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Unbeaten run goes on for Chieftains
12:09pm Friday 18th October 2013 in Local Sport
CHELMSFORD Chieftains travelled to the Isle of Wight without four key players and it looked like it would have been an uphill struggle and at times it showed.
A trip across the Solent to face the Raiders is always a daunting task for any team. But when you are missing players like Brittle, Brown, Turner and Ranby the job is going to even tougher.
When the Raiders go 2-0 up within the first quarter of the game, players and fans alike must have thought the worst.
But the Chieftains didn’t let their heads drop and with just 1:48 on the clock after the first period break, Daniel Volrab struck to close the gap.
Just before the half-way mark at 29:14 Alex Barker of the Raiders scored his second of the night on restore a two goal advantage to the home team.
But the Chieftains made use of their powerplays and James Ayling scored two goals within a minute at 37:20 and 38:17 to even up the scores as they went into the final period.
The pressure was now on the home team and Chieftains scored once again within two minutes of the restart, just as they had done in the previous period.
This time it was Ross Brears on target and Chieftains were ahead for the first time in the game.
The Chieftains soaked up the pressure and the game was end to end. When Damon Larter was placed in the sin-bin at 58:15, giving Chieftains a powerplay, they must have thought the points were theirs.
But the small Ryde ice pad is always an unforgiving place and the home fans erupted when Barker scored his hat-trick goal, a short-handed at 58:30 meant a point each.
The game ended 4-4, a score which coach Gary Clarke would have taken before face-off. But after out shooting the Raiders 68-28 whether he is entirely satisfied with one point is doubtful. On Sunday the re-branded London Raiders came to town for the first time and it was the usual feisty affair.
Frankie Harvey put the visitors a goal up early on but there was little way back into the game for the Chieftains as the Raiders defence worked hard and netminder Euan King played a strong game to deny the Chelmsford forwards.
Just over the halfway mark in the game a controversial moment happened when a scramble for the puck along the boards ended with London’s JJ Pitchley going down after apparently being speared by player-coach Gary Clarke who subsequently picked up a match penalty from referee Matt Thompson.
Tempers began to rise in the final session and emotions were running high, even more so after Shaun Yardley netted for the visitors at 54:22, giving real hope to the travelling fans of a rare shutout of the Chieftains at the Riverside.
Ninety seconds later Grant Bartlett switched the momentum of the match back into the Chieftains favour by scoring on King.
As if the tempo couldn’t get any higher, with less than a minute on the clock the in-form Ross Brears fired home to tie the game up at 2-2.
That wasn’t the end of the action though as a brawl marred the end of the game with a number of players from both teams getting involved and dropping the gloves and Thompson had a hard job distributing the penalties.
This means Saturday’s trip to Berkshire will have the Chieftains potentially missing up to nine players, so will be calling upon the Warriors and the juniors to add to the bench.
Volrab, Brears, Connolly, Bartlett and Clarke are all suspended while Michael Ranby is out injured and potentially Luke Brittle, Darren Brown and Matt Turner also unavailable next weekend, it could be a tough weekend.
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