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Oliver happy to spark London Raiders rally

PUBLISHED: 17:30 08 March 2016

London Raiders defenceman David Oliver (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders defenceman David Oliver (pic: John Scott)

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Defenceman’s goal leads to success in Bracknell

John Connolly netted in both matches for London Raiders at the weekend (pic: John Scott) John Connolly netted in both matches for London Raiders at the weekend (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders defenceman David Oliver was delighted to help his side clinch their place in the National League play-offs at the weekend.

Raiders were 3-0 down in Bracknell on Saturday, before Oliver’s goal kickstarted their comeback.

Marek Nahlik and Mason Webster netted in quick succession to level things up, with Raiders scoring four more times in the final period to skate off 7-3 winners.

Oliver said: “Saturday was the kind of game we had to win and in the end we did.

“We had a very slow start to it, going in at the end of the first period 2-0 down and then at the start of the second going 3-0 down.

“But as the game went on we got better and better. We know it takes a dirty cheap goal to get the ball rolling and when that first went in we started playing.

“We were moving the puck, fighting for every 50-50 puck and shooting better and all three lines were working well.

“It was just what we needed to put us in the play-offs.”

Rio Grinell-Parke struck twice in the final period, with John Connolly and Nahlik netting inbetween.

And Raiders took the lead at home against Oxford the following night through captain Tom Davis.

But the visitors levelled just 31 seconds later, then scored twice in the space of 11 seconds to go 3-1 up.

Connolly’s second powerplay goal of the weekend gave Raiders hope, but Stars hit back with two powerplay goals and a delayed penalty goal to move 6-2 ahead before Grinell-Parke’s late consolation.

Oliver added: “Sunday was a bad day at the office. We got outshot by 23 shots which shouldn’t be happening.

“Oxford got two powerplay goals along with a delayed penalty goal. If we take them out it’s a 3-3 game.

“But we can’t get down, it happens sometimes in those kind of games.”

Bracknell’s 12-1 loss on the Isle of Wight ended their hopes of catching Raiders for the last play-off spot and Oliver admitted a sense of relief.

He said: “It’s wasn’t until we got home that we found out we were in the play-offs which is where every team wants to be come March time.”

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