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Ice hockey: Raiders coach Easton expects tough weekend

PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 October 2018

Raiders coach Sean Easton on the bench at Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre (pic John Scott)

Raiders coach Sean Easton on the bench at Romford's Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders head coach Sean Easton is expecting another hard weekend in National League Division One.

Raiders host Bracknell Bees at the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Saturday (5.15pm) and visit Streatham on Sunday (6.45pm).

And having seen his side lose 5-2 at reigning champions Basingstoke, before beating MK Thunder 8-0 last weekend, Easton knows what he wants from his players.

“The same ethos. We want to outwork and outsmart them,” he said after Sunday’s game.

“Bracknell is going to be a huge test for us, they’re just above us in the league table.

“Streatham back at their place on big ice, I thought we outplayed them on our smaller rink, but lets see what we can do on bigger ice.

“They’re going to be well-drilled, will improve week in, week out. It will be a hard weekend.”

Goals from Aaron Connolly and Jake Sylvester had Raiders on terms at Basingstoke, before the hosts regained the lead on a power play and added two late efforts.

Easton added: “Basingstoke are one of those teams for us, we couldn’t beat them last season. It’s a bit upsetting we got off on a bad foot against them in the first game, but we’ve got five more games for redemption.”

Sylvester’s hat-trick led the way on home ice the following night in a solid team display but he expects a tougher test against the Bees.

“It’s going to be a difficult game, a lot closer and more end to end,” said Sylvester. “We’re going to have to come out like we did on Sunday, hard. Hopefully we come out on top.”

Easton was pleased to see the winger among the goals against Thunder, adding: “I think he needed it. He’s got the odd goal here and there, but that will build his confidence going forward.

“Everyone battled, everyone chipped in, everyone defended, everyone attacked. That’s what I asked for. It’s not defence and forwards, everyone is defence and forwards.

“The third line created chances, they will find the back of the net in due time. I’d be more concerned if they weren’t creating chances.”

Ben Clements made 32 saves for the shut-out and Easton felt that rounded things off nicely, adding: “I think that’s our first shutout since the league formed so it was a great all-round performance,” he said. “It’s building blocks. There’s always something to improve on.”

*Raiders have put another Legends jersey up for auction online and this time it is the number 19 worn by former player of the year Jamie Randall.

See https://www.ebay.com/itm/Raiders-Legends-Ice-Hockey-Shirt-19-Jamie-Randall/323473373211?hash=item4b5083f81b:g:SDcAAOSw~ZFbrziS to make a bid.

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