Forward Pitchley believes the play-off buzz is already in the Raiders camp

Raiders forward JJ Pitchley (pic John Scott)

Raiders forward JJ Pitchley (pic John Scott) - Credit: Archant

Everyone Active Raiders forward JJ Pitchley believes the team is already playing with a play-off buzz as they look to nail down the final spot in the National League.

Sean Easton's men visit play-off chasing rivals Bracknell Bees on Saturday before hosting third-placed Peterborough Phantoms at the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.15pm).

They head into those clashes two points clear of the Bees after four consecutive wins in the last two weeks and Pitchley, 26, said: "The play-off buzz is certainly well and truly underway for the Raiders.

"The atmosphere at all games home and away is nothing short of amazing. Bracknell a few weeks back and Hull the weekend just gone was the most travelling support I've seen for a few years and it's helped us take two solid road wins.

"In the room and on the ice the mindset has balanced out and we all know what we can do as a collective when we stick to a game plan."

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The former Bracknell Bees and Hornets forward feels his former club has become almost a derby to the Raiders in recent years, adding: "Bracknell has become somewhat of a local derby rivalry game over the last three years and it's good to see.

"They are always good games and the last two we have against them will be no different.

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"I think teams have realised we won't back down when games get physical and we have more than enough guys willing to get involved in that aspect of the game and it gives everyone a little boost when we might need it."

Peterborough, however, is a team the Raiders have struggled against but they will go into it with the same mindset of any game they play.

"Peterborough have been tough games for us this year, our approach will be no different than how we have been playing of recent," said Pitchley.

"Fast and physical hockey which we force teams to make mistakes and capitalise on those."

Pitchley himself reached a milestone by grabbing his 150th point for the club with an assist in their 6-1 win over Hull Pirates on Sunday.

"It's hugely special to me. It's always nice to reach a personal milestone at a club that means so much to me and that I've been a part of from a few days old," he said.

"Certainly I feel my overall performance has been a lot better this half of the season. Playing with confidence is key and I've found that since the new year."

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