Invicta Dynamos travel to Streatham IHC in the NIHL1 South Cup on Saturday bidding to bounce back from the disappointment of losing their first game of the season.
Dynamos opened the campaign with four successive victories before last week’s 2-0 league defeat at Chelmsford Chieftains.
Defender Tommy Ralph joined the club during the summer after a year in the EPL with Hull Pirates, and despite losing their unbeaten record he says he’s gradually settling in.
“I’m still adjusting my game to suit the tempo of the league and getting used to being away from home for the first time,” said Ralph.
“I’m happy with our start, although it was disappointing to lose at Chelmsford.
“We were missing some key playmakers and that made scoring opportunities hard to come by, but we still battled hard and had our chances.
“We’ve picked up a lot of injuries early on in the season which has made things more complicated in terms of the balance of the team.
“However, these things happen and we need to adjust quickly and step up our game to ensure we don’t concede more unnecessary defeats.
“I hear Streatham are always there or thereabouts in the league and are a hard team to beat, while Sunday’s opponents MK Thunder have improved significantly over the off-season so we’ll see how those games play out this weekend.
“This season I’m hoping to pick up every piece of silverware available to us, compete hard every night and play an exciting brand of hockey.”
London Raiders’ forward JJ Pitchley has targeted double success this weekend as his team look to kick-start their season.
Raiders are in cup action on Saturday at Wightlink Raiders, before hosting Bracknell Hornets in the league the following day.
With just one draw from their opening three league and cup games, Pitchley is keen to get more points on the board.
“Unfortunately last weekend didn’t go as planned with the draw (against Oxford) on Saturday and then the tough game at Streatham,” Pitchley told the Romford Recorder.
“The boys are gelling well and things are falling into place on all three lines, which early in the season is what you want.
“But Streatham, with the ex-EPL guys they have, are always going to be tough to beat.
“Looking forward to this weekend the island is the rink most guys hate going to, but if you go there and play nitty, gritty hockey and shoot from anywhere it’s anyone’s game.
“On Sunday we’re home against my old club Bracknell. It’s never nice to see a club you’ve played for struggle, but they will give us a good game.”
Bracknell Hornets v Solent Devils
Streatham IHC v Invicta Dynamos (Cup)
Wightlink Raiders v London Raiders (Cup)
Chelmsford Chieftains v Streatham IHC (Cup)
Invicta Dynamos v MK Thunder
London Raiders v Bracknell Hornets
Solent Devils v Wightlink Raiders Cup
Bristol Pitbulls v Peterborough Islanders (Cup)
Invicta Mustangs v Slough Jets
Lee Valley Lions v Chelmsford Warriors
Basingstoke Buffalo v Cardiff Fire
Haringey Racers v Lee Valley Lions
(Image permission: David Trevallion)