ICE HOCKEY: Coach uses lean Bee approach

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DAVE WHISTLE believes a limited number of players on the bench has been the key to his success at Bracknell Bees. The coach led his side to a surprise Superleague championship finals last season in his first year in charge at Amen Corner after taking over from Jim Fuyarchuk.

Although their interest ended with a semi-final defeat to Nottingham Panthers, their fourth-place finish forced people to sit up and take note. Determined to show that their excellent efforts were no flash in the pan, Bees have picked up where they left off and are top of the Superleague after the opening weekend of the season. A five-win run has also seen them gain a quarter-final place in the B&H Cup.

As his side prepared for tomorrow's visit of play-off champions Cardiff Devils, Whistle said: "During the summer I decided to go with a short bench because players don't want to come and sit on the bench and I didn't want to them to. You don't need four lines to play on a regular basis if you have good enough players."

They will still be without Chris Baxter (broken hand) while Devils, who meet Manchester Storm tonight, have Aaron Boh and Jason Stone struggling with injuries.

Depleted Panthers could be without Steve Carpenter and Marc Twaite for the visit of Ayr Scottish Eagles, who have doubts over Ryan Kummu, Jim Mathieson and Dino Bauba.

Matt Hoffman is poised to play his 100th Superleague game when Sheffield Steelers welcome Newcastle Riverkings to the Sheffield Arena.