Raiders must stick to the systems for success, says forward Ayliffe

Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe rushes the puck up the ice against Bees IHC

Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe rushes the puck up the ice against Bees IHC - Credit: John Scott

Everyone Active Raiders forward Brandon Ayliffe insists they must stick to the systems and remain positive as they bid to cause more upsets in the NIHL National League. 

The Romford-based side are hosting one of the title favourites Sheffield Steeldogs at the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre on Saturday (5.15pm) on the back of a hectic weekend full of mixed fortunes. 

They head into the fixture on the back of a mixed start to the new season littered with injuries but are expecting to slowly get players back into the line-up in the coming weeks. 

“I’m expecting a hard game, but with how we’ve been playing the last few weekend’s is that we stick by our systems and stay positive, and have energy throughout the game as we want to get the two points,” the former Romford junior said. 

Head coach Sean Easton and his side suffered a 5-1 defeat to Bees IHC on Friday, then pulled off a shock upset with a 5-3 win over Leeds Knight on Saturday, before suffering a 3-0 loss to Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday. 

“Personally, it was tough weekend of hockey playing three games one after the other is always going to be tiring, but we kept pushing ourselves until the final whistle battling with teams while being short benched. 

“I would say there is a lot of positives to take from this weekend. The win at Leeds was a big win for us, as we’ve seen so far Leeds is a fast-shooting team. 

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly goes for goal against Bees IHC

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly goes for goal against Bees IHC - Credit: John Scott

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“We followed our systems and when we see the net we took our chances just shows doesn’t matter how short benched you are hard work and team play pays off.” 

The 23-year-old has been struggling to find the back of the net so far this campaign but struck twice in their 5-3 win away to Leeds on Saturday to end his drought. 

“Grabbing a couple of points for myself was a great feeling," he said. "I've had a drought for a while since we started the new season, and I'm now getting back to how I finished the streaming series.” 

Raiders will have Sunday off from action before returning to their busy fixture list the following weekend.

The break could help them get more players back from injury in time for the next bulk of games.