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Raiders head coach Easton pleased to see side making early progress against rivals

PUBLISHED: 14:00 28 September 2017

London Raiders forward Jake Sylvester rushes up the ice with the puck against Invicta Dynamos (Pic: John Scott)

London Raiders forward Jake Sylvester rushes up the ice with the puck against Invicta Dynamos (Pic: John Scott)

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London Raiders head coach Sean Easton is pleased with his side’s progress in the first few weeks of the 2017/18 season.

Juraj Huska netted twice for London Raiders at Streatham (pic John Scott) Juraj Huska netted twice for London Raiders at Streatham (pic John Scott)

The Lee Valley-based outfit had a mixed weekend of results as they beat Invicta Dynamos 5-4 on Saturday and fell short after a penalty shoot-out against Streatham on Sunday.

The gold and blue outfit had to hold on for their first victory of the NIHL Cup campaign after a late fightback from their fierce rivals Invicta.

Easton’s men got off to a strong start and found themselves 5-1 up after two periods, before Invicta hit back with three unanswered goals in the final period.

And the coach admits his players cannot afford to switch off in games, saying: “I feel we are improving week on week. We had a strong start against Invicta on Saturday and had a great 40 minutes.

“The key now is to play for 60 minutes and finish the job professionally and take pride in the defensive game.

“We switch off too easily when things are going well and forgot what we had done to get to the good position we were in.

“It’s about a good mental mindset throughout and not taking anyone lightly.”

Raiders came from 2-0 down to force a penalty shoot-out in south London, thanks to Juraj Huska’s brace, but they had to settle for a losing point and the former Chelmsford Chieftains coach said it was a frustrating evening.

“We were frustrated with the officiating,” the 31-year-old said.

“I’m sorry, but when the referee twice in a game forgets the rules, it’s just embarrassing and frustrates the players into playing against the referee as well as Streatham.”

Easton was pleased with how his side fought back to get something from the game and believes they dominated spells of the match.

“After the second period we took a deep breath and clawed our way back into the game, salvaging a point,” he said. “I felt five on five we dominated, unfortunately it was only five on five for about 25 minutes of the game.”

Raiders went to their first overtime in years and the Great Britain under-18s assistant coach admits he’s not a fan on the new feature, adding: “That was our first experience of overtime and for fans it’s fantastic.

“I personally didn’t like it, it felt like a knock-out final.”

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