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London Raiders look for right formula

PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 February 2016

New London Raiders defenceman John Connolly is watched by the benches (pic: John Scott)

New London Raiders defenceman John Connolly is watched by the benches (pic: John Scott)

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Blyth hoping to end winless streak

London Raiders captain Tom Davis holds off Chelmsford's Ross Brears (pic: John Scott)London Raiders captain Tom Davis holds off Chelmsford's Ross Brears (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders head coach Alan Blyth hopes to have found the right formula to help end a nine-match winless streak when Invicta visit Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm).

Dynamos arrive for the South East Cup tie unbeaten in their last 11 league matches after skating to a 6-2 success at MK Thunder last weekend, despite playing almost the entire first period without goaltender Damien King.

Raiders conceded two late goals in a 4-1 home loss to leaders Chelmsford, meanwhile, and Blyth said: “It’s always a tough ask with the depth Chelmsford have got in their squad.

“We did really well to stop them flying and although we didn’t have as many chances as them, we did have some good clear-cut chances, but were just not as clinical.

Chelmsford's Matt Turner lurks in front of the London Raiders net as goalie Michael Gray and defenceman Robbie Veares look on (pic: John Scott)Chelmsford's Matt Turner lurks in front of the London Raiders net as goalie Michael Gray and defenceman Robbie Veares look on (pic: John Scott)

“We’ve changed things around a little bit this week and it looked like they were working pretty well.

“We’ve got some new line combinations and have injected a bit more pace and hopefully we will be able to roll three solid lines and give Invicta a good game.

“I would’ve been cheesed off if I was the MK coach with only two shots on goal in the first period, but it just shows the strength Invicta have got. They’re hard enough to break down when they haven’t got a goalie, let alone when they have!”

Raiders have failed to beat Invicta in six previous meetings this season, drawing once, and were shutout 3-0 on their own ice just three weeks ago.

London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper in action against Chelmsford (pic: John Scott)London Raiders defenceman Jack Cooper in action against Chelmsford (pic: John Scott)

They are set to visit Chelmsford for a league fixture on Sunday, having lost six encounters with the Chieftains in all competitions to date.

Blyth added: “Every time I look at the fixture list we seem to end up playing Invicta or Chelmsford again!

“In previous years they have become somewhat run-of-the-mill games because we play them so often, but it felt like the rivalry was back last weekend.

“Players had points to prove on both sides and it was a bit more feisty.”

Evander Grinell returned to the Raiders roster this week, after four seasons with Streatham, and joins up with younger brother Rio Grinell-Parke.

And Blyth says recent recruits Ryan Bainborough, John Connolly and Matt France have all settled quickly, adding: “Ryan, John and Matt have come on board and integrated with the room straight away. That’s the main thing, you want them to settle quickly, and they have given us new options on the powerplay as well as in defence.

“Evander will give us more on the penalty kill and being another Romford old boy he knows what to expect.”

Defenceman Jack Cooper is unavailable for this weekend’s action, while Liam Chong remains sidelined as he continues his recovery from a broken thumb.

But Blyth has belief in the rest of his team and wants to see their efforts rewarded sooner rather than later.

“Liam is having another scan. We don’t want to rush him as his thumbs are crucial to him for his work,” he said.

“But the mood in the room is good. The workrate is there and we’re getting closer and closer to the top teams.

“A decent result this weekend will hopefully kickstart us for the rest of the season.”

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