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Match report: Basingstoke Bison 2 - 5 Bracknell Bees

posted 2 Oct 2017, 12:46 by John Slater
Report by Ashley Willitt

On the last Saturday of September the Bees took the short trip down the A33 to pay a visit to fierce local rivals Basingstoke, hoping to avenge the defeat from earlier in the month when the Bees lost a tight game 2-1 at the Hive.  The starting netminders were two of the best shot stoppers in the league, in Alex Mettam for the Bees and Dean Skinns for the Bison.

The first period was incredible tense with neither side wanting to give anything away. Several decent chances fell each side’s way but with both goalies proving their worth early on. Player/coach Scott Spearing was given a great chance after around five minutes after tearing down the middle of the ice, bringing out a huge glove save by Skinns. An early high sticks penalty on Bees defenceman Harvey Stead was easily seen off and the game continued in its back and forth fashion. Mettam was looking solid with every opportunity the Bison had, paired with great defensive positioning, the Bees back line held firm. Up the other end of the ice, the attacking prowess of Shaun Thompson, Frankie Bakrlik and Jared Lane were combining well. Trading in Josh Martin on one particular attack, the Bees young forward had a great opportunity reversing the puck across the crease only to be stopped by the legs of Skinns.   The Bees had a late power play where the best chance of it came to Captain Matt Foord, who from just inside the blue line brought out yet another huge glove save from Skinns.

The second period started off as yet another battle of the goal tenders, this time Mettam producing a fine save after his defence was caught puck watching and Czech forward Jaroslav Cesky found himself open only to be stopped by the Bees goalie. The deadlock was broken in the 29th minute when Aaron Connelly was played through the middle by Kurt Reynolds. He deked left and right and got Mettam to sprawl his legs early and was able to slot the puck beyond his reach. The Bees, clearly annoyed at such a lapse only took just over a minute to level the score after a small scramble around the crease and the puck found its way in after coming off Steve Osman last. Bracknell weren't done there as after some more quick pressure Jan Bendik made it 2-1, beating Skinns straight from a face-off win, blasting it from inside the blue line.

The Bees were not only beating the Bison in the scoring, but were significantly out-muscling the home team all over the ice. Former Bee Vanya Antonov found this out the hard way when trying to squeeze through the defence. He found big Czech forward Bakrlik in his way who checked him to the boards from somewhere near the face off dots! More good goal tending from both teams prevented further scoring, especially from Mettam who took a puck to the face to keep it out. It wasn't long into the period before the Bees dominance shone through and in form Thompson made it 3-1 with a great pass from Tom Avery after some dogged work to the side of the net. It took just a couple of minutes for the Bees to increase their lead when Bakrlik  blasted the puck home from about 15 feet out, Skinns with no chance. The Bees defensive efforts were not going to slow down either as some great back checking from James Galazzi prevented a good chance for the Bison. The icing on this particular cake came in the form of an incredible finish from Frankie Bakrlik. After skating in alone with just Skinns to beat, he went left, then right and just when it looked like the chance had gone, slid the puck back and with his stick between his legs, flipped the puck high over the helpless goalie. A goal reminiscent of the one he scored in the 2017 playoff final sent the visiting fans wild and silenced the already quiet home crowd.  The Bison would have the final word however, as after finding themselves on a 5 on 3 power-play made no mistake in pulling Mettam out of position to make the final score 5-2 through Ryan Sutton. 

A great away victory and signs that this team might be one to reckon with the season.  Man of the Match awards went to Steve Osman for the Bees and to Josh Smith for the Bison.

Match stats
Period scores: 0-0, 1-2; 1-3
Bison Scorers: Sutton & Connolly 1+0; Reynolds & Jackson 0+1
Bees scorers: Bakrlik 2+0; Thompson 1+2; Bendik & Osman 1+0; Martin 0+2; Avery & Lane 0+1
Bison PIMS: 10 (Stead 4; Jackson, Galazzi & Osman 2)
Bees PIMS: 8 (Reynolds, Scott, Jackson & Bench 2)
Shots on Bison (Skinns): 31 (8, 13, 10)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 33 (12, 9, 12)