Leeds Chiefs 4 Raiders IHC 5 - Frustration as Chiefs see gap increase at the bottom
ANOTHER weekend, another 'home' venue for Leeds Chiefs, although the latest host location brought only frustration for Sam Zajac's side.
Setting up camp for one night only at Coventry's Skydome Arena while they wait for the end-of-January opening of their Elland Road rink, bottom-of-the-table Chiefs saw themselves cast even further adrift after losing out 5-4 to visitors Raiders IHC from Essex, the team immediately above them in the NIHL National standings.
To make the evening even worse to stomach,Milton Keynes Lightning, the team currently sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot continued their recent run of good form with a 5-3 home win over Basingstoke Bison, the team Leeds enjoyed playing against so much last weeken when picking up a four-point haul in Hampshire.
It means the Chiefs are back to five points behind the Raiders but, more importantly, eight points off the Lightning, who head to Basingstoke on Sunday evening while the Chiefs travel to Hull Pirates, who are hurting from a 5-2 Saturday night loss at leaders Telford Tigers.
The Chiefs had been boosted by confirmation earlier in the day that the signing of former Sheffield Steeldogs' forward Ashley Calvert had gone through in time for him to make his debut., but found themselves chasing the game after falling behind to an early goal.
They were soon level, however, through Adam Barnes in the fifth minute, only to fall behind again, this time to a Callum Wells strike at 12.26. Steven Moore pulled the home side level again at 16.38 and that was how the sides went into the first break.
The Raiders got themselves a two-goal advantage through Erik Patiak and Blahoslav Novak early in the second, but it was soon a one-goal game again when defenceman Lewis Baldwin struck for the Chiefs at 27.33.
The Chiefs were able to draw level in the 46th minute through a second for Baldwin, but the killer blow came with just over 10 minutes remaining when Jake Pitchley struck what proved the game-winning goal.