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ICE HOCKEY PREVIEW

PUBLISHED: 13:08 30 December 2010

AJ Smith battles in front of the Chieftains net

AJ Smith battles in front of the Chieftains net

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Raiders face 2011 derby opener

Sunday January 2

ENL Division 1

RAIDERS v CHELMSFORD

Essex derbies are rarely dull affairs and fans will be hoping this curtain-raiser to 2011 is no different.

Two scheduled early-season meetings were postponed due to delayed refurbishment work at Chelmsford’s Riverside Ice Arena, which saw Dean Birrell’s men given extra time to prepare for the campaign.

Edged out by a single Aaron Connelly goal when the two rivals did eventually meet in October – and incensed at the exploits of Blaho Novak, whose high stick twice caused injury – Romford were denied a win of their own at Rom Valley Way as former Raider Danny Hammond swept home an equaliser with only seconds left.

Danny Marshall’s men will be keen to square the series this time and close the gap on their rivals to a single point, but Chieftains have a new Canadian import on their roster (Kyle Jones), who will be keen to make his mark on this local rivalry.

Top men – Romford: Marshall 49 points (17+32), Harvey 33 (14+19), Adam Smith 28 (11+17).

Chelmsford: Hammond 31 (19+12), Tom Long 26 (13+13), Matt Turner 24 (15+9).

ENL Division 2

SLOUGH v FURY

An unenviable trip to The Hangar awaits Alan Blyth’s Fury, who have lost their last four matches and were shut out 11-0 on home ice when these sides met last month at Rom Valley Way.

Former Yugoslav international Zoran Kozic has been scoring for fun for the ENL Jets – and prompting much online debate about the merits of him playing at such a level.

Kozic, well known to Raiders fans, has so far piled up 79 points (35+44) in a dozen appearances and had a hand in seven of his side’s 11 goals last time around.

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