ELLIS KEEN TO BUILD ON BEES SUCCESSES
April 07, 2004
Guildford Flames carried off the John Brady Bowl thanks to a 5-4 win at the John Nike Leisuresport Complex and 4-3 triumph at the Spectrum Centre on Sunday.
But Bees, who were 7-6 up on aggregate until late in the second period on Sunday, pushed their arch rivals all the way.
And Ellis had no complaints about his side that were deprived of three key players due to injury.
"I could not have asked any more of the guys," said the Bracknell player-boss.
"We had to kill a lot of penalties in the second period and that took a lot out of us coming down the stretch."
Ellis praised netminder Scott Hay, who produced some terrific saves in both legs, and captain Dave Matsos.
"Scott had a really good play-off campaign for us and Dave was outstanding at the weekend.
"And Ryan Aldridge really responded to the challenge of being on that line with Dave Matsos and Nicky Chinn."
Aldridge found himself promoted to playing on every other forward shift due to Greg Owen's injury in the semi-final triumph over Fife Flyers last Sunday.
Owen will be in a cast for six weeks and need rehabilitation for six more weeks after
damaging ligaments in his right knee.
Bees were also without Canadian forward Corey Lyons, who may yet need an operation to cure a disc problem in his spine.
And player-assistant boss Daryl Lavoie faces a summer of further treatment after a season in which he fractured a leg and his skull after twice being hit by the puck.
Ellis said: "The doctors will be looking to see how the head fracture mends. Daryl also has to have a head scan to determine when he is safe to play again because of the concussion, as well as a possible operation to remove the metal plate in his leg."
With so many players out, Bees could only ice two forward lines, compared to Guildford's three, and it was no surprise that they faded in the final periods of both games.
Ellis said: "It was a matter of numbers in the end.
"Afterwards the guys were upset to have lost, but at least we knew that we had given everything."
Ellis is already in discussion with Bees about renewing his contract for a second year.
But he will not be in a position to re-sign any of this season's squad for another month when the BNL announce their salary cap and Bees
calculate the budget they will be working to. Ellis, though, has indicated he would like to bring back all the young British stars that have served Bees so well - Owen, Aldridge, Mark Richardson and Danny Meyers.
"They are the key right now," said Bees' boss.
"They have done a fantastic job stepping up after all our injuries and without them we would not have got as far as we did.
"I'd also like Dave Matsos and Scott Hay back too as well as others."
Bees finished their first FBNL campaign with a
completely different squad to the one that ended the previous as the Superleague's whipping boys.
And Ellis, who was not afraid to make some tough changes along the way, said: "I have set the foundations to build something big and as soon as I know I am back on board, I can look at ways of improving on what we have done this season."
Next season there are likely to be cross-over games between the FBNL and the Elite League, which grew out of the ashes of the now-defunct Superleague.
First, though, Ellis and Bees' defenceman Meyers will be focusing their attention to helping Great Britain in their World Championship Pool A Division 1 campaign in Norway between April 12 and 18.
n BRACKNELL Queen Bees stormed to a 5-1 victory over Flintshire Furies in the Premier League last Sunday.
Heather Brunning netted four times while Kathy Nike, Chrissy Newman, Sam Cheetham, Betony Garner and Lisa Ox all got on the scoresheet.
Bees move up to fifth in the table and travel to Cardiff Comets on April 18.