Monday 24 July 2017

Puckstop Summer Classic: Raiders Sink Buccaneers With Dramatic Late Win

Owen Tennant (#27) was the Raiders' top scorer in the game with 3+2.
(Photo by David Law Photography)
Sunday 23rd July 2017 – Puckstop Summer Classic
Riverside Raiders (Widnes) 8 – Blackburn Buccaneers 6
Period Scores: 1-2, 1-3, 6-1
Penalties in Minutes:  Raiders 51 - Blackburn 14

Raiders Scoring: Owen Tennant 3+2, Gez Lewis 2+1, Jack Walker 1+2, Anthony Hughes & Adam Jenkins both 1+0, Sam Plant 0+3, Ben Donkin, Ratislav Geroc & Jordan Birtwistle all 0+1

 Buccaneers Scoring: Michael Walsh 3+1, Karl Milton, Dan Watson, Adam Duxbury all 1+0, Michael McLoughlin, Matthew Dixon, Patrick Thompson, Chris Beesley & Jade Conway all 0+1

MVPs:  Raiders – Howard Hughes / Buccaneers - Michael Walsh

Referee:  Chris Wells,  Linesmen: Josh Humphreys & Simon Anders

The Widnes-based Riverside Raiders rounded off their Puckstop Summer Classic group matches in the most sensational fashion with highly dramatic 8-6 win over the Blackburn Buccaneers at Silver Blades Widnes on Sunday.

Trailing 2-5 after 40 minutes, they hit an incredible 6 goals in the final period to snatch the win and finish level on points at the top of the league table.

The game started badly for the Raiders – who had beaten the Buccaneers 1-10 away in Blackburn a fortnight ago - as the visitors took the lead on 7.26 and then went 2-0 up just 30 seconds later.

The Raiders had just had a goal of their own disallowed as the whole of the puck had not crossed the line so this was a significant set-back and, although Jack Walker fired in their first goal of the game on 10.21, the score remained 1-2 at the end of first period.

The Raiders’ cause was not helped by the penalties that they kept picking up throughout the game and it was during two such shorthanded spells after the restart that they fell further behind by goals at 23.11 and 28.34. 

They pulled another goal back on 30.08 during a delayed penalty call on the Buccaneers for slashing which saw the home netminder pulled in favour of an extra attacker and Adam Jenkins slotted the puck home to make the 2-4. 

The home team upped the pressure after this breakthrough in attempt to pull themselves back into contention and pressed the Blackburn defence as the period went on.  It was to no avail, however, and it looked as if the period was going to finish with the score at 2-4 until, in the very dying seconds, Raiders netminder Charlie Perry (who otherwise played a blinder all game...) came out of his goal to make an easy clearance which, instead, ended up on a Blackburn stick and in the back of the unguarded net!

With the score at 2-5 after 40 minutes of play, the Raiders needed something special in the final period and that is, indeed, what happened. 

Two goals within a minute of each other by Owen Tennant (42.13) and Anthony Hughes (42.59) dragged the home side to within touching distance of the visitors and then a goal by Raiders’ top scorer of the campaign Gez Evans on 45.25 tied the score at 5-5 with 15 minutes still to play.  

The game really heated from this point with both teams trying to make a breakthrough. The electric atmosphere was buoyed by a sizeable contingent of Blackburn supporters and the tension around the rink was almost unbearable.

The arena erupted at 55.14 when Owen Tennant fired the home side in front for the very first time in the game but the euphoria was short lived as the Buccaneers hit back to equalise just 15 seconds later.

The clock ticked down and the Raiders’ attempts to force a late winner were hampered by more minor penalties.  Then, with just 90 seconds left on the clock - and a man just coming out of the penalty box - Gez Evans scored to edge the Raiders’ prow in front once more.

The game was made safe with just 26 seconds remaining on the clock when Owen Tennant fired in his 3rd goal of the game – a powerplay goal – to propel the Raiders into the play off semi-finals.

The result sees the Raiders finish level on points with Grimsby Stormers at the top of the Puckstop Summer Classic table, however, they end up in second place overall as teams on equal points are separated by overall goal difference. This benefits the Stormers as they were able to notch up a couple of high scoring wins over short benched opposition in matches at their home rink whereas had the usual rules of teams being separated by results between themselves been used, that would have put the Raiders top as they have a +1 goal advantage from their two games against Grimsby.

The Raiders do, at least, have home advantage in their play-off semi-final game against the Wyre Seagulls which takes place next Sunday 30th July at Silver Blades Widnes. The game has a later face off time than usual - 8.30pm – as it follows the Widnes Wildcats Summer Cup game - and admission is free.   

See lots of great match photos from David Law Photography HERE