Bracknell Bees coach seeking revengeBy Adam Lee
September 20, 2012
Bracknell Bees coach Gareth Cox saw more than enough from his team last Saturday to believe they can gain some early revenge over local rivals Basingstoke Bison this weekend.
Bees lost 4-1 to Bison on the opening night of the EPIHL season, but were on top for large periods of the game.
Bees outshot their opponents and arguably had the better of the chances, but a mixture of expert netminding from Bison’s Stevie Lyle and some clinical finishing from Basingstoke saw them leave Hampshire empty handed.
Although Bees were eventually outclassed by Guildford Flames the following night at the Hive, losing 6-3, they again created plenty of opportunities to take something from the game.
However, it is not against the likes of Basingstoke and Guildford, both of whom are serious league title contenders, where Bees’ season will be made or broken.
Far more relevant will be this Saturday’s long journey up the M1 to Sheffield to face the Steeldogs (7.30pm face-off), who lost to Slough Jets 5-2 on the opening night, before beating Swindon Wildcats in over-time on Sunday.
Should Bees produce a performance in Yorkshire on Saturday, then Cox believes that could be the boost they need to spring a surprise at home to Basingstoke on Sunday (6pm).
“We will make sure we’re better this weekend and we will continue to build and start winning hockey games,” he said.
“It’s a confidence game and hopefully we can build a bit of confidence on Saturday and take that into Sunday.
“We felt a little hard by after the way we played on Saturday, though.
“We felt we could and should have done better and we didn’t feel Basingstoke were three goals better than us.
“Hopefully this weekend we can show that.
“There’s going to be a few teams up there (challenging for the title) and Basingstoke will be one of them.
“They have a really strong goaltender and Steve Lyle is going to win them a lot of hockey games.
“We have to find a way to break that down this weekend.”
Cox also paid tribute to new-boy Alan Lack following an impressive start to life as a full-time Bee.
The 20-year-old forward had made eight appearances in the EPIHL with Bees during the previous two seasons, playing on a two-way contract with Bracknell Hornets.
However, this season he has signed solely as a Bees player, and has already shown himself to be a genuine grafter playing on a hard-hitting third line alongside James Galazzi and Scott Spearing.
Although he will need to hone his raw talent in order to make a career for himself in the EPIHL, few Bees players cover more ice on match night, and he is certainly not intimidated by the reputations of other players in the league.
And having opened his account for Bees on Saturday night in Basingstoke, Cox admits he is delighted by Lack’s progress so far.
“He's taken to it like a duck to water – he’s fantastic,” said Bees’ coach.
“He plays with his heart, he loves to play the body and he does it really well. He gives us a lot of energy and we need that.
“I couldn’t ask for any more of him and the whole line is doing fantastically as well.
“The way they play the body and what they do defensively is great.”