Bees captain Stuart Mogg says the inclusion of Elite League established players in the Spring Cup has given him a great opportunity to measure himself.
The 26-year-old is enjoying the chance to work with top flight players as well as play against them in the competition.
And he looked at the positives despite his team going down to Swindon Wildcats last weekend in their opening games.
“Having the Elite League players, it adds a layer of difficulty and a concept I’m not really used to,” Mogg said. “In a normal season, you come up against the same guys so it’s nice to have a refreshing challenge of coming up against true professionals at the top of their game.
“It gives you the chance to measure yourself against these players and from last weekend, just coming up against Ben Davies and Matthew Myers lets me see how I can adapt my game.
Sunday 28th February 14:00 Face Off
Bees v @Telford_Tigers in #NIHLSpringCup2021
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— Bees Ice Hockey Club (@BeesIceHockey) February 22, 2021
“We have Ciaran (Long), (Josh) Waller and Hooky (Lewis Hook) so training with them lets me see how I can improve and can help everyone on the team see the sort of level they play at. It can make our team to push ourselves to want to be in that position.
“The weekend was difficult. Swindon are a good team and it’s a good rivalry we have with them. We had a good first period on Saturday, but our lack of ice time maybe got to us as they took control. They had the legs for the rest of the game.
“Coming back on Sunday, we took them all the way to overtime. We had the lead after the first and the second periods, they maybe had that extra jump and while it’s disappointing not to take the two points, especially from a 3-1 lead, you can look at it as a positive.
“As we gel over the coming weeks, we’ll look to improve with every game.”
For Bees, it was their first game in their new permanent home at Slough Ice Arena on Sunday when they took Swindon to overtime, eventually going down 5-4, but with a point to show for their efforts.
Mogg played there when he was younger so was familiar with the new surroundings, but reckons the smaller ice pad could prove tricky for opponents in later games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Bees 4 Swindon Wildcats 5 (OT)
He added: “I know Slough quite well and played there for a couple of years in juniors. They’ve did it up since of course, but coming from Bracknell, where it was an Olympic size pad, it is different.
“The neutral zone is tiny by comparison so it takes a bit of getting used to. It could certainly be a formidable place for us to play in. A lot of teams might struggle with the smaller ice and could be a tough place for people to come.
“Personally though, it was amazing to get back. After 11 months of ‘maybes’ and ‘it might happen’, it was incredible to get back out there and do what I love.
“It meant a lot to everyone, from the players, to the fans and even ‘Shepp’ (Bees coach Doug Sheppard) to be back in action.”