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Match Report - Bracknell Bees 7 - 2 Swindon Wildcats

posted 31 Dec 2017, 05:30 by john slater

Match report by Ashley Willitt

On the back of a wonderful night in Bracknell on Wednesday where the Bees played the Hornets. The celebration of hockey in Bracknell in order to raise money for Orchid - fighting male cancer, was followed by the Bees welcoming the Swindon Wildcats to the Hive on Saturday, to close out 2017.

The National Cup competition has not been kind to the Bees this year and this game was something of a 'dead rubber' with the Bees already eliminated and the Wildcats qualifying from the group stages several games ago.

Missing from the Bees line-up was Shaun Thompson - although he warmed up pre-game - Josh Tetlow away with the Nottingham Panthers and Ben Ealey-Newman through suspension. Added were Bracknell under 18 Dan Fay and welcomed back from suspension was Danny Ingoldsby.    Swindon were without Chris Jones but added up-and-coming juniors Deakan Fielder, Reed Sayers and Michael Power to their line-up.

Starting netminders were Alex Mettam for Bracknell and former Bracknell goalie Matt Smital for Swindon.   Refereeing the nights tie was Matthew Thompson with linesmen Nathan Carmichael and Jason Earl.

It was Swindon who came out to start the first looking the hungrier and more organised. With scrappy forward Floyd Taylor shooting the puck in from the angle, Mettam made a pad save but was unable to direct it away from the onrushing Michael Power, who tucked home his first shot of the game to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead after just 4 minutes. Jan Kostal, the Wildcats captain, was also out to cause problems and if not for Mettam the score would have doubled shortly after. As it was, the Bees organised themselves quickly and came back on the offensive. Callum Best with loads of room coming down the right side of the ice and with a move inside the defenceman struck a shot that tinged in off the underside of the bar, levelling the scores at 1 apiece. It was fairly even in terms of attacks throughout the period with Frankie Bakrlik smashing a slapshot in on goal which was well saved by Smital. At the other end, Mettam was on hand yet again to save the day with a couple of fantastic saves, first against Whitfield and later against Kostal, both on breakaways. A Tom Avery slip almost let the Wildcats in to regain the lead, but some fantastic covering by Harvey Stead prevented a shot on goal.

Into the second and following a minor penalties each for Sam Bullas of Swindon and Scott Spearing of the Bees, both teams were down to 4 skaters. On a Bees attack a slapshot by Bakrlik hit the bar and the follow up by Best hit the post and just as Bakrlik was about to pull the trigger on another slapshot he got upended and the Bees went on a powerplay. Smital was keeping the 'Cats in the game as the Bees were firing on all cylinders, peppering his goal with shots. He couldn't do much about yet another Bakrlik slapshot on the half hour mark, as it rifled its way in giving Bracknell a well-deserved lead. Less than a minute later and the Bees had increased this lead following a shot that went high over the bar. The rebound fell nicely for Jan Bendik who tucked home past the sprawling Smital. At the other end of the ice Mettam made a huge double save against Kostal and Nell, ensuring the Bees 2 goal cushion. To cap off a wonderful 5 minutes of hockey. Josh Martin got his seventh goal of the season. After Smital had saved a couple of shots by James Galazzi and Alex Barker he was pulled too far out of position and with little help from his defence, unable to stop Martin, giving the Bees a 4-1 lead. Swindon would have the last word of the period as, just as a powerplay for them had come to an end Phil Hill squeezed the puck past Mettam following dogged work by Max Birbraer.

The 3rd period was all Bracknell. Too much pressure on Smital in the Wildcats goal meant more goals were inevitable. Swindon were playing on the back of several games over the festive period and looked tired. The Bees on the other hand looked fresh and revived and with a new found sense of confidence. Fore-checking was brilliant all night by Carl Thompson and Harvey Stead and non-more so by the latter when his hard work helped free up the puck along the boards for Barker to pick it up, cut around the defenceman and pass to Bakrlik who struck it through the legs of Smital. The Bees were playing like a team again and with Bakrlik and Barker working hard they helped set up Thompson who, despite taking two bites at it, managed to chop the puck in bringing the score to 6-2. Despite it being all Bracknell, Mettam had to keep sharp and was called into action a couple of times, saving well and giving up no rebounds. Just as the clock was winding down, Galazzi and Jared Lane were still pushing hard, both looking hungry to get on the score sheet. With passes going between the two, in stepped Bakrlik whose shot was initially saved by Smital only for Lane to chase after the puck, feed Galazzi who scored with just 1 second on the clock.

7-2 it ended and despite it not meaning much in regards to competition standings, it showed the huge home crowd that the Bees were not about to give up on the season just yet!

Match stats
Period Scores: 1-1; 3-1; 3-0
Bees scorers: Bakrlik 2+1; Galazzi & Martin 1+1; C.Thompson, Best & Bendik 1+0; Barker 0+2; Fay, Norcliffe, Spearing, Ingoldsby, Lane & Stead 0+1
Wildcats scorers: Power & Hill 0+1; Taylor & Birbraer 0+1
Bees PIMS: 6 (Norcliffe, Spearing & Bench 2)
Wildcats PIMS: 8 (Taylor, Bullas, Kostal & Whitfield 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 30 (13, 13, 4)
Shots on Wildcats (Smital): 43 (10, 17, 16)