28th of September 2017
Weekend Preview - Herd looking to start a good runThis weekend we’re back to our usual Saturday night home game as the Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison line up on home ice against our nearest rivals, the Bracknell Bees.
For the second weekend in a row last weekend the Herd played twice but returned a mixed weekend so Head Coach Doug Sheppard will be looking for his team to get the weekend off to a good start and give them a chance of a great weekend.
The Bees have already suffered defeat to the Bison this season in an early season match up at the Hive. That occasion the Bison ran out winners by a single goal in a three goal game in the National Cup so tonight it’s an opportunity to do the double in National Cup Action against our M3 rivals.
Recent history for the Bees hasn’t made for pleasant reminiscing for the Bracknell supporters. They’ve missed the play-off qualification in the last three years of the EPL under two different ownerships. Indeed a deal had to be done to get the Bees into NIHL1 this season as that berth had previously been occupied by the Hornets who applied to NIHL2 to create the vacant slot for the Bees to apply to the higher league.
The Bees were taken back under the ownership of John Nike Leisuresport in the closed season and with Lukas Smital moving to Slough the Bees coaching job went to Scott Spearing. Spearing moved to sign the existing captain Matt Foord which will be a vital ally in his fledgling coaching career. Arguably though the signing of the summer in Berkshire was the capture of Frankie Bakrlik who returns for a second spell in black and yellow. Bakrlik is a huge physical presence on the ice, he is one of the top talents in the league. Arguably with his size and skill and proven success in the EPL and EIHL he should set alight the NIHL1 this year.
The Bees in their latter EPL years never quite managed to build a team that was capable of doing a job in the higher league on a regular basis but by retaining some of their top talent and bringing Bakrlik back Spearing has assembled a team capable of doing that job in NIHL1.
On Sunday the Herd make the long road trip northbound to face the Sheffield Steeldogs in the Autumn Cup. They were the opponents on home ice last Sunday when Bison enjoyed a good win so will be looking to avenge that in their own barn.
Bison Head Coach Doug Sheppard looked ahead to the weekend saying; “I’m looking for consistency this weekend. We need to put together good performances back to back. We played two of our better games this season so far against the two teams we face this weekend so I'm looking forward to us putting in good performances in front of our home and travelling supporters.”
He added; “I can take a loss if we play the game right and we can leave the ice knowing we've done everything in our power to try and win but it's frustrating that we've played two of our best games in among two less than impressive games. We're having a good week of prep on our physical and mental game and I'm hoping this weekend we can stop the roller coaster and start a positive run.”
Face-off on home ice on Saturday against the Bees is 6.30pm and travelling supporters need to be at Ice Sheffield on Sunday for puck drop at 5.30pm.