BRACKNELL Bees go into the NIHL Final Fours tournament at Coventry this weekend determined to pick themselves up following their disappointing South Cup final defeat by Peterborough Phantoms, writes Dave Wright.

They lost both legs, 7-4 at home and 6-4 away, making it 13-8 on aggregate.

"It was very frustrating," said head coach Doug Sheppard. "We worked very hard at times, but could have been a bit smarter and more disciplined."

All but one of the six goals conceded on Sunday came when they had a man sitting in the sin-bin.

For the Phantoms, it was their third trophy of this season and Bees are one of three sides standing between them and even more silverware.

If they are to meet again, Bees have to beat North One champions Hull Pirates at Coventry on Saturday (1.30pm).

Peterborough then take on Sheffield Steeldogs at 5.30pm, with the winners of both games clashing in the final on Sunday (5pm).

"Hull are a very skilful side, so need to make sure we keep five on the ice," added Sheppard.

"Of the four teams at Coventry, all are capable of winning the final and it would be nice if we can get another shot at Peterborough. Our guys would certainly be up for it."

While Phantoms were the better side last weekend, the final scoreline did not really reflect Bees' hard-working performance over the two nights.

But at the end of the weekend, they were left to rue the slow start they made on Saturday which saw them trail 3-0 going into the first break.

Bees were five goals down before they gave their shocked fans something to cheer, with a goal from Stuart Mogg in the 32nd minute.

After conceding again, the hosts netted their second through Roman Malinik to leave the score 6-2 at the end of the middle stanza.

Bracknell did go on to score twice more through Josh Martin and Malinik, but Ales Padelek's second goal of the match left Phantoms with one hand on the trophy going into their home leg, their other goals having been scored by skipper James Ferrara, Martins Susters, Nathan Pollard, Glenn Billing and Petr Stepanek.

If Sheppard's men were to have any chance of getting back into the game, it was important they scored the opening goal on Sunday – but, sadly for them, it didn't happen as they conceded two first-period goals, both scored by Susters.

Bees were not short of scoring opportunities, but for the second day running, they found Jordan Marr in excellent form between the Phantoms posts.

The teams shared four powerplay goals in the second period with Ed Knaggs and Josh Smith finding the net for Bees, and Corey McEwen and Tom Norton for the hosts, the latter scoring in a five-on-three situation.

Bees continued to show a lack of discipline and the seat in the sin-bin stayed warm with Ben Paynter also thrown out of the game for a checking-to-the-head offence.

Smith, again, and Tyler Vankleef both found the net to the delight of the travelling fans, but the scoring honours went to Susters, who finished with four goals, while having an assist in two others.

Martin became the second Bees player to make a premature departure for attempting to pick a fight with Nathan Long.

Bees will be well represented at Coventry. In addition to the Bees team, they will have a number of off-ice officials on duty.

They are regular volunteers at the Hive and are considered among the best officials in the NIHL.

Steve Merry will be the finals weekend co-ordinator, while Simon King is the off-ice supervisor and they will be supported by Nick King, Lucy Spalton, Matt Whiddett and Mark Hatherley.

Merry said: "I am extremely proud of the off-ice team at Bracknell as they all work hard at every single game. They make my job as team manager an easier one."

Also at Coventry – hopefully on duty as normal – will be Bees' equipment manager Brian Miller.

He was forced to watch last Saturday's game from the stand, as he was nursing whiplash injuries after being involved in a traffic accident on the A329(M) at Winnersh on his way to the rink for a training session last week.

He had to be cut out of his vehicle by firemen and spent several hours on a spinal board.