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Raiders reveal 2019/20 award winners, announce first signings for new season

PUBLISHED: 20:30 14 May 2020

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly is surrounded by Bracknell players (pic John Scott)

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly is surrounded by Bracknell players (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders finally wrapped up the 2019/20 season by hosting their annual end of season presentation awards online for the first time ever on Thursday night.

Raiders Brandon Ayliffe, Lukas Sladkovsky and Blaho Novak celebrate a goal against Hull (pic John Scott)Raiders Brandon Ayliffe, Lukas Sladkovsky and Blaho Novak celebrate a goal against Hull (pic John Scott)

Captain Aaron Connolly scooped two awards as he bagged the recognition from his peers by picking up Players’ Player of the Year prize as well as the top forward award.

The 26-year-old made 52 appearances, scoring 39 goals and adding 21 assists for a grand total of 60 points this season – meaning he ended up as the club’s top goalscorer and also finished up leading the team in points.

Connolly is now only one appearance short of reaching 100 in the gold and blue jersey, having scored a total of 116 points.

Young forward Brandon Ayliffe scooped his third consecutive Supporters’ Player of the Year award by gaining the fans vote.

Raiders import forward Erik Piatak carries the puck up ice (Pic: John Scott)Raiders import forward Erik Piatak carries the puck up ice (Pic: John Scott)

The 21-year-old impressed with a career high in goals and points as he found the net 23 times and picked up 21 assists for a total of 44 points which takes his Raiders tally up to 96 points in total from 145 appearances.

The coaches player of the year award was handed to Slovakian forward Erik Piatak who joined the team slightly late when he replaced Marek Malinsky.

The centreman made 40 appearances, scoring 21 goals and setting up a further 38 for a total of 59 points to make him the second highest scorer despite not making his debut until November 9 against Sheffield Steeldogs.

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Long-serving Jack Cooper was named top defenceman of the season after a hugely impressive campaign which saw him stepping up when the side encountered injury troubles.

The 23-year-old made 51 appearances, picking up one goal and four assists for a total of five points, but more importantly gave some solid defensive displays.

Cooper also set a club record of 157 consecutive appearances for the Raiders prior to missing the clash against Basingstoke Bison in February, a streak which dated back to December 2016.

The former Romford junior has now made a total of 256 appearances, with three goals and 34 assists to his name for a tally of 37 points in total.

Michael Gray was back in goal for Raiders against Swindon (pic John Scott)Michael Gray was back in goal for Raiders against Swindon (pic John Scott)

Raiders had more ever-present “Ironmen” in their squad last season than any other campaign in history.

The seven players who appeared in all 52 games were Ayliffe, Sean Barry, Connolly, Blaho Novak, Jacob Ranson, Lukas Sladkovsky and Jake Sylvester.

It was also revealed over the course of the presentations that the four award winners would all be returning to the line-up for the 2020/21 National League season.

Raiders head coach Sean Easton has moved quickly to secure the services of captain Connolly, import forward Piatak, fans’ favourite Ayliffe and defenceman Cooper and he expects to name plenty more signings in the coming weeks and months as the club waits for developments.

Raiders goalie Michael Gray denies MK Lightning's Hallden Barnes-Garner (pic John Scott)Raiders goalie Michael Gray denies MK Lightning's Hallden Barnes-Garner (pic John Scott)

Chief executive John Scott informed fans by updating them on the current situation, how he felt the first season went in the National League, and future plans while also showing off a potential draft of next season’s shirt designs.


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