Weekend preview – a tough one ahead

It’s a tough weekend ahead for the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees as they prepare for Streatham on ice home before a road trip to Peterborough to face the Phantoms.

The Bees are 2 and 1 so far in the season series against Streatham. The London club play under Head Coach Jeremy Cornish and his team has no shortage of experience. Despite losing Aidan Doughty, Brendan Baird, Ben Paynter and Ryan Watt to Bracknell this season Cornish recruited wisely to fill the gaps.

Damien King is the starting shotstopper and is backed up by Bracknell trained Nathan Gregory. Cornish moved to add to the Lightning players he captured for 2017/18 – Adam Carr and Michael Farn – by signing Leigh Jamieson over the summer from Peterborough Phantoms.

A British defence allows Cornish to ice two non-EIHA trained forwards. Canadian Alex Roberts is an imposing figure standing at 6’3” and weighing 205lbs but the right shooter came in after a season out the game. The other is Canadian born, dual national Andreas Siagris who played with the club last season putting up 12+7 last year in 23 NIHL starts.

Summer additions Rupert Quiney from MK Thunder, Thomas Bailey from London and Joshua Condren from Invicta are fitting in nicely and Streatham have gelled well this season.

On Sunday it’s the Peterborough Phantoms who are the opponents. The Phantoms were runners-up in the NIHL last season and went on to lose out in the conference final of the Play-offs. They are coached by Slava Koulikov who started his coaching career in Slough before transferring to Peterborough.

Peterborough’s netminding is built around Jordan Marr who signed from Fife Flyers. The season prior he played with Hull Pirates and Edinburgh Capitals as well as a season at Milton Keynes Lightning during their EPL term so has a lot of experience of the British game.

Overseas players are Ales Padelek and Petr Stepanek. Ales Padelek is now in his fourth consecutive season with the Phantoms after coming to the UK to join Slough Jets and following Slava Koulikov to Cambridgeshire. He scored at over a point per game in the Phantoms’ last two seasons in the EPL and carried that on with 37 points in 28 league games last season. Petr Stepanek, who replaces the departed Darius Pliskauskas, played with the Phantoms in the last season of EPL recording an impressive 63 points in 53 league games played and returns to Peterborough after putting up 62 points in 35 games in Czech 3 last season.

Koulikov brought in no shortage of fresh blood over the summer but retained Captain James Ferrara with his brother Robert on the blue line and Tom Norton, Will Weldon, Nathan Pollard and Scott Robson.

Head Coach Doug Sheppard spoke looking ahead; “We’ve got a tough weekend ahead, starting on Saturday a team we’ve seen 3 times. We’re familiar with them and every game has been a close game so I’d expect another tight one on Saturday. Sunday we head to Peterborough to face an unbeaten team. We’ve got to make sure we build on the little run we’re on at the moment and bring our A game twice this weekend.”