Ice Hockey: Blyth pleased with younger Raiders
PUBLISHED: 18:00 22 January 2019
Everyone Active Raiders assistant coach Alan Blyth was pleased to see the club’s younger players take their chance of more ice time in their National League win over Invicta Dynamos on Sunday.
Raiders followed up a 4-1 away win over Division One’s bottom club in Gillingham with an 8-3 success on home ice at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre.
And the hosts were able to expose Tommy Huggett, Callum Burnett and Brandon Webster to more regular shifts, while also giving 16-year-old goalie Brad Windebank 30 minutes.
Blyth said: “It was a pretty good performance from the lads on both days.
“It’s always tough against basement teams. You don’t want it to be the banana skin you slip up on.
“It was good to get the prospects some ice time as well and Brad (Windebank) a bit of a run out today.
“It’s good to see what they can do and how close or how far they are from where they need to be.”
Windebank has been catching the eye for the Division Two Raiders all season and, having conceded a goal from his first shot faced when left exposed, reacted well to make 17 saves during his time in the crease, in front of a large home crowd.
Blyth, a former Raiders goalie himself, added: “We see Brad week in, week out in training and see what he can do and it’s nice to expose him to get the home crowd and get that bit of learning you can’t get from training.
“It’s about putting the trust in him and see what he can do and he showed he can step up and play when needed.”
JJ Pitchley, Blaho Novak and captain Aaron Connolly scored two goals each, with Jake Sylvester and Mason Webster also on the mark.
And although the action lacked somme intensity at times, it was entertaining enough for the large audience.
Blyth said: “It was a really good crowd considering the derby (Raiders 2 v Chelmsford) last night, we thought might have an impact.
“We reinforced to the guys, they have to be professional about what they do, people pay to come in and watch and if you go in half-hearted you’re going to get hurt.
“We can’t afford that with the games we’ve got coming up.”