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Bees’ Review and Preview

Niall Gray of Hoops & Hockey ( caught up with Bees Head Coach Lukas Smital

Any victory over a local rival is a great one where Bracknell Bees fans are concerned and they got to savour such an occurrence last weekend after the Bees picked up their second road win of the campaign, winning 4-3 at Guildford Flames.

After initially going behind 1-0, the Bees stormed back to take a 3-1 lead of their own. Late penalty problems saw the home side tie the game up at 3-3, before Alex Barker sealed the win with a goal just 89 seconds from time.

It was a result that left Bees’ player-coach Lukas Smital a happy man.

“I thought we played great the whole game,” he said. “As a team everything clicked, we did exactly the things we were talking about in the room and we pretty much dominated that game in the key areas.

“Towards the end we got into a little penalty trouble and they scored twice [to tie the game].

“I think it was the very next shift when Scott Spearing and Alex Barker broke through the neutral zone and Scott made an unbelievable pass to A-Bar, and he just put it away.

“We just hung on for that last minute and a half and [the victory] was just a great feeling.”

Unfortunately the Bees couldn’t make it a derby double as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at home to Basingstoke Bison on Sunday, Luka Basic scoring a late, late consolation goal.

“It wasn’t too bad a performance, but we made a few more mistakes than we made on Saturday and unluckily for us, we were punished for that,” admitted Smital.

“Overall I thought it was an exciting game,” he added. “We had a few chances to put it away and on any other night it could be a different story.

“I was OK with the team performance; obviously not as great as it was on Saturday but I could see the improvements.”

The weekend saw the debut of 19-year-old Oļegs Laščenko, who hails from Latvia but is British-trained having played for junior teams in Romford and more recently, Chelmsford.

“He became available as Chelmsford didn’t seem to have a spot for him,” Smital explained.

“I said to him to come over and I was impressed immediately; he fits the style we want to play and he’s got the right mindset.”

He added, “Olegs can play as a d-man and a forward [equally well], and that is very rare to see, especially at that age.”

Next up for the Bees is a trip on Saturday to Milton Keynes Lightning, who are flying high in the league at the moment and sitting in second place, one point behind leaders, Telford.

The Bees were on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline in MK on the opening weekend of the season and they were unlucky not to get at least a point from the recent meeting at the Hive, which the Lightning edged, 3-2.

“MK play well at home, it’s a good, big ice and they have a lot of speed,” said Smital.

“We will have to be very disciplined in key areas as they’ve got some very strong players there.

“We have to be aware of that, stick to our plan and try to execute as well as we can.

“Hopefully we will have strong goal-tending and be disciplined and strong in our defensive responsibilities.”

Making their second visit of the season to Bracknell are the Sheffield Steeldogs, who will be at the Hive on Sunday evening.

Bees also faced the Steeldogs on the opening weekend of the season, the side from South Yorkshire taking a 5-2 victory back up the M1.

After promising performances at the Hive recently, Smital is hoping the Bees break their home duck this weekend, but knows it won’t be easy.

“We’re still looking for that first home win and we’ll do our best to beat them,” he said, adding, “There are no weak teams, every game is very tough.

“We just need to be switched on against Sheffield, disciplined again and believe we can break that spell.”

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