Week ahead preview – Bounce back needed

This weekend Head Coach of the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees, Doug Sheppard will be demanding an immediate bounce-back performance from his team as they have just one game across the weekend when Milton Keynes Thunder visit the Hive on Sunday at 6.00pm

The game on Sunday is of double importance as not only are there two points to be gained in the league competition but it’s also the team’s final run out ahead of the mid-week fixture against Peterborough Phantoms in the Cup competition.

Sunday’s opponents, like last weekend’s, have had a troubled start to the season and faced a touch and go period surrounding their continuation but raised sufficient funds to keep the club going.

The club’s line up has talent and experience but for some reason, the results haven’t come in the volume that Head Coach Lewis Clifford would have been hoping for.

Ollie Stone, Jamie Line, Grant McPherson, Ross Green, Tom Carlon, Greg Randall, Ross Bowers, Gareth O’Flaherty and Tom Annetts all have experience playing in the EPL before it’s demise and Jordan Lawday is one of the best upcoming Brit goalies.

Lewis Clifford will be keen to get his team firing soon and make ground on the top six with an 18 point deficit needing to be overcome to reach the top six.

Next Wednesday the Bees are on home ice for what has now become the second leg of the Cup Semi-Final. The original date for the home leg had to be postponed due to weather so the Bees game now becomes the second leg.

Phantoms ran out winners 6-3 in their home leg but have been to the Hive twice so far in 2019 and on both those occasions the Bees triumphed. In early January the game went to overtime to while a couple of weeks later Bees ran out emphatic 8-2 winners in the next meeting.

Phantoms net is guarded by Jordan Marr and there’s no shortage of experience in front of him. Non-EIHA trained players Ales Padelek and Petr Stepanek both have played for the Phantoms in their EPL days along with a number of Slava Koulikov’s Brit pack on the team.

Bees will need to overturn a 3 goal deficit to progress to the final but next Wednesday is an AVSS School Zone game and we expect a huge attendance at the Hive right behind the team.

Head Coach Doug Sheppard commented; “We need to put together a solid 60 minute performance on Sunday. It’s important we don’t start looking to the cup game on Wednesday until we have Sunday complete. You can’t just flip a switch and be ready to play a Cup Semi-Final game. But we know our game needs to change and it needs to change starting Sunday.”

Bees play at home on Sunday at 6.00pm against Milton Keynes Thunder and on Wednesday at 7.30pm against Peterborough Phantoms.