IT IS the business end of the season and this weekend the TSI World Bracknell Bees benefit from two home games as they take on the Raiders on Saturday night and the Steeldogs on Sunday night.
Following from a four point weekend last weekend the Bees gained no ground on the Raiders who also earned maximum return from their weekend series with Hull Pirates but crucially in beating Leeds and Peterborough the Bees kept themselves right in the race.
Saturday’s opponents sit one place higher than the Bees in the table, ahead by just the equivalent of one win but for the Bees to finish in eighth place they can’t afford to just equalise, they have to overtake the Raiders points tally
Saturday’s game, plus next weekend’s at the Sapphire is the ideal opportunity for the Bees to do that but, heading into this weekend, both teams have control of their own destiny.
Thanks to injury it’s been a challenging season for the Raiders in the netminding department but pleasing for the Raiders fans is that Ethan James has come to the fore this season and established himself as a credible starting option between the pipes. Michael Gray is finally back on the team sheet following injury in what’s now confirmed his last season before retirement.
Erik Piatak leads the Raiders in scoring with 52 points from 35 games, Aaron Connolly comes in second with 50 points from 45 games and Lukas Sladovsky is third with 48 points from 45 games.
On Sunday, also on home ice, the Bees take on the seventh placed Sheffield Steeldogs and Doug Sheppard returns to the bench following the team discipline suspension.
The Steeldogs are lead in scoring by Vladimir Luka with 59 points from 43 games, Ben Morgan follows with 50 points from 44 games.
The Steeldogs come into the weekend off the back of defeats to Basingstoke and Telford giving them a 1-4 record from their last five outings which they’ll be keen to turn around given they could climb to fifth place with just one good weekend.
Head Coach Doug Sheppard looked ahead to this vital weekend; “We’ve been in good form lately and we’ll be looking to keep this going with two home games this weekend.”
Bees play home twice this weekend, Saturday, 6.15 against the Raiders and Sunday 5.30 against the Steeldogs.