Captain Connolly hails excellent Raiders efforts
PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 December 2018
Everyone Active Raiders captain Aaron Connolly was pleased to do his bit for the team as they enjoyed another four-point weekend in National League Division One.
Connolly dropped back into a defensive role, in the absence of Liam Wells and Liam Chong, but still managed to find the net in wins over table-topping Swindon and second-placed Bracknell.
But he was quick to thank his team-mates, saying: “I haven’t played D [much]. I played a few games when I was in juniors, that was the last time, so big shout out to my partner [Dan} ‘Scotty’ helping me out there.
“All the boys were really good, helping me out, talking to me, because it’s not natural, but I helped the team and we got the points, that’s all that matters.
“I was playing forward on the power play, it’s always nice, but the points are what matters for us.”
Dan Scott gave Raiders the lead in Swindon, only for Chris Jones to level on a power play as the first period ended all square.
Ashley Jackson then saw his effort cancelled out by Loris Taylor, but Connolly put Raiders 3-2 up late in the second session.
And Blaho Novak and Juraj Huska struck in the final frame to secure a memorable victory.
Connolly added: “We were a little bit short going in and it was a bit of redemption [after a 6-0 loss the last time].
“[It was down to] Hard work and belief, we’ve got quite a young team and it’s important we believe we can compete with these teams, we’ve got to believe it ourselves.
“We didn’t stop all night. We played probably our best team game of the season, to come away from Swindon with a result like that is huge for any team, so that’s massive for us.”
Raiders found themselves 2-0 down against the Bees on home ice the following night, having been outshot 20-7 in the opening 20 minutes.
But JJ Pitchley and Connolly netted power play goals to get them back on level terms, before Novak and Jackson, with an empty-net goal, sealed a 4-2 triumph.
Connolly said: “We came out slow. I don’t know if it’s because we got back late or put too much of our beans into the night before.
“We went two goals down but you can’t write this team off, which is huge. The character is massive. They probably thought after the first period they had won the game, but we showed them.”