Gareth Cox demands instant response from his Bracknell BeesBy Lewis Rudd
January 31, 2013
Gareth Cox has challenged his Bracknell Bees side to kick start another unbeaten run in the EPIHL after their four-game winning streak was ended by Manchester Phoenix on Sunday night.
The Bees coach admitted his charges struggled to get going as goals from Joachim Flaten, Tony Hand and James Archer condemned the hosts to their first league loss since Guildford Flames triumphed 6-4 at the Hive at the beginning of January.
The 3-1 defeat also came less than a day after Cox’s men secured an impressive 2-0 win up in the North West.
Bracknell did briefly level the scores when Lukas Smital buried a fine wrist shot beyond Jorge El-Hage in the ninth minute, but summing up his side’s performance following the defeat, Cox believed Phoenix succeeded in setting out to frustrate their opponents.
He said: “We struggled to get going and they came here and sort of did what we did to them on Saturday night.
“They frustrated us and forced us quite a lot on the puck and did very well at it – just as we did last night – and we never had any time to settle and it was hard to get anything going.
“We also had a lot of chances on the powerplay, but that didn't click at all and we also struggled to win face-off's, important face off’s which killed us at the end of the day.”
Cox added: “It is disappointing to see the end of a four-game winning streak, but we are looking forward to the challenge of starting another one this weekend.”
The coach also refused to talk up tiredness as another factor for the loss following the Bees’ lengthy and heroic trip to Manchester less then 24 hours earlier for the start of the weekend double header.
Second period goals from Smital and Martin Masa helped the Bees secure their first win at Altrincham Ice Rink in 12 attempts.
The victory was also Bees’ first victory in the North West since the Phoenix dropped down to the EPIHL from the Elite League in 2009.
“I know Manchester have done the same today, but it is hard,” said Cox.
“We had a really late night on Saturday and we didn’t get back here until about 2.30am and then you have to unload the bus.
“But the boys had to work really hard for that shut out so tiredness can be a problem. We have two games every weekend like everybody else so you can't put too much on to it, but we were tired tonight.”
Cox also reserved his right to speak on the performance of referee Roman Scuzs, whom he only described as “interesting”.
The official skated off to a crescendo of boos from the home faithful at the final buzzer following a number of questionable penalty calls and decisions, but the Bees coach had little to say on the way he handled the fixture.
And frustrations were not just escalating in the stands either, as Matt Foord received a 10-minute misconduct penalty late on for comments he made to Scuzs.
“Interesting is all I can say really,” he commented.
“I felt we were battling referees up in Manchester and we have come home and I felt we were battling the referees a little bit here as well.
“That is the way it is really, they can only call it as they see it so all I can say was he was interesting.”
Bees will be looking to return to winning ways this weekend and further consolidate their place among the EPIHL play-off spots when they travel to Basingstoke Bison on Saturday (6.30pm).
Swindon Wildcats then make the trip to the Hive on Sunday (6pm), where Bracknell will be looking to inflict a fifth straight defeat on their Wiltshire rivals.