Weekend Preview – Play-offs are here

The regular season is history now, the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees concluding their most successful league campaign in recent history with a win over Raiders IHC who also happen to be the Play-Off opponents for the first round.

For the next two weeks teams will fight to secure their place at Coventry and in the South Play-off Finals. The Play-offs start with a home and away quarter-final with the winner of each quarter final going on to a home and away semi-final. The semi-final winners secure their position for the Coventry finals weekend where the South will meet the North for the chance to be 2019 Play-off champion but the weekend before Coventry the South and North winning semi-finalists will play in their own regional finals series, home and away for the chance to be South and North conference Play-off champion. In a curious twist the losing finalist in the regional finals still gets to play at Coventry.

Bees secured fourth place in the league which gives them the 4 vs 5 tie in the opening round against the Raiders IHC.

Last weekend Bees played a Play-off preview against the Raiders at the Hive with the home team running out 4-2 winners but this weekend the intensity will be higher with the losing team on aggregate knowing their season is over.

Roman Malinik finished the regular season as Bees leading scorer with 53 points and Vanya Antonov led the Brits in scoring with 48 points. Juraj Huska finished the regular season the most productive of the Raiders with 52 points and Aaron Connolly was the leading Brit scorer on 47 points.

The weekend starts in Romford as the Raiders host the Bees at Sapphire Ice on Saturday night with the second leg being held in Bracknell on Sunday night.

Head Coach Doug Sheppard looked ahead to the weekend; “Playoff hockey is the best time of year with the intensity and physicality picking up. It’s win or go home, so everyone will be putting their bodies on the line.

Bees play in Romford at 5.15 on Saturday and at the Hive on Sunday at 6.00.