Roberts ‘proud’ of London Raiders play-off effort
PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 April 2017
Forward in tribute to team-mates after exit
London Raiders forward Sam Roberts paid tribute to his team-mates after the curtain came down on their season with play-off defeat at the hands of Chelmsford last weekend.
The National League champions and cup winners had too much firepower for Raiders, romping to a 16-4 aggregate success in the semi-final tie to keep their hopes of a treble alive.
A hat-trick from former Raiders import Juraj Huska helped Chieftains to a 5-1 win in Lee Valley, where the shot count was almost even at 39-38 in favour of the visitors.
And they doubled that advantage in the first period of Sunday’s return leg at the Riverside Ice Arena, widening the gap to 8-1 on the night, before Marek Nahlik nabbed his second goal for Raiders and Roberts got in on the act himself.
He said: “Going into a double-header against Chelmsford is always exciting, but a bit daunting at the same time, as we all know what they are capable of.
“Saturday’s game was the better game out of the two for us and I thought I had one of my better games of the season on the night.
“They are just so much more clinical in front of the net, but we gave it our best shot and I’m proud of all the boys giving 100 per cent until the end.
“Getting the last goal of the season was good for me, but I guess it was just a little too late! But it’s always nice to put one past a mate, even considering the score.
“Sunday’s game was just a struggle from the start going in four goals down, but everyone stayed strong and stuck together.”
Raiders replaced starting goalie Euan King – who was named in the league’s second all-star team in the week – with young Harry Buckingham for the last 10 minutes and saw the home side score three more goals in quick succession to complete a resounding 11-3 triumph and set up a final meeting with Invicta this weekend.
Roberts and the rest of the Raiders can pack their kit away for the summer and reflect on a campaign that saw them finish the regular season in fifth place and eliminate Oxford in the first round of play-offs, having lost to Chelmsford in the cup semi-finals.
Players, staff and supporters are due to meet up once more at the end of season awards night on April 14 and Roberts gave personal thanks, adding: “Our amazing fans have been unbelievable this year and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for the team and myself personally.
“I’d also like to thank the top man himself ‘Blythy’ and Kev Davis for giving me another chance this season to show a little bit more of what I’m about and play alongside the best group of guys.
“Thanks also to our physio Michelle and everyone else that runs the amazing Gold & Blue Army and the amazing fans once again.
“I hope to see you all again next year and hope everyone has a great summer.”