Derby draw for Solent Devils in cup opener

Alex Murray. Picture: Paul Jacobs (1429-26)
Alex Murray. Picture: Paul Jacobs (1429-26)
Have your say

Solent Devils held National League South Division One Cup holders Wightlink Raiders to a 3-3 draw at Gosport Ice Arena on Sunday.

Sam Calder made his first start of the campaign in the hosts’ net as they grabbed a point in the opening group A showdown.

Streatham Redksins are the other outfit in the pool – however, the Devils first face a return clash with Raiders when the competition resumes on Saturday, October 17.

The Isle of Wight outfit opened the scoring on Sunday when Ryan Webb beat Calder to put his side on top in the ninth minute.

Devils hit back in a rapid counter-attack as Monty Gailer founded George Norcliffe, who continued his excellent form by levelling the scores.

Raiders’ Ben Paynter was sent to the sin-bin in a two-minute interference call soon after.

However, the referee decided the words uttered as Paynter made his way over for a sit down were not to his liking – and hit the Wightlink player with an additional 10 minutes in the bin for abuse.

Paynter didn’t remain on his own in the sinbin the entire time and just after the 17-minute mark, Alex Sampford was sent out on a roughing call.

And the Devils managed to capitalise this time.

Mitch Murray picked up the puck in the centre and went on a run all the way to the Raiders goal.

Murray’s shot was knocked wide by Matthew Colclough, however, Mason Wild – who had followed Murray down the ice – fired home the rebound with the Wightlink netminder unable to recover.

Colclough left the ice early in the second period – when he was replaced in the Raiders goal by Aaron Craft.

The visitors were then awarded a penalty shot early in the third – after Alex Cole ended up laying on the puck during a goalmouth scramble.

Jaroslav Cesky stepped up and managed to beat Calder on his stick side to level the game at 2-2.

Despite the Devils’ best efforts, especially those of big defence man Ben Lock and forward Richard Facey, the Raiders then fired themselves into the lead.

After a face off in the home side’s zone, Tribe and Cesky found a gap large enough for Raiders captain Nick Compton to get in to position to shoot home impressively and put his side back into the lead.

Still battling hard, however, the Devils spent almost the whole of the next two minutes doing whatever they could to keep the puck deep in the Raiders’ zone.

And eventually their pressure paid off when head coach Alex Murray intercepted a Wightlink pass and went on to beat Craft.

The Devils are back in league action at Oxford City Stars on Sunday, October 4 (6.15pm).

They travel to London Raiders on Saturday, October 10 (5.30pm) before their next home game – against Milton Keynes Thunder – takes place 24 hours later at 7pm.