EPL weekend preview

Bracknell Bees face Swindon Wildcats on Sunday looking to build on last week’s EPL win against MK Lightning.

The victory was Bees’ fifth at the Hive this season and captain Matt Foord is hoping for more of the same this weekend.

“The guys worked hard and played well, which is good,” said Foord. “It was a really difficult night in Basingstoke and obviously things did not go our way and that was frustrating, but on Sunday I think we played really well.

“We have played well at home this year and we wanted to really get back on track, try and win tonight and see if we can get some momentum and climb the table.

“I don’t think anyone had a bad game. If we work hard, work smart and play to our potential every night then we can beat anyone in the league, but we have got to find a way of doing that night in, night out.”

MK bid to bounce back from last week’s double disappointment as they travel to Basingstoke Bison on Saturday, before returning to home ice the following day to face Sheffield Steeldogs.

After losing in overtime at home to Guildford Flames, MK put in a wretched performance at Bracknell as they crashed to a 7-2 defeat.

Head Coach Pete Russell wasn’t shocked by the result: “This league is crazy – every team is capable of beating each other on any night – that’s great for the whole league,” said Russell.

“I said earlier in the season that if you take a night off, you’re in trouble – and we experienced that on Sunday night in Bracknell. But it wasn’t because the guys didn’t want to be there or want to win or play well. Sometimes it just happens.”

“There have been some very close and exciting games so far this year and long may that continue. I admit sometimes we haven’t had the final result we all wanted – but there have been some fantastic games.”

Guildford will look to keep up the pressure on the teams above them with victory at home to Hull Pirates on Saturday.

Defeat at Telford Tigers last Sunday left Flames three points behind Peterborough Phantoms and Basingstoke Bison and just two adrift of MK going into the weekend, and Player/Coach Paul Dixon is hoping for a positive performance against the Pirates.

“At Milton Keynes we played a very solid game,” said Dixon. “I thought we were tight in our own zone and kept a lot of their shots to the outside. We dug in well when they had pressure on us, and we were comfortable five on five.

“It was a great team win with everyone competing hard to get a result, so it is always rewarding when that work earns us that little bit of extra good fortune in overtime to take home the second point.

“In Telford we had some quality chances that we didn’t turn into goals, and we spent too much time killing penalties. The team worked very hard, so we cannot fault the effort or the desire to bring home a win.

“It was just one of those evenings where it was not going to turn out for us, so we have to look ahead to Hull’s visit here on Saturday and see what we can do to generate a more favourable outcome.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

Basingstoke Bison v MK Lightning
Guildford Flames v Hull Pirates
Sheffield Steeldogs v Telford Tigers
Swindon Wildcats v Manchester Phoenix

Sunday

Bracknell Bees v Swindon Wildcats
Manchester Phoenix v Peterborough Phantoms
MK Lightning v Sheffield Steeldogs
Telford Tigers v Hull Pirates

(Image: Bob Swann)

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