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Sapphire ‘rocking’ for Raiders says Pitchley

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 February 2019

Raiders forward JJ Pitchley (pic John Scott)

Raiders forward JJ Pitchley (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders forward JJ Pitchley claimed Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre was ‘rocking’ during Sunday’s win over Peterborough.

Raiders captain Aaron Connolly celebrates Sean Barry's goal (pic John Scott)Raiders captain Aaron Connolly celebrates Sean Barry's goal (pic John Scott)

The hosts twice came from behind, after power play goals from Glenn Billing and Ales Padelek had put the Phantoms in front in the first two periods, to claim a 3-2 victory in thrilling fashion.

Juraj Huska levelled in the final session, before Jake Sylvester capped the win to send a large crowd wild.

And local boy Pitchley said: “It was an unreal end after a very slow start Sunday. We let them have way too much time and respect and they jumped off to a lead.

“But we dug deep and took advantage of the mistakes we forced them to make.

Sean Barry celebrates his goal for Raiders (pic John Scott)Sean Barry celebrates his goal for Raiders (pic John Scott)

“Everyone once again played outstanding. Our defencemen have done fantastic the last couple of weekends, with the limited amount of guys we have with injuries.

“But as a whole we have played some good hockey and got some great results.

“The building was rocking and it’s great to play in front of a packed rink just like the old times!”

Raiders were again without John Connolly and Callum Wells on the blue line, as well as utility man Liam Chong, but had Julian Smith back in the line-up, having missed their wins against Invicta and Streatham a week earlier.

Raiders celebrate Jake Sylvester's winner (pic John Scott)Raiders celebrate Jake Sylvester's winner (pic John Scott)

Defenceman Sean Barry cancelled out Billing’s opener with a rare goal, only for Padelek to punish Raiders while they were shorthanded once more.

And the hosts eventually got their reward as Huska and Sylvester found ways past Jordan Marr, to whet the appetite for the final weeks of the regular season and the play-offs.

Pitchley added: “The train is off again and it’s started the pre-playoff buzz at the Sapphire.

“The hockey bug is stuck and the Raiders are starting a new page in the history books.

“We are now in the business-end of the season with the play-offs just around the corner and it’s the time when anyone can beat anyone on a given day.

“We can beat any team in this league and we will make the finals at Coventry. It’s a good time to be a Raiders fan and I’m excited to see what lies ahead.”

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