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Ice Hockey: Pitchley pleased to be back on home ice

PUBLISHED: 16:00 25 October 2019

Raiders coach Ben Pitchley gestures on the bench (pic Nicola Day)

Raiders coach Ben Pitchley gestures on the bench (pic Nicola Day)

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Romford Junior Raiders head coach Ben Pitchley is looking forward to seeing his side back in action on home ice this weekend.

The young Raiders visit Slough Jets on Saturday, before hosting Solent Devils on Sunday (5.15pm), in their first home fixture since a 4-1 win over MK Thunder three weeks ago.

And Pitchley, 46, said: "We're glad to be finally playing a home game again this coming Sunday, as it seems like an age since we did.

"Both games this weekend are against two of the better teams in our league, so we need to be make sure we limit our mistakes, and play smart hockey."

Raiders saw a three-game winning run brought to an end by Oxford City Stars last weekend, as they suffered their biggest defeat of the National League Division One season.

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Two goals down inside two minutes, they trailed 4-1 at the first break and were 8-4 behind at the 40-minute mark, after goals from Tommy Huggett, Jan Marcilis, Vilius Krakauskas and Sam Austin.

But the home side added five unanswered goals in the final period to skate off 13-4 winners and Pitchley added: "The Oxford game was just one of those games where whatever we did, we got scored against.

"They are not the same side as the one we played against in pre-season and got in hard on the forecheck and created problems for us.

"Losing Craig Ellis again, to another dislocated knee cap, is a big loss for our young team, and since his return, he's been playing well, so fingers crossed he will be back playing soon."

Raiders face two tough games this weekend against second-placed Slough and a Solent side who are unbeaten in their five games.

But Pitchley is hoping a return to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday, in particular, and the backing of their own fans can help his side.

He said: "Hopefully this weekend, with no Raiders National League home game, we will get some of the normal Raiders fans in through the door, wanting their hockey fix. I's always nice to have a full building to play in front of."

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