Slow-starting Bracknell Bees punished yet againBy Adam Lee
February 23, 2011
Bracknell Bees recorded their first win in a month, and only their second away victory of the season at Telford Tigers on Sunday night.
But coach Gareth Cox was left wondering what might have been after his side’s awful start cost them against Manchester Phoenix on Saturday.
Bees were defeated 6-3 at home to EPIHL leaders Manchester.
But things could have been so much different had Bees not got off to such a dreadful start, conceding after just 41 seconds and going on to let in three more inside the opening period.
It is a problem that has dogged Bees’ season, and although the team went some way to putting it right the following evening with a 6-1 win in Shropshire, coach Cox is sick and tired of handing teams headstarts.
And now, as Bees look to claw themselves back into the play-off picture by attempting to overturn a seven-point gap between themselves and Sheffield Steeldogs, Cox is calling for more consistency from his players.
“I felt we were unlucky against Manchester because we played well enough in the second and third periods to win the game,” said Cox.
“Even in the first we had enough chances, but they seemed to sit back on a 4-0 lead and definitely gave us enough to win it.
“It’s been our problem all season, though, we blow hot and cold.
“We went through a great run around Christmas time, thinking that the season had turned around, but the week after we were terrible.
“We have started too many games poorly and let teams get the jump on us.
“The players are all aware of it and we said on Sunday that it wouldn’t happen again and it worked.
“We do everything we possibly can in the build up to a game, though.
“We’re all up for it and keen, but when the puck drops we let teams in too easily.
“But Sunday was a good win and overall there were five periods of good hockey this weekend.”
Although the situation looks bleak at the Hive as their play-off dreams ebb away for the second consecutive season, Cox insists the team still haven’t given up, and has urged each and every player to stand up and be counted.
“The two points on Sunday was great, but we still need a minimum of seven points to catch up with Sheffield and give ourselves a chance,” he said.
“Only we can get ourselves out of this situation.
“We will do our best to do that and that’s about all I can say.
“Don’t forget there will be teams trying to stop us, and Sheffield and Swindon will be just as desperate to get the points as we are.
“On paper there are enough winnable games there for us, but we went up to Sheffield thinking that and we were punished.
“We have two games against Telford, one against Sheffield, one against Swindon.
“They’re teams we have taken points off and the games are there to be won, if we play well enough.”
But Bees will have to make their final push without the services of import defenceman Valdemar Pelikovsky.
The Czech blue liner was axed from the squad last week in what appears to be a cost-cutting exercise, with the club citing ‘business reasons’ for the move.
And with the deadline to sign new players gone, it leaves Bees an import down on their rivals in the final stages of the season.
“It was purely a business decision, albeit with unfortunate timing,” said Cox.
“He was an experienced player, a bit of a leader and statistically our most effective defenceman so it is obviously putting added pressure on the rest of the team.”
Bees will be hoping to close the gap even further on Sheffield when they travel west along the M4 to Swindon Wildcats on Saturday (5.45pm face-off) before hosting Basingstoke Bison on Sunday (6pm).
Bracknell Bees 3 Manchester Phoenix 6: Period: 0-4, 1-1, 2-1. SOG: 36-35. PIM: 4-10. Bees: Pinc 2+0, Watt 1+1, Cesky, Randall 0+2, Jasik 0+1. Phoenix: Huppe 3+0, Wallace 2+0, Archer 1+2, Kristoffersson, Hand, Duggan 0+2, Boothroyd, Morgan, Wood 0+1.
Telford Tigers 1 Bracknell Bees 6: Period: 0-4, 0-1, 1-1. SOG: 31-38. PIM: 40-20. Tigers: McKenzie 1+0, Watkins 0+1. Bees: Cesky 2+0, Barker 1+1, Miles, Jasik, Galazzi 1+0, Watt 0+4, Pinc 0+2, Randall, Moore, Waller 0+1.