ICE HOCKEYWightlink Raiders 5, Chelmsford Chieftains 4
WIGHTLINK Raiders’ playoff preparations continued on Saturday with a good win over English National League Division 1 title contenders Chelmsford on Saturday.
Though this ENL Cup match was essentially pointless, with Raiders’ hopes in the competition over ages ago, the side put together another good performance, which will see them go into next month’s post-season with confidence.
Chelmsford have never been pushovers and proved it once again, coming from 3-1 down to lead 4-3 by the end of the second period. However, Raiders pulled it out the bag to take victory.
The game started perfectly for Raiders when captain Damon Larter netted in the first three minutes and although Chelmsford levelled ten minutes later through a short-handed goal, the hosts were back in front 60 seconds later through Richard Facey.
Conor Pollard’s goal two minutes from the break gave Raiders what they thought was a decent cushion.
But Chelmsford turned the tables in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals to take the lead.
A good crowd cheered on the Raiders as they battled for the win in the final session and were rewarded when Joe Rand, who has hit a bit of a drought of late, scored the equaliser at 49.08.
Three minutes later, Raiders regained the lead with a goal from Dominic Hopkins and although Chelmsford pulled their goalkeeper in an effort to secure a draw, the Raiders held on.
On the club’s official website, player-coach Jeremy Cornish thanked the fans for supporting the side and added: "It’s sometimes hard to get up for games like that, but I’m really proud of how the guys performed.
"We continued our fantastic run against top teams in our building and I want to make sure that form continues into the play-offs."
Raiders’ final scheduled league game at Romford Raiders, was called off late in the week, the club citing "licensing issues". The game has been rescheduled for April 1, the same day Raiders were due to return to Chelmsford for another cup game.
Tomorrow (Saturday) the Raiders take on the IW’s second ice hockey team, Wightlink Tigers, in a friendly. Face-off at Ryde Arena is at 6pm.