Easton relieved to see Raiders rally past Bees
PUBLISHED: 09:10 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:11 19 November 2018
Everyone Active Raiders coach Sean Easton was relieved to see his side come from two goals down to beat National League leaders Bracknell at the weekend.
Trailing 3-1 after two periods, despite another goal from recent recruit Ashley Jackson, they produced a strong finish as Blaho Novak and captain Aaron Connolly, in the final minute, netted to force overtime.
And Jake Sylvester swept home the winner to make it five points from a possible six since their mid-season break to the delight of Easton.
He said: “Finally we’ve hit the potential. I think there’s a lot more still, but we’ve taken huge steps forwards towards where we’ve been playing the last few months.
“The second period was flat. In past weeks our third period has been flat. Obviously it was a happy turnaround to come back in the third period. They worked hard, they really worked hard. We’ve got four blocks of forwards that are working for each other now.”
Shaun Thompson and Ivan Antonov netted two minutes apart in the first period, just after Raiders had killed off penalties against Callum Wells and Ollie Baldock, to take control.
But Jackson tipped in Liam Chong’s shot on a Raiders power play to halve the deficit, only for Ryan Sutton to restore the two-goal cushion during a scrappy middle session.
There was a noticeably higher tempo to Raiders’ play in the final period, though, and Novak scrambled home to give them hope, before Connolly deflected Dan Scott’s drive past Dean Skinns, with goalie Michael Gray having been withdrawn for an extra skater.
Easton added: “We said at the start of the game, we came up with a few words that we want to sum us up as Raiders and ‘relentless’ was one of them. We’ve just got to go hard, every single shift.
“Our goalies have kept us in it all year but for the first time our players really helped Michael make that third period easier. I can’t remember any quality shots they had when he had to make a great save.
“(Dean) Skinns was letting out a lot of rebounds, we just needed to go a bit harder at him, finish at the net and get our rewards.
“The second goal was a typical dogfight in front of the net, a loose puck bouncing everywhere and we’re the lucky ones to get the touch on it.
“I was ‘iffing’ and ‘arring’, looking at P-head (Gray). We had so much possession in their end and I was wondering ‘is it the right time?’
But he came and off we went.”