Raiders coach Easton tasking squad to finish strong after unlucky season

PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 January 2020

Raiders goalie Michael Gray smothers the puck during their clash with Swindon (pic John Scott)

Raiders goalie Michael Gray smothers the puck during their clash with Swindon (pic John Scott)


Everyone Active Raiders head coach Sean Easton feels his side have been extremely unlucky at times this season, but is now tasking the players to finish the National League campaign strongly.

The Romford-based side will make the long trip north to take on Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday, before welcoming in-form Milton Keynes Lightning to the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.15pm).

And coach Easton is putting the pressure on his side to pick up at least one win each weekend from now until the end of the campaign.

"I feel we have had a very unlucky season this year, with a lot of injuries, and Dan Scott being the latest injury-list victim," he said.

"It just seems we start getting players back, then we pick up more injuries and I also don't feel a lot of our penalties are deserved, but called on our penalty minutes total, with referees expecting us to do wrong.

"But life goes on and so do we. I have now tasked the team to get at least two points every weekend.

"If we can do that as a minimum and beat Bracknell in the head-to-head series we will make the play-offs."

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The Great Britain under-20s coach believes inexperience has proved costly to his youthful squad, as well as a lack of learning from their mistakes.

"We knew at the start of season that the young team would lack experience and now it's starting to show," he added.

"We started the season well as we can outskate teams but now systems are in-bedded with teams the smarts and experience takes over.

"I am really disappointed that we don't learn from our mistakes quickly and also our penalty count.

"We take penalties in the wrong areas of the ice all the time and it's now a down feeling, going on the penalty kill which we have had to do too much."

Raiders must start picking up points this weekend against two mid-table sides who have both had indifferent seasons.

"Sheffield is a big ice paid, which means more speed and skill on offence, and a less contact game," added Easton.

"Last time we played there it was a good game that could have gone either way."

As for facing the Lightning, he said: "MK are in form but as we have learnt this season, we have to treat every team as if they're in great form and at full strength."

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