London Raiders v Chelmsford Chieftains: Five ways to win
PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 April 2017
Rivals ready for National League play-off battle
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.
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.
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).