed to score on his second also and Raiders picked up the extra point for the win.

With Telford and Milton Keynes sharing wins over the weekend the play-off table looks like

Telford 6 points
Swindon 5 points
Raiders 4 points
Milton Keynes 3 points.

Most fans have already run through the dozens of permutations and if Raiders win against MK in both this weekends games it may be enough to secure their Coventry qualification two years in a row. But Swindon and Telford sharing points could see them both proceed regardless of the Raiders results versus MK

In theory, all 4 teams are still able to qualify. And that will make this a very exciting final weekend in our own rinks.

So get to the Sapphire this Sunday and see what could be the most frantically exciting game of hockey of the season!

Copyright Raiders Ice Hockey 2018