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Match report: Bracknell Bees 4 - 6 Swindon Wildcats

posted 12 Mar 2018, 11:25 by john slater   [ updated 12 Mar 2018, 11:31 ]

Match report by Ashley Willit

With the Saturday off for the Bees on the final weekend of the season, they welcomed the Swindon Wildcats to the Hive in a game that was one half of the battle for 4th place. The other taking place up in Milton Keynes with the London Raiders the other team vying for that spot.

Starting in the nets were Alex Mettam for Bracknell and former Bee Matt Smital for Swindon.

Refereeing a Swindon/Bracknell tie yet again was Stephen Mathews with Flynn Sitch-Cunningham and Andrew Strain on the lines.

The first period saw some dominating play by the Bees with Callum Best, Shaun Thompson and Josh Martin combining well to draw several key saves from Matt Smital. Also proving to be something of a nuisance to Smital was Alex Barker who also pushed the Wildcats goalie into a big save. At the other end Mettam was keeping the Cats from getting on the scoreboard, most noticeably from Jan Kostal who was able to glove a high puck down, spin and shoot in one smooth motion. With the Bees having the better of the play and pressuring Smitals goal, Swindon defenceman Sam Godfrey entered into a shoving match with Ben Ealey-Newman with the two of them eventually firing punches at each other. Whilst on a powerplay and as the seconds were winding down on the clock, some slick passing from the Bees was rewarded with a tip in goal from Scott Spearing.

The second period had even more one way traffic on the Wildcats goal. After 6 minutes of the period Barker made it 2-0 following up on a Tom Avery shot and tucking home the rebound. It wasn't long before 2 became 3 as Josh Ealey-Newman sent a hopeful shot towards goal on a narrow angle and it squeezed in between the post and Smital. At the other end Mettam was called into action with a huge double save from Kostal and covering the puck to deny him a third opportunity. The Bees were seemingly running away with the game as George Norcliffe made it 4-0 on 35 minutes getting on to a loose puck and deftly chipping the puck over the blocker of Smital. The Wildcats however would have the last say of the period as Sam Bullas was left all alone in the slot and given too much time to pick his spot low on Mettam.

The final period had none of the zip and dominance of the first two periods from the Bees. Clearly not wanting to allow their last game of the season to run away from them the Wildcats upped the pace and Edgars Bebris got Swindon's second with 10 minutes to go. That quickly became 3 when Aaron Nell circled around the back of the net and fired first time to the top of the goal with a beauty of a shot. Unbelievably for Bees fans Swindon drew level with less than 5 minutes to go, again Nell beating Mettam. The Bees defence had just disintegrated and were taken apart just 50 seconds later as Bullas got his second to give the Wildcats their first lead of the evening. With the clock counting down Bracknell pulled Mettam for an extra skater in an attempt to bring the game back level. But as has so often been the case in these situation, the tactic did not come off and Swindon, through Max Birbraer, got a 6th goal and sealed the tie, thus ending Bracknell's hopes at a fourth place finish.

The Bees will have to be better for the full 60 minutes in their play-off games against London Raiders or their hopes of a second round match up will disappear very quickly.

Match stats
Period Scores: 1-0; 3-1; 0-5
Bees scorers: Barker 1+1; Norcliffe & Spearing 1+0; S.Thompson 0+2; Galazzi, Avery, Ingoldsby, Stead & B.Ealey-Newman 0+1
Wildcats scorers: Bullas & Nell 2+2; Birbraer 1+4; Bebris 1+0; Liddiard 0+2; Jones & Nethersell 0+1
Bees PIMS: 8 (B.Ealey-Newman 4; Stead & Ingoldsby 2)
Wildcats PIMS: 35 (Hazeldine 25; Godfrey 4; Jones, Hill & Bench 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam & Empty Net): 27 (7, 9, 11) & (0, 0, 1)
Shots on Wildcats (Smital): 39 (10, 19, 10)