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King: London Raiders ready for toughest tests

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:29 19 November 2016

London Raiders goalie Euan King (pic John Scott)

London Raiders goalie Euan King (pic John Scott)

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Goalie focused on Invicta and Chelmsford clashes

Thomas Beesley and John Connolly in action for London Raiders (pic John Scott)Thomas Beesley and John Connolly in action for London Raiders (pic John Scott)

Goalie Euan King has given London Raiders a notable lift since his return to a gold and blue jersey and says this weekend will give them a clear picture of their progress this season.

King has backstopped Alan Blyth’s side to three successive wins, including their first four-point weekend for some time against Oxford and Solent last time out.

And they are set to host Invicta in their next National League test in Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday), before visiting fierce rivals Chelmsford – with whom King won three league titles – in the cup on Sunday.

“This weekend is where we find out where we really are. We’ve got two tough games against two tough opponents,” said King.

London Raiders forward James Pentecost battles against former club Oxford (pic John Scott)London Raiders forward James Pentecost battles against former club Oxford (pic John Scott)

“We have to take it one game at a time, once we are done against Invicta on Saturday, we can Iook toward Sunday in Chelmsford.”

Raiders were gunning for revenge against Oxford last Saturday, having suffered a 9-3 loss in the university city last month, and raced into a 4-0 lead thanks to Marek Nahlik’s double and efforts from John Connolly and James Pentecost, against his former club.

The visitors hit back before the midway point through Dominic Hopkins, but Nahlik and Pentecost netted powerplay goals to put Raiders 6-1 up at the end of the second period.

Pentecost completed his hat-trick early in the final session, before Mike Whillock, Josh Florey and Brendan Baird beat King to make it 7-4.

And JJ Pitchley scored twice in the last 5:19 of play, sandwiching Oxford’s fifth goal from Hallam Wilson, to complete the scoring.

King said: “Oxford was a complete performance for two periods however we can’t accept the third-period performance.

“We have to work hard in training to ensure that doesn’t happen again. If we want to be successful, periods like that can’t happen.”

Sunday’s success in Solent came courtesy of Nahlik’s second hat-trick of the weekend and another goal from Pitchley as Raiders outshot the home side 41-25 on their small rink, despite being severely understrength.

King added: “Solent was massive, a true character win with only 10 skaters and me.

“It showed how good the team spirit is in the room, everyone battles for one another.

“I’m really pleased with how it’s started since my return, we’re on a good run and everyone seems to be clicking.

“Since the summer the club have kept in constant contact with me, my circumstances changed outside of hockey and when the offer came up again it was a no-brainer for me from a personal point of view.”

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