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Raiders assistant Barry says taking momentum in 2020 is important

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 December 2019

Raiders celebrate a Jake Sylvester goal in their 6-2 win over Peterborough Phantoms (Pic: John Scott)

Raiders celebrate a Jake Sylvester goal in their 6-2 win over Peterborough Phantoms (Pic: John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders assistant captain Sean Barry says it's important to end the year with momentum to carry into 2020.

Sean Easton's men make the trip to Basingstoke Bison on Saturday before returning home to face one of the title favourites in Swindon Wildcats at the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.15pm).

They head into those clashes on the back of a four-point weekend after they sealed wins over both Leeds Chiefs and Peterborough Phantoms to close the gap on Bracknell Bees for the final play-off spot in the National League table.

"It's very important to finish the year with momentum and confidence going into 2020," said Barry.

"It's two very tough games, but we have beaten Basingstoke and Swindon already this year."

Ashley Tait's Basingstoke Bison have lost four consecutive matches, including twice to strugglers Leeds Chiefs in recent weeks.

But former Chelmsford Chieftains defenceman Barry knows that just makes it an even tougher fixture as they desperately look to end their bad run of form.

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"Bison aren't doing so well the past couple of weeks, but that also means they're going to be working harder to try to get the points off us," he said.

"On the other hand we should know what we're capable of now as well, as the first period against Peterborough was by far the best period of hockey we've played this season."

Raiders have added goalie Ethan James and defenceman Dan Fuller in recent weeks to bolster their options defensively.

The assistant captain feels they are settling in well and have proved to be vital additions as they've picked up three wins in their last four fixtures.

"Ethan and 'Pencil' (Fuller) have both settled in well. Ethan is a very good goalie and Dan is a solid defenceman and a big body, so both are proving to be good signings."

Raiders are expected to remain without goalies Michael Gray and Brad Windebank, while defensive duo Ross Connolly and Callum Burnett are also injured.

Forward Mason Webster is expected to miss both matches as he continues to serve a six-game suspension following a hit on Phantoms forward Ross Clarke in the Raiders 6-4 defeat on December 15.

But Romford Junior Raiders are without fixtures so forward Tommy Huggett may be called up into action after icing in their 6-2 victory over Phantoms on Sunday.

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