Third play-off final in four years

What a weekend to be involved with the Wightlink Raiders, the guys played their hearts out over the two legs against Romford and I am very proud of them.
Saturday we hosted the Romford Raiders and we came away with a 4-2 win. I had a feeling that we would do well against them on home ice because we had played very well all season against them at the Ryde Arena. I must admit it was very satisfying getting out to a two goal lead and setting ourselves up nicely for the Sunday away game. We outplayed Romford for large parts of the game and as a coach, it’s satisfying when you see the team sticking to a game plan and working hard.
 
After the game on Saturday it was a funny feeling, we were happy with the win, but knew that Sunday was going to be very difficult. When we arrived at Rom Vally Way, there was already a line up to get in so we knew it was going to be a big crowd.
 
Even though the game was close, I had a feeling we were finally going to win in that building. After the last couple of losses against that team where I think calls went against us, it was finally nice to see karma work it’s beauty. I’m a firm believer in the hockey gods and I think someone was looking out for us. We deserved that win, we are the better team and play the game the way it’s meant to be played. I took a nasty slash to the face from their import and it was great to see him receive a match penalty, he had made a couple questionable hits to our players over the last couple games, so it was good to see him get what he deserved. I’m just fortunate I was wearing my visor or that could have been the end of the season or career for me.
 
On a more positive note, our guys didn’t quit ,they worked their tails off right to the end. Jiri got us off to an excellent start with a big goal in his first shift, it really set us up nice for the first period.
 
They out played us for bits of the game and with thirty seconds to go, they tied it up, the rink exploded and I must admit I worried our season was going to be over. I wanted us to get through the five minute overtime and into the shootout, because I knew we outmatched them with our goaltending. Matty looked calm and cool in that net, but I bet he was nervous. He did fantastic and to save Danny Marshall on the final shot in that rink was something I’ll remember for a long time. Richard Facey scored us the game winner and he perfectly got Kemp their goalie to go down and as he did, Facey roofed that puck into the top corner. Absolute class of a goal and what a way to get the team into the finals.
 
This week we play Chelmsford in the Playoff Finals, out third final in four years. We will be having a light skate tomorrow and making sure guys are rested and healthy for the weekend. Thursday we will be doing video and making sure we are totally prepared for Saturday night’s fist leg.
I’ve said it before, Chelmsford is the most skilled team in the league and I like the way they play. It’s going to be our job to limit their chances and make sure to take advantage of any defensive lapses they may make.
We really need to pack the Ryde Arena this Saturday, we have the best support in the league and we need that support to help us get a decent result heading into Sunday’s game at the RIverside.
 
It’s a long summer, so make sure you get to the rink early and support the guys!!
 
JC  

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