ICE HOCKEY: It was a disappointing end to the South East Trophy campaign for the Chelmsford Chieftains as they went down by two goals over the two legs against a disciplined and hard-working Wightlink side.
Saturday had seen the team go down by a scoreline of 5-3 on the Isle of Wight.
Man of the match Tibor Schneider netted twice while Danny Hammond scored once, but mistakes in defence cost the club the lead and they struggled to turn it around and let the Raiders overtake them late in the game and run up a two-goal lead.
On Sunday, it looked like it might be a different outcome as the Chieftains looked to contain the Raiders early on and hit them later in the game.
Most fans had expected some early action around the nets, but neither side came out all guns blazing and it was a struggle to break down either Ben Clements in the home goal or Matt Colclough at the other end of the ice, but a goal from Corey Watkins against the run of play put the Raiders one up on the night and three up on aggregate before the end of the first period.
It was the same scoreline after another 20 minutes of play as neither side seemed to be breaking the other down to any degree, but the game was coming to life more and more and the final period was looking to be a tense affair.
Just over five minutes into the final session, Julius Sinkovic netted to bring the home side back within two goals with 14 minutes to play and it was all to play for.
The first real flashpoint took place in front of Colclough’s net when some ‘afters’ after a save resulted in Darren Brown getting 2+2 for roughing while Jiri Hanzal of the Raiders sat for just two minutes.
Damon Larter then broke the home side’s hearts on 53:46 with another goal against the run of play to make it 2-1 on the night and 7-4 on aggregate.
Then things really heated up and the gloves were doffed as Sinkovic and Pye tussled with Pye taking a 2+2 roughing penalty while Sinkovic took a two minute penalty.
While this was going on Craig Tribe decided he’d take on Chieftains defenceman Alex Green who quite comfortably despatched him to the ice while having various bits of kit being removed by Green while very few, if any, punches were thrown.
Player-coach Gary Clarke obviously questioned the penalties awarded as Green was given a 2+2+10+10 penalty which meant he had to leave the game for two misconducts and was shortly followed by Clarke who decided to spend his ten-minute penalty in the dressing room rather than the penalty box as the game was almost over and he would not be returning to the ice.
James Ayling gave the Chieftains hope with a game-tying goal, but it wouldn’t be enough to kickstart a late charge and the game ended 2-2 without further incident.
Brown and Colclough took home the man of the match awards.
Next week the Raiders are back in Essex, but this time in league action and the Chelmsford side will no doubt be looking for revenge as the league campaign now takes centre stage and priority for the club as the run-in to the end of the season begins in earnest.