Chelmsford Chieftains were back at full-strength with the return of Gary Brown and London Raiders 2 arrived with a large squad. A mixture of both experience and youth on both sides as the two sides met with the added pressure of a local derby. For many the first time they had experienced the Essex rivalry, one that has lasted for the past 30 years. A just as many games had over those years it was 60 minutes of tough and physical play with plenty of skill, goals, incidents and controversy. All which add’s up to a great game of hockey and a fantastic atmosphere in the rink. Chieftains went ahead with just 1:24 on the clock, their first attack. James Ayling, Charlie Phillips and Ross Brears all linking up to put the puck past Zachary Grandy-Smith in the Raiders net, Brears the scorer with the others rewarded with the assist. But just over a minute later the Chieftains found themselves short-handed as Justin Robinson was called for roughing. Referee Nick Stephenson pointing to the sin-bin for the first time in what was going to be an extremely hectic evening for Sin-Bin Jack, the guy responsible for the opening and closing of the sin-bin door. Raiders went on the attack trying to take full advantage of the two-minute powerplay. But Chieftains defenceman James Dimond intercepted and passed to Brears who showed great puck control, teasing two Raiders d-men with a little stick trickery and beat Grandy-Smith for the second time in just over a minute to double Chieftains lead. Raiders fans began to fear the worse as the Chieftains celebrated once again. But the Chieftains rhythm came to an abrupt halt, as did the game rhythm as the Referee Stephenson called a succession of penalties, both teams given Powerplay chances, but both teams failed to deliver. At 13:13 Raiders pulled a goal back when they took advantage of some slack Chieftains play. Chieftains were on the attack but a wayward pass slipped through and the puck headed straight down the other end of the ice. Netminder Sonny Phillips wanted to prevent the icing call and left the safety of his goal crease to intercept. But his clearance was intercepted and former Chieftain Bailey Chittock took full advantage and smashed the puck past the stricken Chieftain’s shot-stopper. At 16:21 the first major flashpoint of the evening as Charlie Phillips took umbrage when Raider Brandon Webster decided to grab his stick. Pulling away angrily he removed his helmet and both players dropped gloves and went toe-to-toe. Both players threw heavy punches and both ended on the ice. Once the officials had resumed control both players were given 2+2 for fighting with Webster given an extra two minutes for the original stick-holding offence. The play continued and it was end to end stuff with both sides defence holding firm and the period ended with Chieftains holding that slender one goal lead and the temperature on the ice rising. Both teams returned to the ice and within five minutes the red mist returned after Charlie Phillips put a fair challenge on Ellie Wakeling. Clint Walton retaliated and after a little pushing and shoving both players were given a unsportsmanlike two minute penalty. At 36:03 the Chieftains restored the two goal lead when Brad Moore struck the puck into the roof of the net, Tom Wilson and Will Polston with the assists. But the cheers from the fans became cheers of encouragement as the experienced Raider Alan Lack took young Elliott Dervish into the boards. The latter retaliated and both players reigned in with some hard blows before the officials calmed the situation down and both were rewarded with 2+2 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct penalty. At the restart Brears won the puck drop and his pass found Moore who threaded the puck through the legs of Grandy-Smith making it 4-1 at 36:28. Chieftains were looking dangerous with every attack and the Raiders were happy to hear the buzzer at forty minutes to get back to the dressing room and regroup. Six minutes after the final period began Moore was on target scoring his hat-trick goal at 46:18. Chieftains were on a 5 on 3 powerplay after Chittock was given a two minute penalty for hooking and the bench were penalised for a too many players on the ice. Passing the puck around the zone Brears was once again instrumental and his pass to Ayling was redirected to Moore who made no mistake. 47:21 and it was game over for the visitors when Ayling scored yet another Chieftains powerplay strike. At 6-1 the Chieftains fans were now in full voice and their team kept the pressure on and the frustrated visitors started to concentrate more on upsetting their Essex neighbours. Raider Matt Brown upset Chieftains D-Man Gary Brown with five minutes remaining and Brown and Brown dropped sticks and once again it was up to the officials to intervene to end the battle. More fighting penalties were dished out and Charlie Phillips tally was doubled after he let the officials know what he felt about things and was presented with a 10 minute misconduct to end his evening. With just over a minute remaining Brears completed his hat-trick to give his team a 7-1 victory and keep his team ahead of the chasing pack in NIHL Division Two South. Another fantastic evening at Riverside and another satisfying evening for new coach Joe Wilson. After the game he stated "I felt that the boys rose to the occasion tonight being the local derby! We spoke before about the importance of the game not only for our league campaign but giving back to the fans with a big win against local rivals. I think we showed tonight that we are not going to be pushed around on our ice and when the time comes we are not afraid to protect ourselves. Overall another great performance by the team" Chieftains are at home again this weekend when the visitors to Riverside are Basingstoke Buffalo face-off 6.30pm
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