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Blyth looking for Raiders boost

PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 January 2015

London Raiders goalie James Tanner and defenceman Vaclav Drabek battle it out against Streatham (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders goalie James Tanner and defenceman Vaclav Drabek battle it out against Streatham (pic: John Scott)

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Coach hoping for win double

Jakub Kostelansky lines up for a face-off on his London Raiders debut against Streatham (pic: John Scott)Jakub Kostelansky lines up for a face-off on his London Raiders debut against Streatham (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders coach Alan Blyth is looking for his side to give their National League play-off bid another boost this weekend.

Raiders host Streatham at Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm), having skated to a 6-3 home win over the Redskins last Saturday.

They looked on course to complete a double in south London the following night, but let a 5-0 lead slip before former Raider Jakub Klima netted a late winner for the hosts.

Raiders visit Oxford this Sunday and Blyth is looking for a four-point return. He said: “Last weekend felt like play-off hockey as a back-to-back weekend against the same team isn’t something that happens very often during the regular season.

London Raiders coach Alan Blyth looks on from the bench (pic: John Scott)London Raiders coach Alan Blyth looks on from the bench (pic: John Scott)

“We gave a good account of ourselves on both days and will be looking to go one better this weekend.”

New import signing Jakub Kostelansky needed just 34 seconds to open his account last weekend and, after Alan Lack, Jacob Ranson (2) and Grant Taylor also found the net, completed the scoring in the final period.

Blyth added: “On Saturday we started well and were boosted by the introduction of Kosta. It was good to play well against a very good team and come out with the result we felt we deserved.

“All three lines flowed well and did their jobs to perfection. Defensively in the first period we started off poor, but this was corrected at the break and we came out solid.

“We stuck to the task in hand and played out the game to its full conclusion.”

Kostelansky and Liam Chong netted twice apiece in Streatham, with Lack on target again as Raiders built a seemingly impregnable lead by the midway point.

But Redskins rallied with four goals in seven minutes to raise their hopes heading into the final period, before completing a remarkable turnaround.

Blyth said: “Sunday saw us travel to Streatham without Vaclav (Drabek), who picked up a couple of knocks on Saturday.

“We had to change the defensive set-up round a little bit, but flew out of the blocks and probably started too quickly on that large ice pad.

“We got ourselves into a position that should have seen us play out the game, but we didn’t and allowed them to get back into it.

“As the game went on the legs tired and the large ice seemed to get bigger and bigger.

“I cannot fault the work rate of the guys and we are heading in the right direction. We are playing fast, attractive and physical hockey and will continue to do so.”


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