08:00AM, Saturday 27 November 2021
Photo credit: Kevin Slyfield
Bees Ice Hockey Club find themselves bottom of the NIHL National League standings ahead of this weekend's double head with the Telford Tigers.
The Bees have been struggling for results and points in recent weeks, losing 5-4 to the Swindon Wildcats on Sunday, just 24 hours after their 4-2 loss on the road at Leeds Knights.
It's left them bottom of the table on six points having won just three of their 12 league matches to date. They're also bottom of the form league without a win in their last five matches.
There are no such problems for the Telford Tigers, who currently sit third in the division, however, they were pipped 4-3 in their last outing against Milton Keynes Lightning.
Coached by Tom Watkins, they've had their fair share of success in recent seasons and, with two matches in hand on leaders Sheffield Steeldogs and a five-point deficit to make up, they have a roster that could once again contend for honours.
The Bees start on home ice at the Slough Ice Arena with a 6pm face-off, before heading into the Tigers den on Sunday, 6pm start.
Head coach Doug Sheppard could take plenty of positives from Sunday's narrow 5-4 defeat to the Wildcats, but once again their efforts yielded no league points.
For long periods the Bees were in control and, with players to return from injury, there is optimism their run of defeats will be broken very soon.
They've been unable to field their full roster in any game this season with Josh Smith missing out again last weekend following an injury he sustained in the previous round of matches.
Niklas Ornmarker did return to scoring form on Sunday night, though, as he continues to feel his way back from injury.
Bayley Harewood also missed last weekend's matches after picking up an injury in training, but he'll be hopeful of returning to the ice this or next weekend.
Sheppard said: “We have to be positive more than anything. Our compete level has been a lot higher over the last two weeks but when you find yourself in a rut it doesn’t just change instantly.
“We need to learn from the last fortnight where we’ve had chances to win all four games and specifically, we need to really focus on putting together a full 60 minutes of play.
“We seem to be switching off for five or 10-minute segments during the game and that’s hurt us.”