Ice hockey: Pitchley takes positives from Raiders late derby defeat
PUBLISHED: 15:30 07 February 2020
Romford Junior Raiders head coach Ben Pitchley took nothing but positives from their last-minute loss to Essex rivals Chelmsford at the weekend.
Ewan Hill and Jan Marcilis goals put them 2-0 up in the first period, before Adam Jakopin replied just two seconds before the break.
Hill made it 3-1 early in the middle session, but Grant Bartlett and Tom Wilson hit back to level things up before Alan Lack's goal left Raiders 4-3 up after 40 minutes.
Chieftains captain Ross Brears and TJ Fillery struck 19 seconds apart to turn the derby on its head in the final period, but Hill completed his hat-trick on the power play - after Bartlett was ejected - with just over two minutes left in the game to make it 5-5.
Brears broke Raiders hearts, though, with just 42 seconds remaining to secure victory for his side, but Pitchley praised his young squad.
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He said: "It has taken us eight games to get there, but that was an old school Romford-Chelmsford derby.
"It was probably the best game of hockey we have played since this programme started last season and we can only take positives from the game.
"Yes it would have been nice to take points from them, but by being right there until the end of the game, with this young development team we have this season, it will hold us in good stead the next time we play them."
Raiders face two games on the road this weekend as they visit bottom club MK Thunder on Saturday and Oxford the following day as they look to climb the National League Division One South table.
Pitchley added: "We've got two big games this weekend away in MK and then away in Oxford. More points to play for to keep us in the play-off positions come season end."
Raiders have beaten Thunder in all three of their previous meetings, by 4-1, 11-0 and 12-1 margins, and after 6-3 and 7-3 wins over Oxford in pre-season challenge matches, the head-to-head series with the Stars in league play is even, after a 13-4 away loss and 7-2 home victory.