Bracknell Bees’ player-coach Lukas Smital looks back on a great weekend for the Bees.
For any EPIHL team, writes Niall Gray, three games in four days is a tough ask and when you’ve only got two wins to your name all season, it can seem even more difficult.
But the Bracknell Bees rose to the challenge superbly last week as they picked up four points out of a possible six to move up to ninth in the table.
It was the Bees’ first intensive stretch of the season and Lukas Smital’s side got off to the best possible start last Thursday with a 3-0 victory at the Sheffield Steeldogs.
“We played well and a lot of things clicked,” said the Bees’ player-coach.
“There was a good atmosphere before the game, everything just felt right and we did everything we said we were going to do.
“It just felt good and [shows] we can do the right things if people put their minds to it.”
The fact that the Bees made the long midweek trek to Sheffield minus a few players and still managed to come away with a shutout win was a source of great pride for Smital.
“Absolutely it was,” he said. “Especially coming against Sheffield as they have been playing really well.”
“It was a good win for our confidence and gave us a little boost.”
He added, “Our youngsters played quite well, especially Olegs [Lascenko] and [Josh] Smith, they were strong.
“They, along with Luka [Basic] were the difference, but we were also quite strong defensively.”
Two nights later the Bees were back at the Hive to take on the Manchester Phoenic and Smital’s side were able to come away with a 3-2 win, recording their first home victory of the season in the process and moving up to ninth in the table.
“It is great to get that first [home] win,” said Smital.
“Coming off that Sheffield win we had the belief, we battled and were up for pretty much the whole game.
“I said to the guys in the room that a month earlier we might have stuggled to hang on for the win but this time we were able to hang on and quite comfortably.
“We didn’t give them many opportunities to put a lot of pressure on us, which was good.”
He added, “Like I said before, it’s a learning curve and we’re learning a lot from every game.”
On Sunday, the Bees made anoter long trek north, this time to Hull. However, they couldn’t make it three wins in a row as the Pirates took a 4-1 win over a Bees side that was missing Smital and Martin Pavlicek due to injury.
Despite the defeat, Smital took some positives from the game.
“I thought we played really well,” he said.
“We were two imports down so we had to shuffle the line-ups a little bit.
“They scored one powerplay and the third one was a very nice goal too and it just shows the talent they have on that one line with Andrej Themar, the top goal-scorer in the league for a reason.”
Smital, “We had a lot of pressure at times and one of those games where we had a number of scoring opportunities … but just couldn’t put it away.
“It’s good to see that we kept going to the end.”