Solent Devils see play-off bid halted by Wightlink Raiders
THE Solent Devils saw their play-off push ended by the Wightlink Raiders at the quarter-final stage.
It was a tough test for the Gosport outfit, who have had their most successful season since earning promotion to the National League south one.
Isle of Wight side Raiders were play-off champions in 2015 and started as favourites.
The first penalty was called inside the first minute of the first match on Saturday in the Ryde Arena.
Raiders used the advantage to take the lead with Damon Larter setting up Craig Tribe.
The Devils persisted and within a few minutes, Mason Wild and Ralfs Circenis provided all the help George Norcliffe needed to tie things back up.
It only took a minute more, for Canadian import Richard Brown to provide the assist to Richard Facey, who pushed the Devils into the lead.
Raiders managed to tie things up just before the break, Robert Streetly passing to Tribe, who sent the puck on to Raiders captain Nick Compton and he beat Christian Cole in the Devils goal.
In the second period, Ryan Webb, Danny Ingoldsby and Alex Sampford scored for Raiders.
Larter got the sixth in the third period and Watkins put goal number seven on the board.
Devils rallied, and Monty Gailer sent the puck to Andrew Magee. Magee, in turn, found Richard Facey, who went flying down the wing, and put the puck past Matthew Colclough.
The game ended, and the final score was 7-4 to Raiders.
The return leg in Gosport took place on Sunday.
Once again, this was a physical battle, the Raiders trying to use their size advantage to prevent the Devils getting a foothold on the game.
The Devils managed to play a clean game for the first period but with just three seconds left of it, Raiders managed to get their 12th shot of the game into the net, scored by Larter, assisted by Streetly.
Despite the Raiders receiving five penalties in the second period, and the Devils receiving one of their own, the score remained 1-0.
In the third period, Paynter was set up by Cornish and Brendan Baird, doubled the Raiders lead.
It took three more minutes, for an unassisted Alex Trendall to finally beat Colclough and get the Devils scoring.
The Raiders only received one penalty in the third period but the Devils found players in the sin bin twice.
Compton knocked in the Raiders third goal and they then sat back to seal the 3-1 victory.
Despite the defeat it has been an excellent season for the Gosport side.
They will be celebrating their forward progress with their fans at their awards night on Friday, April 15.