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Match report: Bracknell Bees 6 - 1 London Raiders

posted 5 Mar 2018, 12:15 by john slater

Match report by Ashley Willit

The Bees welcomed the London Raiders to the Hive for the penultimate league game of the season on Sunday in a much anticipated tie between two well matched sides battling for 4th place in the league. It was certainly a feisty affair which got the crowd on their feet on more than one occasion.

Starting in net for the Bees was Alex Mettam and for the Raiders, Michael Gray. Refereeing the tie was William Hewitt with Andreas Eliasson and Flynn Sitch-Cunningham on linesmen duties.

It was the Raiders goalie who was the busier of the two from the opening whistle. Shaun Thompson and Callum Best working well together with a 'no-look' pass from Thompson to Best but Gray saved well to send the puck over the bar. Both teams clearly looked eager to create chances with good pressure on the Raiders defence from the Bees, but at the other end of the ice, Mettam was called upon against Jake Sylvester who had several opportunities in quick succession. It wasn't long before Bracknell's possession and drive paid off, as in the 9th minute Thompson received a pass from Best in front of Gray and was able to manoeuvre around the goalie and tuck the puck under his pads giving the Bees a 1-0 lead. With their tails up the Bees got a second through Danny Ingoldsby as the Raiders defence just couldn't cope with the pressure and he was left all alone in front of goal with plenty of time to pick his spot.

In a complete opposite to the previous nights game, the Bees came out strong in the second period and with not even two minutes on the clock Alex Barker made it 3-0. Gray had saved a shot from Best but was unable to control it and Barker was on hand to tuck in the rebound. With the Bees almost camped out in the Raiders zone, the breakout was almost inevitable. It came in the form of former Bee forward Oleg Lascenko who burst out with great speed and beat Mettam, but not the post. Mettam was on hand when the time called for it and produced an unreal diving save to deny the Raiders and almost certain goal. A few minutes later and the visitors did get their goal with a hard shot from Marek Nahlik under the pads of Mettam. Right from the resulting restart, Bracknell restored their 3 goal lead with George Norcliffe spinning the defence and finding space to beat Gray down low.

The Bees didn't let up in the third period either with Gray having to make big saves against Jan Bendik and Callum Best. It was by no means one way traffic as Mettam was called into action too with Juraj Huska bringing out some fine saves. The Bees did however extend their lead with 7 minutes to go, as Thompson found himself free down the left side and shot once again under Gray that just had enough on it to creep over the line. With the game all but sewn up by Bracknell, the Raiders discipline disappeared. Norcliffe had his stick unceremoniously thrown over the plexi and in chasing down the culprit, Raiders #36 Callum Burnett tried to start pushing the Bees forward while James Galazzi and Julian Smith were having a tussle by the boards. With Norcliffe not interested, Bendik decided to put a stop to it. dropping the young defence-man with a right hook much to the roar of the home crowd. Bracknell added a 6th to punctuate a great performance in the 57th minute. Best coming down the ice with pace and silky hands, he shot the puck across the face of goal and it struck the oncoming Josh Martin as he was crashing the net.

With just one game of the regular remaining against Swindon, the Bees will meet the Raiders in the first round of the play-offs. Anything really could happen against a team where the Bees have split the games 3 wins to 1. So long as they play the way they did on Sunday then they have a great chance of progressing to the next round.

Match stats
Period Scores: 2-0; 2-1; 2-0
Bees scorers: S.Thompson 2+1; Ingoldsby & Martin 1+1; Norcliffe & Barker 1+0; Best 0+4; Avery 0+2; C.Thompson, Tetlow & Spearing 0+1
Raiders scorers: Nahlik 1+0; Ayliffe & Barry 0+1
Bees PIMS: 18 (Galazzi, Bendik, Spearing & Martin 4; Best 2)
Raiders PIMS: 22 (Cooper & Wells 6; Smith & Burnett 4; Connolly 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 22 (5, 9, 8)
Shots on Raiders (Gray): 28 (12, 8, 8)