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Smith: Beating Bees ‘huge’ for Raiders

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 November 2018

Jake Sylvester fires home the overtime winner for Raiders against Bracknell (pic John Scott)

Jake Sylvester fires home the overtime winner for Raiders against Bracknell (pic John Scott)

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Everyone Active Raiders defenceman Julian Smith admitted their overtime win over National League leaders Bracknell was ‘huge’ for their confidence.

Raiders defenceman Julian Smith talks to referee Stephen Matthews (pic John Scott)Raiders defenceman Julian Smith talks to referee Stephen Matthews (pic John Scott)

Trailing 3-1 after two periods, Raiders saw Blaho Novak’s goal give them hope of a comeback, before captain Aaron Connolly levelled in the last minute.

And Jake Sylvester swept home an overtime winner to delight the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre crowd, as well as his team-mates.

Smith said: “Obviously getting a win like that late in the game is always a confidence boost. It’s very positive.

“Results haven’t been going our way, they’ve been really tight, and that’s just what we really needed in the room and also on the ice to build the confidence and that culture of enjoying what we’re doing.

“I think we’re making the right steps if we can come back from a two-goal deficit to win, it’s huge for us.”

Raiders had let a three-goal lead slip before beating bottom club Invicta a week earlier, but saw a 6-3 lead wiped out by Streatham in a penalty-shot defeat.

So to come from behind against the Bees was a notable effort and a reminder to everyone about what it takes to be successful.

Experienced blueliner Smith added: “It’s big, not just for the young guys, but all of us, even the coaching staff. Just having the mindset that we can go out and beat those teams.

“We’ve done it before, we’ve taken Peterborough on already in their barn and beaten them.

“Looking at the players we’ve got there’s no reason why we can’t do it, it’s having that third period mentality that we had today when it was hunger to go and win the game.

“That’s what we need to bring every single period and now we’ve seen it like that there’s no excuse not to bring it every single game.”

Victory over Bracknell made it five points from a possible six since a blank weekend had given Raiders a change to recharge their batteries, having won six and lost eight of their league matches.

And 31-year-old Smith, now in his sixth season as a Raider, is hoping that will help them moving forward over the coming weeks and months.

He said: “Having a little break like that is good. Our season, the commitment you have to put in is tough, your body gets bashed around and you do start to get a bit weary.

“We still had ice and the guys came down and skated to keep fresh, but coming back after a weekend off was just what we needed.

“We reset, we all started fresh and put new things into our game plan. In training we had a new system to work on and it seemed to pay off.

“Hopefully moving forward now, it’s that fresh start and we’ve got to keep doing what we did in that third period.”

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