Blyth pleased with Raiders
PUBLISHED: 17:23 01 April 2015 | UPDATED: 17:57 02 April 2015
Coach reflects on Cardiff clash
London Raiders coach Alan Blyth was glad to give some of his younger players more exposure during their final game of the regular National League season.
Raiders drew 3-3 with bottom club Cardiff at Lee Valley, thanks to Stephen Deacon’s late powerplay goal, and are now preparing for their play-off quarter-final with champions Chelmsford.
Blyth said: “Last weekend against Cardiff gave us a chance to give some of the younger players an opportunity to stretch their legs and have a run out.
“Everybody got a great deal of ice time and put in a good shift. We started off in the right manner and got a quick goal that allowed us some space to breath.
“But Cardiff came back hard as they knew only a win would secure their status in the division. They got a couple of goals in the second period and put themselves in the driving seat going into the third period.”
Bailey Wootton gave Raiders a first-minute lead, but Jamie Hayes hit back with a brace and Josh Haslam put the Welsh club 3-1 up at the end of the second period.
The home side hit back for a share of the spoils, though, as Alan Lack grabbed their second before Deacon’s equaliser consigned former club Cardiff to the wooden spoon to the delight of Oxford.
Blyth added: “We took the break to change a couple of things and re-focus minds on the task in hand and we were dominant for the entire third period.
“Jacob Ranson had his first senior bout and gave a good account of himself, however it’s not something that we will be looking for him to again any time soon as we need him on the ice.
“Bailey was sharp in his return from his mid-season break to Florida and TJ (Fillery) showed the pace that we know he does have and that he is maturing nicely.
“I also heard a rumour that Deacon is being nominated for Oxfor’s player of the year and has been recommended to be the Oxford Mayor!”
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