BRACKNELL Bees head coach Doug Sheppard said he could not have asked for any more from his side after seeing them defeat Raiders to reach the semi-finals of the NIHL South 1 play-offs, writes Dave Wright.

A 6-3 aggregate victory earned them a mouth-watering clash against league winners Swindon Wildcats this coming weekend, with the home leg at The Hive on Saturday.

"It was arguably our most complete 60 minutes of the year," commented Sheppard following their 4-2 second leg win over Raiders.

"We played with great intensity and showed we can play how we need to at this time of year. We are beginning to hit our stride and that showed in all dimensions of our play.

"There were contributions up and down the line, which was good.

"We put bodies on the line, got in uncomfortable situations, blocking shots.

"There was a good amount of help in defence. We have been collapsing at times, but tonight the guys gave everything, which is what you want in the play-offs."

Sheppard continued: "Romford are a tough team and we had to battle hard, but we played a real smart game, making good decisions. Once our guys got the lead they gained momentum and won nice and comfortably;"

The head coach was delighted with the noisy support his team received at the John Nike Way rink last Sunday and is hoping for something similar for this coming Saturday (6pm face-off), saying: "For the guys to play in front of a tremendous atmosphere is a huge benefit."

He added: "We've proved throughout the season we are a match for the Wildcats, with three wins to each side, so I believe it will be a tightly contested series this weekend. As usual, we will go into the games feeling confident.

"The league leaders are a very good team, but we are a good team ourselves, so we will see what happens this weekend."

The second leg is at Swindon on Sunday with a 4.15pm face-off.

Wildcats booked their semi-final place in the most emphatic way, outclassing league tailenders Invicta Dynamos 24-5 on aggregate after winning 11-1 at home and 13-4 in the return.

The other semi-final is between Basingstoke Bison and Peterborough Phantoms.