Coach Pitchley has nothing but praise for Raiders after passing final Oxford exam
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 April 2019
Coach Ben Pitchley was delighted to see Everyone Active Raiders end their debut National League Division Two season with a fine 5-3 win at Oxford City Stars on Sunday.
Brandon Webster scored twice at the Oxpens Road rink, with Samuel Austin, George Gell and Ewan Hill also on target, as man of the match Brad Windebank made 47 saves in the visitors’ net.
And Pitchley felt his young team showed some of their best form of the campaign on the way to victory, saying: “I’ve got nothing but praise for the players after we ended our first season with a fantastic win in Oxford.
“The game was played at a great pace, with probably the best puck management we have be able to execute all season, and we were getting pucks deep all night, just through our sheer work rate.
“We started to take some team-hurting penalties towards the end of the first period and during the second period, but credit to our penalty-killing teams.
“Going into the third period with a one-goal lead was always going to be tough to keep, but the chat we had in the room, with the fact this was our last 20 minutes of hockey as a team, really hit home with the players.”
Oxford had won 10 of their previous 12 home matches this season and still harboured outside hopes of the title.
But Raiders – having lost their home meeting with the City Stars at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre in overtime – kept them at bay and saw Webster seal the points late on.
Pitchley added: “Brad was not letting another puck in all night, and with some typical Romford, backs-against-the-wall defending, we managed to hold on and score another goal, easing the pressure.
“The fact that we had nearly 50 travelling fans in the building made the win even better, as our home form hasn’t been great since February.
“It has been a great first season and the attitude and aptitude of such a young age group team has been really good to be a part of.”
*The under-18 Raiders are set to play host to South Division Three title rivals Solent at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (6pm).
They have won all 13 matches played so far, including 17-1 and 7-0 wins over Solent, but had to forfeit their most recent meeting with the Junior Devils last month.
The under-11 Raiders travel to Cardiff on Saturday and host Peterborough on Sunday (4.10pm).