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London Raiders ‘let slip again’ says Pitchley

PUBLISHED: 11:16 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:16 31 January 2017

JJ Pitchley (left) looks on from the London Raiders bench (pic John Scott)

JJ Pitchley (left) looks on from the London Raiders bench (pic John Scott)

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Birthday boy reflects on latest loss to Invicta

London Raiders forward Alan Lack clashes with Invicta's Ondrej Zosiak, following his hit on JJ Pitchley, who is on his knees in the background (pic John Scott)London Raiders forward Alan Lack clashes with Invicta's Ondrej Zosiak, following his hit on JJ Pitchley, who is on his knees in the background (pic John Scott)

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley was pleased to be able to celebrate one win on his birthday weekend, but felt his side could have taken maximum points over the two days.

Pitchley turned 23 on Saturday, when Raiders once again came up short against fierce rivals Invicta Dynamos at Lee Valley.

Brandon Miles put them ahead, but Adam Rehak levelled on a powerplay in the first period.

And after Pitchley also found the net on his big day to restore the Raiders lead, he was hit from behind by Ondrej Zosiak, and Dynamos moved 4-2 up after a brace from Bailey Wootton and a Steve Osman goal.

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley is treated by the team's physio after being hit by Invicta's Ondrej Zosiak (pic John Scott)London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley is treated by the team's physio after being hit by Invicta's Ondrej Zosiak (pic John Scott)

Thomas Beesley’s late powerplay goal gave Raiders hope of salvaging something, but they could not beat John Dibble in a frantic finale and fell to a 4-3 defeat, their fifth in six meetings with Invicta this season.

Pitchley said: “Invicta are always a tough team to play against, even with a few top guys missing.

“Saturday was a game once again we let slip away, not finishing the chances we had. If so, that game could have easily been 6-1.”

Raiders travelled to Milton Keynes on Sunday and saw Alan Lack and Sam Roberts net 17 seconds apart in the opening session.

Tom Mboya replied on a Thunder powerplay, but Slavomir Buda restored the two-goal cushion as Raiders enjoyed a man advantage and Connor Goode’s late effort proved in vain for the hosts.

Pitchley added: “Sunday was a much better effort from all. We started a bit slow, but once we found our feet through ‘Lacky’ and Sammy Roberts it was a good game.

“There were a few too many penalties, which of course in our league is dangerous as most teams can put the puck away on the man advantage.

“But our away form this season has been pretty good and that is mostly down to the travelling Raiders fans who always bring the noise and firepower to get us going on the ice.”

Raiders now have some time off, before returning to action with trips to bottom club Bracknell and champions-elect Chelmsford on the weekend of February 11-12.

And Pitchley, who has 19 goals and 23 assists from 28 matches so far this season, is hoping they make the most of the chance to recharge the batteries as the race for honours hots up.

“We’ve got a rare weekend off coming up to rest and prepare for stage three of four of the season and come back ready to climb the table and secure second spot,” he said.

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