Pitchley praises Raiders team-mates after perfect weekend
PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 December 2018
Everyone Active Raiders forward JJ Pitchley praised his team-mates following their second successive four-point weekend in National League Division One.
Having beaten bottom two Milton Keynes and Invicta, Raiders shocked leaders Swindon in their own rink on Saturday, then came from two goals down to beat Bracknell at Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure centre the following night.
Pitchley began the fightback against the Bees, before Aaron Connolly, Blaho Novak and Ashley Jackson also netted to seal a 4-2 win.
And he said: “It’s been a long time coming. Some results haven’t gone our way the last five or six weeks, but the boys have carried on working hard, coming together Tuesdays and Thursdays and we’re back on the same page now.
“We’ve taken four points off two very good teams, which makes it four on the bounce. We’re going to keep on going, keep climbing the table, getting more points and see what happens.”
Dan Scott’s early power play goal in Swindon was cancelled out by Chris Jones, as the Wildcats enjoyed a man advantage.
And although Jackson restored the Raiders lead in the second period, the hosts hit back through Loris Taylor to make it 2-2 at the midway mark.
Captain Connolly put his side in front for a third time, late in the middle session, and Novak and Juraj Huska struck in the final frame to seal a 5-2 victory.
And Pitchley added: “Anyone who knows Swindon as a hockey town, they’re fantastic, they’ve got alongside us the best fanbase, a very good following, good guys and it’s a difficult place to go and play.
“We played very simple, some people might call it boring road hockey, but we came away with two points from Swindon.”
Raiders were forced onto the back foot by Bracknell, outshot 20-7 in the first period and trailing 2-0.
But Pitchley deflected in Scott’s slap shot on a power play and Connolly levelled at close range while Bees were shorthanded again to give the hosts all the momentum.
Novak fired the go-ahead goal and Jackson found the empty net in the last minute after Bracknell goalie Danny Milton was pulled for an extra skater.
Pitchley said: “As hard as everyone worked, we had a long day on the road, getting back late. The rest period isn’t as long, but that’s hockey.
“We were pretty tired, some a bit more than others after logging more ice, but 2-0 is not a great lead to have in hockey.
“If you throw things on net, things can happen. And the way we ended the second period was great, taking all the momentum into the third.
“It made Bracknell chase the game a bit more, they couldn’t come up with much, and we did a great job defending. ‘P-head’ (Michaal Gray) stood on his head and we had guys blocking shots with every part of their body to get the points.”
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