Everyone Active Raiders crashed to a 4-2 defeat as they kick started 2022 against the reigning league champions Telford Tigers.
Head coach Sean Easton welcomed back a number of players from Covid isolation and injuries to bolster his roster almost back to full strength while the Tigers were without key players due to covid, injury and suspension including coach Tom Watkins.
After a scrappy start to the game Jason Silverthorn broke into the Raiders’ defensive zone and dished the puck to Scott McKenzie who hit a fierce shot that struck Ethan James in the Raiders’ goal and dropped behind him into the net.
Vladimir Luka retained possession of the puck, skated behind the Raiders’ goal and shot at James, forcing a rebound.
Jack Hopkins was on hand to tap into the unguarded net and doubled the Tigers’ lead mid-way through the second period.
Tigers’ Jake Price was called for a roughing penalty early in the third period and Raiders took full advantage of the extra attacker and scored after just four seconds of the power play.
Sean Barry sent a shot from the Tigers’ blue line which was tipped by Ollie Baldock and hit Brad Day on the shoulder and bounced behind him into the net.
Tigers hit back with a third goal to seemingly put the game out of reach when Sam Watkins created a chance for Austin Mitchell-King who scored at the second attempt after James saved his first attempt at goal.
Raiders had another power-play chance after Hopkins was called for high sticking.
Once again, the visitors power-play unit scored, Aaron Connolly, scrambling the puck home after Dan Scott’s initial shot was saved.
With time running out, a controversial call was made by the officials with Raiders’ bench calling for icing by Tigers.
The call was not made and the game continued and Tigers won possession of the puck, Luka found Hopkins breaking in on goal and the young Tigers’ forward hit a stunning shot into the top left-hand corner of the goal to seal victory for Telford.