Raiders Promise a Rough Ride for the Pirates
Preview London Raiders
This weekend sees the first visit of the London Raiders this season. It promises to be a feisty encounter with a tough and rugged team that clearly plays for each other to the very end. During the Raiders’ first four games this season, they amassed over 90 penalty minutes. Expect them to accumulate this weekend at the Arena.
Performance wise, London have played four games winning one and languish second bottom as a result. However, they graft until the final buzzer as evidenced in their game against Swindon. At the end of the first period, London were 6-0 down. At the start of the third period they were 7-6 down. This sort of temperament will ensure that the Pirates will have to be at their best from the first whistle to the last.
The London Raiders will be hoping that netminder Michael Gray performs against a Pirates team, which so far this season, averages over six goals a game. He is no stranger to facing plenty of action having faced 1,192 shots last season with a save percentage of 90.86%. Defensively the Raiders have experienced former Hull player, Dan Scott, playing in a young looking defence. His experience will be vital to London if they have any hopes of stopping the venomous attack that Hull have put together. Offensively the London raiders have recruited two young imports that are new to British ice hockey. Lukas Sladkovsky is yet to find the net or create anything of note whilst Marek Malinsky has scored twice and assisted once in his four games so far. In addition to these import players, the Raiders have the old head of Aaron Connolly available. Connolly is a veteran of British ice hockey having played hundreds of times for Basingstoke before making his move to London. The Raiders squad seems a little lightweight in numbers and experience but it will be one of the tightest team units to come to Hull this season. As already alluded to, the Raiders have a never-say-die attitude and play ferociously, often on the edge, until the end.
The Pirates, fresh off a successful result in Sheffield on Saturday and well rested with no game on Sunday, have an ideal opportunity to expose the Raiders inexperience and frailties. This could be a game in which everything clicks into place for Hull. That would be welcome given the tricky away fixture at what looks a strong and potent Telford side. A big win against the Raiders would go a long way towards the Pirates coming away from Telford with the points.
By Dave Heath
Hull Pirate Social/Media Partner