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Raiders ‘must forget friendships’

PUBLISHED: 18:30 03 April 2015

London Raiders coach Alan Blyth looks on from the bench (pic: Danny Oxley)

London Raiders coach Alan Blyth looks on from the bench (pic: Danny Oxley)

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Blyth plotting to upset Chieftains

London Raiders duo Grant Taylor and Alan Lack fight for the puck on the boards against Cardiff (pic: Danny Oxley)London Raiders duo Grant Taylor and Alan Lack fight for the puck on the boards against Cardiff (pic: Danny Oxley)

London Raiders coach Alan Blyth says his players will have to put friendships to one side when they take on fierce rivals Chelmsford this weekend.

Raiders host the National League champions in the first leg of their play-off quarter-final at Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm) before the return at the Riverside Ice Arena on Sunday.

And Blyth says his men have to focus on the task at hand if they are to pull off a shock and knock out the top seeds.

He said: “Lots of players from both teams have played with each other over the years. It’s a strange situation as on the ice there is a fierce rivalry, but off the ice they are really good friends.

London Raiders forward Jakub Kostelansky looks for an opening against Cardiff (pic: Danny Oxley)London Raiders forward Jakub Kostelansky looks for an opening against Cardiff (pic: Danny Oxley)

“We need to make sure that we don’t allow players like the in-form Matt Turner too much time on the puck as he can turn a game around in the blink of an eye.

“We need to be smart and defend well and break as a unit.”

Raiders lost all four meetings between the two clubs during the regular season, but the last of those fixtures was in late December when their losing run extended to 19 matches.

They have made several additions to their squad since and enjoyed an upturn in fortunes to claim eighth place.

But Blyth knows they cannot afford to make any mistakes or fall foul of the officials this weekend.

He added: “Discipline will be paramount this weekend as the powerplay unit from Chelmsford is well drilled and full of talent.

“This is the first time that we have faced the Chieftains with our new-look team.

“Chelmsford have also shown over the past couple of weeks that they can be beaten and we will be going all out to do just that.”

Chieftains were held to a 2-2 draw by lowly Oxford in the closing weeks of the league campaign and lost 5-3 at Invicta in the second leg of the cup final last weekend, as the Dynamos claimed the silverware.

Blyth is calling on Raiders fans to play their part as the underdogs look to register a memorable victory, adding: “This weekend we need vocal support more than ever.

“It really does make a difference and the opposition netminders don’t like it either. Lets really get the building rocking and be in full voice!”


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