Bracknell Bees coach not worried by misfiring powerplayBy Adam Lee
February 23, 2012
Bracknell Bees coach Gareth Cox is not too concerned by his team’s lack of potency, in both attack and defence, on the powerplay of late.
The PP is immeasurably important in ice hockey, with a team’s ability to make their extra skater count often the difference between victory and defeat.
And Cox is the first to admit that the Bees powerplay has not been up to scratch in recent weeks.
Bees have been impressive on the penalty kill of late, conceding just six powerplay goals in their last 10 games.
However, in the same series of matches, Cox’s men have hit the net just twice when they have held the numerical advantage.
And, to make matter worse, they have conceded three shorthanded goals in their past four games, two in the thriller at the Hive with Guildford earlier this month, and then another in last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Basingstoke Bison.
It is an issue that Cox is fully aware of, but other than continuing to work hard in training, there is not a huge amount he and his squad can do to turn their luck around.
“Although we have conceded a few shorthanded goals recently, to be fair we also scored a shorthanded goal on Saturday,” he said.
“No-one wants to concede short handed goals but they do happen – it’s just the way hockey is.
“It’s no secret that our powerplay isn’t working well at the moment, but it’s an issue we’re addressing each week and it’s just a confidence thing.
“The boys are in a bit of a slump on the powerplay and when that happens they then start trying to force it.
“When the PP is firing it makes things very difficult.
“We’ll just keep on working on it and making sure we have the right players in the right areas at crucial times.”
Bees lost 5-1 at Slough Jets last night after going ahead to a James Galazzi goal on 5.41.
After an impressive first period, it seemed Bees were on course to reach the first break in front, only for Mindy Kieras to fire a shot from the blue line past a screened Tom Annetts.
Without key forward Martin Masa, who was missing through illness, Bees struggled to hit the heights of the first period, and were 3-1 behind by the end of the second.
Two more goals in the third ended any hopes of a comeback, and although Matt Foord deservedly picked up the Bees man-of-the-match award for yet another spirited performance, the team will reflect on the failure to maintain their impressive opening momentum.
Bees now have only one game in hand on their play-off rivals, but after last night’s game and this weekend’s double header with Manchester Phoenix, they can now cross those teams off their fixture list for the remainder of the regular season.
It is a huge bonus not having to play Jets and Phoenix, who lie third and second respectively in the EPIHL, as the race for the final two play-off spots looks set to go to the wire.
On paper, Bees have the more favourable run in over rivals Swindon Wildcats and Peterborough Phantoms.
But Cox is simply concentrating on this weekend’s games, at home to Manchester on Saturday (6pm face-off) and then away on Sunday (5.30pm).
And after taking three points from their last two games against title-chasing Phoenix, Bees will go into these meetings more confident than they have ever before.
“We go into any game believing we can win,” said Cox.
“Manchester is a really tough place to go and play and they are a tough team, but if we go in with the same attitude that we did against Guildford then we will be fine.
“We have to play hard. They are defensively very strong and we have to make sure we cut out the silly mistakes and try to get the PP working.”