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Raiders goalie Gray expects another tough weekend with dates against ex-EPL outfits

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 February 2018

Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe (right) scored the only goal against Basingstoke Bison (Pic: John Scott)

Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe (right) scored the only goal against Basingstoke Bison (Pic: John Scott)

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London Raiders goalie Michael Gray is expecting another tough weekend of hockey as they face former EPL sides Peterborough Phantoms and Swindon Wildcats.

Raiders goalie Michael Gray keeps his focus as players swarm around his net (pic John Scott) Raiders goalie Michael Gray keeps his focus as players swarm around his net (pic John Scott)

The Romford-based club welcome the Phantoms to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre for their fourth game at their new home on Saturday (5.45pm) before travelling away to face the Wildcats the following night at the Link Centre (6.15pm).

And the long-serving goalie believes every match is hard and requires the same mind-set from the players.

“To be honest every weekend is tricky as every game is tough, so I take the same mindset to every game,” the 28-year-old said.

“This weekend will be tough as Peterborough are pushing for the league title and Swindon will be looking for a bounce back as some of their results haven’t been great and they have struggled recently.”

Raiders goalie Michael Gray looks to smother the puck against Basingstoke (pic John Scott) Raiders goalie Michael Gray looks to smother the puck against Basingstoke (pic John Scott)

Former Slough junior Gray is keen for Raiders to continue their good form at their new home and make it a fortress in their last few fixtures of the season.

He added: “We will want to push Peterborough like we did against Basingstoke at our home rink and make it our fortress. We’ve got amazing backing in the new rink which is helping massively and as a team we will be disappointed if we do not come away with at least a point from our home barn.

“Peterborough are a very strong team, so it will be a tough one.”

Gray wants a repeat performance of their 5-4 shoot-out victory against Aaron Nell’s Wildcats earlier this month.

He also wants more revenge for their cup quarter-final exit to Swindon where they suffered a 8-0 defeat at the Link Centre in the first leg before losing the second leg 6-2 as well.

“Our shootout win against Swindon was amazing and they are the games you want to play in, but at home Swindon plays very different and is very solid, but we have our games plans in place,” he added.

“We were embarrassed when we went there in the cup the last time and we want to put that right.

“We have a great mindset and will be going into that game knowing what we need to do.”

The Raiders go into the match of the back of a 2-1 defeat to league leaders Basingstoke Bison on home ice and will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend.

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