Smital satisfied after Bracknell Bees warm-up gamesBy Adam Lee
September 12, 2012
Lukas Smital believes Bracknell Bees’ pre-season games with Slough Jets were the perfect preparation for the new campaign, even if the results didn’t necessarily go to plan.
Playing for the Berkshire Cycles Cup, Bees found a new-look Slough team that bit too strong, losing 6-2 over the two-leg affair.
Saturday’s 4-1 win for Slough was overshadowed by a bench clearance on the final buzzer as Frantisek Bakrlik lashed out at James Galazzi.
In the aftermath, Bees forward Matt Foord and Jets players Adam Greener and Bakrlik were both given match penalties and missed the following night’s second leg.
Having outshot their opponents 46-29 on Saturday, Bees would have been confident of overturning their three-goal deficit at the Hive on Sunday.
However, they found Gregg Rockman in the Jets goal as impressive as ever as they once again outshot their hosts but still lost, this time 2-1.
But it was performances, rather than results, which assistant coach Smital was concerned with.
“It’s more about getting getting back to the tempo, the intenstity and finding match fitness,” he said.
“Of course you want to win, but in terms of points it really only starts to matter next weekend. We wanted to play hard, skate hard and try to get the passes and timing right.
“I thought we did quite well, but we just couldn’t score the goals, which happens sometimes.
“The chances were there, though, we are pleased with our fitness and hopefully the team structure will be much better next week.”
The two games were a good opportunity to see how Bees would line up this season as they revert to a two import defenceman and two import forward set-up for the first time in three years.
And the early signs are as expected, with Bees looking well-drilled and solid on the D, but lacking a little bit of spark in attack.
Granted, the chances were there on Saturday, but Smital and head coach Gareth Cox will be looking for more killer instinct in front of goal when the EPIHL season gets underway on Saturday.
Perhaps the biggest positive of the two games as far as Bees were concerned was the performances of new Slovakian defenceman Jan Bendick.
The blue liner appears to be a dominant physical presence and also composed on the puck, while once he manages to find his range, his slapshot looks destined to be a real weapon for Bees on the powerplay.
And the early signs suggest he could be a real find for Cox and Smital.
Smital revealed how Saturday's game was a bit of a baptism for the new man.
“It was a little bit shock for Jan and he asked me if there was fight every night,” he said.
“He was one of the best players out there this weekend, though. He can move the puck very well, he adapts quick and is a talented player.”
Bees’ league season begins with games against two of the title favourites as they visit Basingstoke Bison on Saturday (6.30pm face-off) before hosting Guildford Flames on Sunday (6pm).
Slough Jets 4 Bracknell Bees 1: Period: 2-0, 2-0, 0-1. SOG: 29-46. PIM: 92-68. Jets: Bakrlik 2+0, Barker 1+1, Connolly 1+0, Davies 0+2, Kieras, Bruce 0+1. Bees: Bronnimann 1+0, Smital, Thompson 0+1.
Bracknell Bees 1 Slough Jets 2: Period: 1-1, 0-0, 0-1. SOG: 34-29, PIM: 28-38: Bees: Masa 1+0, Bendick, Smital 0+1. Jets: Bruce, Kozic 1+0, Davies, Kieras, Towalski 0+1.