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Cooper: London Raiders want Invicta revenge

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 January 2017

Jack Cooper lets fly for London Raiders (pic John Scott)

Jack Cooper lets fly for London Raiders (pic John Scott)

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Defenceman hoping to down Dynamos in quick return

JJ Pitchley looks for a way through, as Elliot Dewey watches on, during a previous meeting between London Raiders and Invicta Dynamos (pic John Scott)JJ Pitchley looks for a way through, as Elliot Dewey watches on, during a previous meeting between London Raiders and Invicta Dynamos (pic John Scott)

London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper is hoping his side can set the record straight when they welcome Invicta to Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm).

Raiders suffered their fourth defeat in five National League and cup meetings this season with the Dynamos last weekend, after conceding a late powerplay goal to Adam Rehak in Gillingham.

And Cooper knows they need to stay on the right side of the referee to avoid getting in more penalty trouble and be ready from the first puck drop as the fierce rivals face a quick return meeting in east London, before a trip to MK Thunder on Sunday.

He said: “Saturday’s game against the Dynamos is going to be another tough one. I think they have a couple more players back in their line-up which will make it even more harder for us as we are quite shortbenched at the moment.

London Raiders import Marek Nahlik holds off Ondrej Zosiak during a previous meeting with Invicta (pic John Scott)London Raiders import Marek Nahlik holds off Ondrej Zosiak during a previous meeting with Invicta (pic John Scott)

“We need to stay more disciplined as 5-on-5 we are a solid team. We just need to stick to the systems that we have been working on in training.

“We need to come out strong in the first and carry that all the way through to the third as recently we have been coming out slow in the first period, making it harder for ourselves for the rest of the game.

“A win on Saturday will be a massive boost for us going into our away game in MK on Sunday as we really need these points.”

Raiders fell behind inside four minutes last weekend as Steve Osman netted on a powerplay, following an early holding penalty against Cooper’s fellow blueliner Andy Munroe.

But they managed to kill off further penalties against Marek Nahlik, Cooper, Tom Davis and Matt France as the scoreline remained unchanged until the early stages of the final period.

The visitors then got back on level terms thanks to JJ Pitchley, before former Raider Bailey Wootton restored Invicta’s lead with nine minutes to go.

Nahlik netted a second equaliser for Raiders, just 87 seconds later, but their joy was shortlived as Rehak settled it.

Cooper added: “Last week’s game was a bit of an upset really as I thought we should have won.

“Invicta is always a hard barn to play in, one of the reasons being their fans are really loud so you have to stay focused and concentrate on your game.

“I thought 5-on-5 we were the better team, we just needed to capitalise on our chances.

“We can’t afford to not take our chances against a team like the Dynamos. We were unfortunate to be given a bench penalty for ‘too many men’ but nevertheless we needed to kill the penalty off and we didn’t manage to do that.”

Raiders included 16-year-old defenceman Callum Burnett – a pupil at Hornchurch’s Campion School – in their line-up for the first time, after his official signing late last week.

And although his debut was brief, Cooper was impressed with the teenager, adding: “Callum only got one shift in the game, but he looked very solid and confident in such a close and intense game.

“He’s very smart on the puck and not afraid to use his body.”

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