Cox: My best weekend as Bracknell Bees coachBy Adam Lee
February 15, 2012
Bracknell Bees coach Gareth Cox admitted that last weekend’s three-point haul is probably his most important in the 22 months he has been in charge at the club.
Despite their impressive recent form, few would have given Bees hope of collecting any points from the weekend’s games, away at MK Lightning and then at home to Guildford Flames.
But by taking MK into overtime, and then beating local rivals Guildford on penalty shots, Bees sent out a stark warning to the rest of the EPIHL.
Despite their lowly position, which still sees them teetering on the brink of an end-of-season play-off spot, Bees have now beaten every team in the league.
They have shown that they are more than capable of mixing it with the top teams, and Cox was delighted with his players.
Asked if this ranked as one of his best weekends in charge, Cox said: “Yes, I definitely think so, especially with the team’s we’ve been up against.
“The week before last was quite nice (losing to Peterborough Peterborough in overtime and beating Manchester Phoenix).
“We just keep picking off points and that’s all we’ve got to do.
“It was a huge one this weekend. We now have eight points from a possible 10 and I’m really happy.
“The form recently has been really good and it’s great credit to the boys – it’s brought us confidence and could help pull us clear.
“We’ve definitely got a bit more of momentum, but we’ve still got 18 games left – it’s a very long way to go.
“But if we keep picking up points and consistency at the weekend that’s all we can ask for.”
On Saturday night in Buckinghamshire, Bees led 2-1 courtesy of goals from Shaun Thompson and Michael Bowman, only for MK to fight back and claim the win with a powerplay goal in overtime.
Sunday night’s game at the Hive, in front of a reported 1,800 fans, was an exhilarating affair where the initiative swung back and forth.
Bees led three times in the game, and probably should have had the game sewn up in regulation.
However, Bees were guilty of some awful errors at times, handing Guildford two short-handed goals in the space of eight second-period minutes.
Guildford drew the game level at 5-5 with 28 seconds left on the clock, and felt hard done by when a goal right on the buzzer at the end of overtime was washed out.
But Cox insisted that, after all the bad decisions that have gone against them this season, they deserved that little bit of luck.
“On Saturday I think it was a point gained rather than a point lost, and it was a good point on the road,” he said.
“They got a bit of a lucky goal and I think we deserved our point.
“I thought we played very well on Sunday and dominated large periods of the game.
“They outshot us heavily in the first, but then in the second we had three power plays and they didn’t have one.
“You wouldn’t really expect them to score two short-handed goals and I wasn’t very pleased, let’s put it that way.
“I don’t think we’ll be scored on again on the PP for a while – I went a bit crazy in the changing room.
“We conceded two in one period and they were both terrible.
“Guildford create enough chances on their own without us helping them out and I think we helped them out with three goals.
“But that’s hockey and the way they battled back and did their job was fantastic.”
Bees have the chance to close the gap on sixth-placed Basingstoke Bison when they make the short trip down the M3 on Saturday night (6.30pm face-off), before Sheffield Steeldogs, by far the most improved team in the league this year, visit the Hive on Sunday (6pm).
MK Lightning 3 Bracknell Bees 2 (after OT): Period: 1-0, 0-2, 1-0, 1-0. SOG: 35-24. PIM: 6-24. Lightning: Jamieson 1+2, Emersic 1+1, Zatopek 1+0, Tikkanen, Carr, Christie 0+1. Bees: Bowman 1+1, Thompson 1+0, Lamey, Skene 0+1.
Bracknell Bees 5 Guildford Flames 4 (after OT and pens): Period: 1-1, 1-2, 3-2, 1-0. SOG: 34-48. PIM: 22-22. Bees: Thompson 2+0, Masa, Jasik 1+2, Smital 1+1, Lamey, Galazzi, Bowman 0+1. Flames: Rempel 3+1, Chambers, Kohut 1+0, Melicherik, Towe, Longstaff 0+2.