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Roberts: Rest can help London Raiders

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 February 2017

London Raiders discuss tactics during a timeout at Lee Valley (pic John Scott)

London Raiders discuss tactics during a timeout at Lee Valley (pic John Scott)

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Forward to recharge during blank weekend

London Raiders forward Sam Roberts (pic John Scott) London Raiders forward Sam Roberts (pic John Scott)

London Raiders forward Sam Roberts says a blank weekend is a welcome boost as the team prepare to head into the business end of the National League season.

Roberts was among the goalscorers as Raiders skated to a 3-2 win at MK Thunder last Sunday, having come up short by the odd goal in seven against Invicta in Lee Valley a day earlier.

And he believes the team is looking strong following recent additions, as they look ahead to a cup semi-final with champions-elect Chelmsford and the play-offs.

“It will definitely be nice to have a weekend off, just to recharge the batteries and have a well-earned rest,” said Roberts.

Brandon Miles fires home for London Raiders against Invicta (pic John Scott) Brandon Miles fires home for London Raiders against Invicta (pic John Scott)

“The weekend goes too fast anyway. We will be back on the ice before you know it, but I think our new players have made a massive impact on the team. All of them are fitting in great”.

Raiders have added experienced defenceman Andy Munroe and Great Britain under-16 international Callum Burnett to their blue line since the turn of the year, with forwards Alan Lack, Brandon Miles and, more recently, Jack Lee, also adding to the attacking options for coach Alan Blyth.

Roberts added: “Andy is solid at the back and Callum is settling in nicely too, which is great to see.

“Brandon’s got plenty of grit going forward and will definitely look after what needs to be done on the ice and ‘Lacky’ has got speed and hard work.

Callum Burnett on his home debut for London Raiders against Invicta (pic John Scott) Callum Burnett on his home debut for London Raiders against Invicta (pic John Scott)

“Jack is great at playing forward or defence, so we’ve got a great bunch of guys to strengthen an already strong team.”

Having fallen to a 3-2 loss at Invicta a week earlier, Raiders took the lead in the return meeting through Miles, before Adam Rehak levelled on a powerplay.

JJ Pitchley restored the home side’s lead on his 23rd birthday, but was then hit from behind by Ondrej Zosiak and missed quite a bit of the action.

Former Raider Bailey Wootton netted either side of a Steve Osman goal to put Dynamos 4-2 up, before Thomas Beesley’s late powerplay strike proved in vain for Raiders and Roberts said: “Saturday’s game was not our best performance but we had a decent third period and got pretty close to getting the draw.

“Penalties killed the momentum in the first and second periods, but that’s just how the game goes.”

Lack and Roberts scored 17 seconds apart at Milton Keynes the following day, before Tom Mboya’s powerplay goal halved the deficit.

Slavomir Buda put Raiders 3-1 up with a powerplay goal of their own and Connor Goode’s late reply was not enough to deny the visitors victory.

Roberts said: “We came ready to play knowing that Milton Keynes is a tough rink to go to, especially with their experienced squad.

“We had a great first period with two quick goals halfway through, including one from myself which is always nice.

“They did come close at the end to getting a draw, but both of their goals on the powerplay were from our mistakes and taking silly penalties, so we’ve got to crack down on that.

“I’m sure we can turn some more teams over and a big shout out to the supporters that travel home or away. You’re the reason we play.”

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