London Raiders suffered a 3-2 defeat against rivals Chelmsford Chieftains at Lee Valley Ice Centre on Sunday.
The match saw the return of Canadian Dwayne Newman to the Lee Valley ice, this time in a Chelmsford jersey.
The visitors had won the NIHL South Division One title a week earlier against Invicta but the derby was still sufficient to draw a large travelling crowd.
London clocked up four penalties in the first period and Chelmsford players Alex Staples and Gary Clarke had two-minute stints in the penalty box.
The aggressive period culminated in a clash between London’s Billy Phillips and Chelmsford’s Julian Smith. Phillips received a match penalty for slashing, as did visitors’ netminder Euan King for spearing.
London took the lead at the start of the second period courtesy of player/coach Danny Marshall. The advantage was short-lived however, as Cameron Bartlett replied minutes later.
A Jakub Klima breakaway set up by Marshall restored the home side’s lead but Chelmsford’s James Ayling put the teams back on level terms.
Chieftains import Tibor Schneider picked up a ten-minute penalty for misconduct in the third quarter and Smith went in the bin for tripping.
That meant London had a strong advantage in the final period but they failed to capitalise on this opportunity. Leon Brittle then made it 3-2 to Chelmsford and the score remained unchanged until the final buzzer.
Going into the play-off season, a gritty display from the London squad with a small bench will provide lots of positives for Marshall. Their next challenge is a trip to Solent on Saturday.