Mixed emotions for Raiders coach
PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:46 24 March 2015
Blyth reflects on win and loss
London Raiders coach Alan Blyth admitted to feeling mixed emotions in the National League at the weekend.
The Lee Valley-based club skated to a 5-4 win on home ice over Solent on Saturday, which ultimately secured their play-off place.
But they slumped to a 6-2 loss at MK Thunder last night, after falling foul of referee Rick Adams.
Blyth said: “We started off at a great pace on Saturday and looked dangerous from the first face off.
“We conceded an early goal against the run of play, but soon steadied the ship and outshot them every period, which was is something that we have not done in a few weeks.
“Solent have assembled a good squad over the past few seasons and they are a hard team to break down. Cole is as good as any netminder in the league on his day and he was solid again on Saturday.
“But we got the two points we needed on Saturday which ultimately secured us that final play-off place and that was our primary goal.”
Jakub Kostelansky netted twice in the victory, with Vaclav Drabek and Grant Taylor also on target before captain Tom Davis netted the game-winning goal on a late powerplay.
But Raiders were always chasing the game in Milton Keynes after falling 2-0 down in just over 12 minutes.
Drabek replied, but the visitors then saw David Oliver, Davis and Ross Wilkinson ejected and fell 6-1 down before Taylor’s late consolation.
Blyth added: “Our trip to MK didn’t quite go as planned. We were restricted in our play quite early on due to receiving a large number of penalty calls against us.
“Our penalty-kill units were very good and stayed strong all night, but the ice pad is huge and we didn’t adapt early on and that cost us a bit.
“We had to keep juggling the lines around due to the constant barrage of penalties we seemed to be taking and this took its toll on the energy levels.
“But we played until the final buzzer and were the better team in the third period, despite spending a large proportion of it shorthanded.”
Raiders complete their regular season campaign with a home game against bottom club Cardiff on Saturday, before a two-legged play-off quarter-final with champions Chelmsford over the Easter weekend.
They will host the Chieftains in the first leg at Lee Valley on Saturday April 4, before the return at the Riverside Ice Arena the following night.