Cox full of praise for his injury-hit Bracknell BeesBy Adam Lee
October 17, 2012
Gareth Cox paid tribute to his injury-ridden squad after they pulled together to end a three-game losing streak by defeating Swindon 3-2 on Sunday evening.
Having been beaten 6-4 in Slough on Saturday, Cox’s threadbare squad was left in tatters following a string of illness and injuries – with the coach likening Bees’ bench to a casualty waiting room.
Slough Jets, themselves facing a few injury concerns, did their best to even things up – albeit unintentionally.
With Marcel Petran and Lukas Smital already struggling with illness, Bees lost Andy Munroe and Matt Foord after the pair were caught by high sticks.
Munroe suffered a broken nose, while Foord needed seven stitches to his face.
The worst injury of the night, however, was suffered by Martin Masa, who took a slapshot to the face and was rushed to hospital, where he also needed stitches before leaving A&E at 4am.
Scott Spearing (elbow) and Grant Rounding (hamstring) also took knocks on Saturday, and with Ollie Bronnimann unavailable for the fourth successive weekend, Bees needed a monumental effort to return to winning ways on Sunday against Swindon Wildcats.
Bees impressed and frustrated in equal measure, showing great character to fight back from a goal behind to go 2-1 ahead, only for Swindon to tie things up by the end of the first.
The score remained the same for the final 40 minutes, and throughout over-time, setting up the drama of a penalty shoot-out.
And after a combined total of nine misses, Smital, reluctant to step up due to his illness, was effectively pushed out onto the ice by his coach, and succeeded where so many had failed to secure two points for Bees.
“He (Smital) didn’t really want to take one because he’s not feeling too well, but I made him get out there and take one,” said Cox.
“I’m glad I did. It was like A&E on the bench, so it was fantastic for the boys to get the win.
“I wasn’t expecting Masa to play and had doubts on many more.
“It shows the team character, though. They all want to go out an put a shift in.
“I don’t think many other guys would stay in hospital until 4am and then go out and play the sort of minutes Masa had to just a few hours later.
“The win was huge for us. It was a tense, but a good one and it was what we needed after Saturday.
“I’m just glad we bounced back.
“We were so poor defensively at Slough and we were much better on Sunday.
“We’ve got great character in the team and they are always looking to fight on and they never give up so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem to come back.”
Bees will play the return fixture against Swindon on Saturday night in Wiltshire (5.45pm face-off) and then welcome Sheffield Steeldogs to the Hive on Sunday (6pm).
Spearing is expected to return if the swelling in his elbow goes down, while Bronnimann is also hopeful of making the bench if he comes through this week’s training sessions unscathed.
Slough Jets 6 Bracknell Bees 4: Period: 3-0, 1-3, 2-1. SOG: 36-46. PIM: 33-14. Jets: Bakrlik 3+1, Davies 1+2, Wales, Barker 1+0, Bruce 0+3, Miles, Pliskauskas 0+2, Kieras 0+1. Bees: Smital 1+2, Lamey, Lack, Bendik 1+0, Galazzi, Thompson, Oakford, Rounding, Spearing 0+1.
Bracknell Bees 3 Swindon Wildcats 2 (After OT and pens): Period: 2-2, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0. SOG: 33-22. PIM: 4-14. Bees: Smital 1+1, Masa, Petran 1+0, Lamey, Thompson 0+1. Wildcats: Hoog 2+0, Jones, Nell 0+1