Raiders aim to stir the Hornets nest

London Raiders assistant captain David Oliver says they must look to end 2015 on a winning note when they welcome Bracknell to Lee Valley on Sunday (5.30pm).

Raiders celebrated a convincing 10-4 home win over Streatham last weekend, but went into Christmas with a bitter taste in their mouths after suffering a 7-1 loss at Invicta a day later.

And they are keen to bounce back quickly against the Hornets according to defenceman Oliver, who said: “Sunday is a game we should be winning. When you’re looking at the fixtures, we should be looking at it and taking all the points.

“It’s nice to play a game over the holiday period. We’re on the ice all together on Wednesday night, we will go over the things we need to work on and have a little bit of Christmas cheer with it too.

“Bracknell have added a few players from the last time we played them, but over the last few weeks we have been playing a whole lot better and we want to end the year with a bang and the only way is with two points.”

Raiders had recorded three wins in a row for the first time this season recently, before being edged out on home ice on successive nights by Invicta and Chelmsford.

Those disappointments were put behind them as they inflicted a heavy defeat on a flu-hit Redkins, with Slovakian import Marek Nahlik helping himself to six goals and Liam Chong and Rio Grinell-Parke scoring four points apiece.

“It was a big win for the club. We’re not to be under-estimated. The lads showed great character to come out with a 10-4 win, plus show how hard a place to come and play Lee Valley is,” said Oliver.

“It’s starting to feel a lit like Rom Valley Way some nights.”

Oliver was unavailable to face Streatham, but returned to the line-up for his 300th appearance for Raiders as they made the trip to Gillingham, looking for revenge over Invicta.

Callum Fowler netted powerplay and shorthanded goals in the first period, on his return to a Dynamos jersey, to leave Raiders chasing the game and their cause was not helped when Chong was ejected in the 35th minute.

A hit on former Raider Josh Condren was deemed worthy of a match penalty for interference by the officials and Invicta hit two goals in 33 seconds during the five-minute powerplay to go 4-0 up.

Mason Webster replied, but the hosts scored another powerplay goal as Oliver served a hooking minor and added two more goals in the last nine minutes to skate off with a convincing margin of victory.

Oliver added: “Sunday’s game was a frustrating one. We were the stronger, better team until Liam got a frustrating match penalty which changed the game totally.

“We know it was a penalty, but it wasn’t a match penalty. It was two minutes tops. It now means Liam misses out on Sunday’s game. But we have a lot in our locker-room to cover for him.

“It was an old school Invicta-Raiders game. It was fast, there were hits, fights and goals and I can’t wait until we play them at home because I know we can come out on top.”

Raiders do not have too long to wait for another chance to down the Dynamos, having drawn one and lost four of five matches against them so far, as they meet at Lee Valley on January 16. But they must focus on Bracknell first.

Report courtesy of the Romford Recorder

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