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Lascenko leaves mark on history with first Raiders goal on new Romford ice

PUBLISHED: 13:30 09 February 2018

Olegs Lascenko scores the first Raiders goal at the new Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre in Romford (pic John Scott)

Olegs Lascenko scores the first Raiders goal at the new Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre in Romford (pic John Scott)

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Former Romford junior Olegs Lascenko wrote his name into the history books by scoring the first Raiders goal in the new Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre, as they came from behind to beat Cardiff.

Marek Nahlik celebrates putting Raiders 3-2 up against Cardiff on opening night at Romford's new ice rink (pic David Horn/Prime Media Images)Marek Nahlik celebrates putting Raiders 3-2 up against Cardiff on opening night at Romford's new ice rink (pic David Horn/Prime Media Images)

The visitors had spoiled the party somewhat when they silenced the sell-out 1,200 crowd – enlivened by Alan Lack’s early scrap with Elis Sheppard – by taking the lead with a shorthanded goal from Jackson Price.

But Lascenko levelled matters three minutes later when lifting the puck into the roof of the net on his backhand and admitted it felt very special.

He said: “It was a flash of a second and then all I see is the crowd, you can’t explain it. You’ve got to be in that moment to feel it, you can’t explain how you feel, it was just amazing. You remember these moments for life.

“It felt really great. We’ve been waiting for this game for a long time and to be honest the atmosphere was ridiculous. So many people came.

Current Raiders and products of the old Romford junior system, Olegs Lascenko, Callum Burnett, Callum Wells, Jack Cooper, Brandon Ayliffe and Jake Sylvester with coach Alan Blyth (pic John Scott)Current Raiders and products of the old Romford junior system, Olegs Lascenko, Callum Burnett, Callum Wells, Jack Cooper, Brandon Ayliffe and Jake Sylvester with coach Alan Blyth (pic John Scott)

“Some of the guys played the last game in the old ice rink, so coming back here in a new ice rink’s first game is loads of pressure for them. The first two periods didn’t go as planned but the third period was great.”

Cardiff regained the lead with a power play goal from Sam Bryant early in the final period, before Matt Turner levelled things for a second time and Marek Nahlik beat the impressive Jordan Lawday to put the home side ahead.

Brandon Ayliffe and John Connolly added further goals as Raiders scored four times in the space of 7:21 of play to skate off 5-2 winners, having dominated the shot count 52-15.

And although it might not have been their best performance by a long shot, the main thing was the Raiders began life in their new building with a win.

And that proved particularly poignant for Lascenko and the other home-grown talent in the team such as Ayliffe, Callum Burnett, Callum Wells, Jack Cooper, Jake Sylvester and JJ Pitchley.

“All I remember is coming to watch Romford Raiders when I was still a kid, watching some of these guys, and the atmosphere in the old rink was amazing,” added Lascenko.

“I just looked at those guys and thought ‘one day I want to play with them or in the same atmosphere as them’. It was amazing. It’s a great facility.”

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