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Pitchley relishing London Raiders return

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 January 2017

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley in action against MK Thunder before Christmas (pic John Scott)

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley in action against MK Thunder before Christmas (pic John Scott)

Archant

Team back in National League action after three-week break

London Raiders return to action after a three-week break to meet Solent in a National League double-header this weekend.

And having suffered three successive defeats before the festive break, forward JJ Pitchley wants them to get their campaign back on track against the Devils.

Raiders will be without import forward and top scorer Marek Nahlik at Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm) as he completes a two-game suspension for a match penalty.

But the Slovakian should be back for the trip to the south coast on Sunday and Pitchley, who has 31 points from 21 games so far this season and sits in second place in the scoring charts, said: “It seems a long time since the last game, but I think at this level it’s needed, with guys working full time and playing two games a weekend.

“We’ve had time away from the rink to rest and regroup for the second half of the season, but it’s the first weekend back of 2017 for us, so it’s always going to be exciting.”

Raiders added Brandon Miles to their line-up on the final weekend of 2016, when they lost to MK Thunder and Invicta Dynamos, and announced the signing of Alan Lack just before Christmas.

They won 4-2 on their earlier trip to Solent in November, when Nahlik netted a hat-trick and Pitchley also struck.

And Pitchley hopes they can help the team return to winning ways, with the 22-year-old targetting a maximum haul this weekend.

He added: “We had new faces before the festive break, which will only add depth to an already talented team.

“We need to play simple hockey, get pucks in at their blue line and out of our zone when we can, get lots of shots on goal and get back to being a physical team that other teams hate to play against.

“Four points this weekend is what we are going for and hopefully it’s the first four-point weekend of many in 2017. Every game in this part of the season is going to be key.”

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