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Match report: Bracknell Bees 4 - 2 London Raiders

posted 30 Oct 2017, 13:33 by john slater

Match report by Ashley Willitt

Sunday evening at The Hive, the Bees welcomed the London Raiders to Bracknell for the first time this season. Another good crowd were in to witness a hard battle by both teams keen to assert physical dominance on the game.

In the zebra jerseys were Stephen Matthews with the armbands and linesmen Flynn Sitch-Cunningham and Justin Lalonde. Given the nod in the Bees net was Danny Milton, while Micheal Gray was between the pipes for the Raiders. Bracknell were missing the influential character of player coach Scott Spearing but added both Josh and Ben Ealey-Newman, whereas London were missing Alan Lack, Tom Davis and Jack Sylvester.

The first period started brightly for the Bees, pressing the Raiders high up the ice, but it wasn't long before a through pass to Brandon Ayliffe of the Raiders caused problems, however the home team were relieved to see his shot go wide of Milton's goal. Gray in the Raiders goal was having to deal with several huge Frankie Bakrlik slap-shots, but was equal to them, padding them aside with confidence. However, after 7 minutes, with the Bees on a power-play, some great passing around the net resulted in Bakrlik finding Callum Best at the back post, who made no mistake in tapping home the puck. Alex Barker, fresh from his return from injury was also finding his feet quickly, shooting hard at Grey, with the London goalie juggling the puck but claiming it at the second attempt.

The Raiders made it 1-1 on 11 minutes from a great stretch pass by captain John Connolly into the stride of Oliver Baldock, who shot beautifully bar-down on Milton, giving the Bees goalie no chance.

Just seconds after the restart, London import forward Marek Nahlik was penalised for holding. The resulting face-off was won by Shaun Thompson who got the puck to Josh Tetlow who passed straight to Bakrlik to smash the puck home past the despairing Gray. The Bees weren't having all the play and at the other end Milton pulled off an incredible save in a move by the Raiders reminiscent of the Bees first goal. The Bracknell nettie stuck out a big right pad and blocked the attacker at the back post. Shortly before the break, Bracknell made it 3-1 while shorthanded through Josh Martin. Thommo burst through the Raiders defence but failed to get his shot away, but Martin picked up the pieces and slotted home.

Period 2 started incredibly eventfully for Bracknell. Just minutes into the restart and Bakrlik took a slash to the hands from J.J. Pitchley, he retaliated by slashing back at the Raiders forward's stomach, only for Pitchley to go down holding his face. Pitchley's plan clearly worked as only Bakrlik was assessed a penalty and tossed from the game. Needless to say Pitchley received endless 'boos' from the partisan crowd every time he touched the puck. On the 5 minute power-play the Raiders managed to claw the game back to 3-2 through Slovakian forward Juraj Húska. Former Bracknell junior and Bees forward Ziggy Beesley made Milton work for his money with a brilliant shot, saved equally as well by the glove of the Bees netminder.

The final period saw the Bees up the tempo in an attempt to see out the game. Great work by Norcliffe, shooting a backhander, was well stopped by Gray. The line of Thompson, Barker and Martin were also working well and causing the Raiders defence a lot of problems. Martin tipped a shot/pass from Barker but it nestled comfortably into the midriff of Gray, who was in a good position.

Finally the Bees got their just desserts after some dogged work behind the goal by Steve Osman and Danny Ingoldsby. James Galazzi was the glad recipient of the puck, who handled cleanly around Gray and backhanded over the sprawled netminder.

4-2 the final score with the Bees showing they can finish off their opponent without talisman Bakrlik. A good showing from the Ealey-Newman brothers and great to see Alex Barker back on the ice.

Match stats
Period scores: 3-1; 0-1, 1-0
Bees Scorers: Baldock & Huska 1+0; Connolly, Munroe, Beesley & Pitchley 0+1
Raiders scorers: Bakrlik 1+1; Galazzi, Best & Martin 1+0; Thompson 0+3; Tetlow, Ingoldsby & Osman 0+1
Bees PIMS: 45 (Bakrlik 25; Galazzi 12; Jackson 4; Foord & Stead 2)
Raiders PIMS: 6 (McGrath, Nahlik & Bench 2)
Shots on Bees (Milton): 35 (14, 11, 10)
Shots on Raiders (Gray & Empty net): 31 (10, 10, 11) & (0, 0, 0)