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London Raiders v Chelmsford Chieftains: Five ways to win

PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 April 2017

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley challenges Chelmsford's Matt Turner (pic John Scott)

London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley challenges Chelmsford's Matt Turner (pic John Scott)

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Rivals ready for National League play-off battle

London Raiders celebrate a goal against Chelmsford (pic John Scott)London Raiders celebrate a goal against Chelmsford (pic John Scott)

London Raiders will lock horns with fierce rivals Chelmsford Chieftains once again this weekend in the semi-finals of the National League play-offs.

The two sides have already met eight times this season, with Raiders winning the first two fixtures early in the campaign in the group phase of the cup, before Chieftains came out on top in all four league matches on their way to lifting the title.

A two-legged cup-semi-final at the end of February saw Chelmsford edge to a 3-2 win in Lee Valley, before skating to a 5-0 win in the home return and then go on to lift the silverware against Invicta in the final.

Raiders go into this weekend’s clashes as underdogs against their treble-chasing rivals and we look at five things they need to focus on if they are to produce an upset.

London Raiders defenceman Stewart Tait discusses a penalty call with referee Blaine Evans during the cup semi-final meeting with Chelmsford (pic John Scott)London Raiders defenceman Stewart Tait discusses a penalty call with referee Blaine Evans during the cup semi-final meeting with Chelmsford (pic John Scott)

1.Stay out of the penalty box

It’s vital to stay out of the penalty box when playing against the Chieftains, as they score for fun with the man advantage. They have so much firepower in their squad to utilise on the powerplay with the likes of former Raiders Matt Turner, Liam Chong, Juraj Huska and Danny Hammond.

Tempers boil over between Chelmsford and London Raiders players (pic John Scott)Tempers boil over between Chelmsford and London Raiders players (pic John Scott)

2.Take away their time

If you allow Chelmsford time and space, you’re in trouble. They move the puck so freely that it cuts teams open and tears them apart. To even be in with a chance you have to get in their faces and not allow them the room to play their game.

3.Take your chances

You can’t waste chances against the league champions, as they won’t waste any of their own. They have two good goalies, but not by any stretch are they the best in the league, so shooting the puck and driving to the net is key.

4,Keep them out of the penalty box

This is a strange one, but Chelmsford seem to be just as clinical on the penalty kill, as they on the powerplay. They often stretch free-scoring import forward Huska up the ice, so when they clear their zone, he can set his sights on extending the score even while shorthanded.

5.Keep it close

The Chieftains are a team who thrive from confidence, so if you allow them to go two or three goals up, it could be ‘Goodnight Raiders’. Once they start scoring, they usually score in bundles.

The first leg is at Lee Valley on Saturday (5.30pm), with tickets priced £10 adults, £5 for under-16s and £30 for a family (two adults, two children).

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