Oliver wants Raiders to challenge
- Credit: Archant
Defenceman targets wins over bigger teams
London Raiders defenceman David Oliver is looking forward to the club’s next two big challenges this weekend.
Raiders welcome Invicta to Lee Valley for a cup match tomorrow (Saturday), before travelling to Streatham for a league fixture the following night.
And Oliver believes Alan Blyth’s improving side can come away with maximum points if they play to their full potential.
He said: “I’m looking forward to this weekend with Invicta coming to Lee Valley on Saturday.
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“I feel we can beat any team on the night and with Invicta losing their starting netminder a few days ago we can take two points.
“We know what Invicta are like. They have two good imports, one who is fast on the ice and the other a rock at the back. But if we can find a way of stopping them, we will be fine on the night.
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“I feel we’re in a better place now then last time we played them.”
Raiders lost 7-4 when they visited Invicta last month and were also beaten by the Redskins on the first night of the season.
But although admitting the trip to south London will be difficult, Oliver feels they can gain revenge.
He added: “Streatham away in the league is going to a big test for us. We’ve got to keep trying to push up the league and chipping away to pick up the points.
“The opening-day loss to them was hard to take for me, but if we show the heart and character on Sunday night we can walk out with two points.
“I think we have started showing what we can do now. We’ve got a great little team with a lot of heart and soul and are all on the same page of playing for the logo on the front of the shirt.”
Raiders had to settle for a point from a 1-1 draw with Solent last Saturday, after Sam Roberts netted his first goal for the club. But after racing into a 2-0 lead at Chelmsford the following night, as Roberts and Bailey Chittock struck, they fell into penalty trouble and lost 8-3.
Oliver added: “I feel last weekend was one of our better weekends. Saturday was a very important league game and we took a point, but should’ve had both of them.
“Solent’s goal from a powerplay shows that being in the box does no good for any one. But as a team we worked the puck well going forward and our defence was rock solid.
“We must shoot the puck more, but overall it was a great team performance. Michael (Gray) was back to his best in net, is getting better every game and looking like a true number one. And Sam stepped up on the first line and showed what he can do.
“We showed heart and character on Sunday. We jumped into an early lead, but we had to drop to two lines with Bailey going to A&E.
“We didn’t stop skating and kept fighting until the end, but one thing that let as down was powerplay goals. We gave away four on the night and with a team like Chelmsford, who can move the puck so well, it’s what killed us off on the night.
“That just showed we can play at the level and have to do it week in week out.”