Ice hockey: Opening night nerves for Raiders
PUBLISHED: 11:00 09 February 2018
Captain Tom Davis admitted the occasion got to the Everyone Active Raiders somewhat, after they came from behind to beat Cardiff on opening night at the Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Saturday.
Davis was one of five current players to have iced in the last-ever match at Rom Valley Way in April 2013, but the only one to have called Lee Valley Ice Rink home for the past four and a half years.
And with a big four-figure crowd for their first match in the new building, Davis revealed there was a little bit of nervous energy on the home team’s bench.
He said: “It’s not common for a lot of these boys to have 1200 people watching, but some of us like myself are used to it back at Rom Valley Way, so maybe the pressure did get to us a little bit.
“The guys were really looking forward to it, but from the opening face-off, I’m not going to lie, we didn’t start strong and conceded.
“We pulled it back but still didn’t really get going. It took us probably 45 to 50 minutes until we started playing like a team and we managed to get the win in the end, which is the main thing. We got the two points, but we made hard work of it.”
Olegs Lascenko cancelled out Cardiff’s opener, with Matt Turner then notching a second goal after Raiders had fallen behind again.
Marek Nahlik, Brandon Ayliffe and John Connolly struck to secure the 5-2 win and Davis said the closings stages of the match felt special.
He added: “I’m not going to lie, with 10 minutes to go I did start worrying, when you see where we’re at, but it did feel nice to get the four goals in the end.
“There were a couple of great team goals, some great passing and great finishing so that’s always nice.
“It felt amazing, to be honest, the fans were singing all night but when you start picking up the goals as well you start to notice it a lot more and feel they’re there and behind you a lot more.”
As for Lascenko writing his name in the record books as the scorer of the first Raiders goal at the new building, Davis said: “He came through Romford’s junior development so it was probably really nice for him to get it.”