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Match report: London Raiders 5 - 6 Bracknell Bees

posted 22 Oct 2017, 05:00 by john slater
Match report by Ashely Willitt

Saturday and the Bees took their first trip of the season to the Lee Valley Ice centre to take on the London Raiders. It had been 7 years since the Bees had faced a Raiders team, since Romford left the EPIHL in 2010. 

Starting netminders were Alex Mettam for the Bees and 18 year old Zachary Grandy-Smith for the Raiders, in the absence of the injured Euan King. Bees were still missing Alex Barker (concussion) and Steve Osman, but added Ben Ealey-Newman and Jack Hayes.

Team stripes were referee Stephen Mathews and linesmen Phill O'Neil and Donald Campbell.

Bracknell were the quicker of the two at the start of the game, coming out aggressively at the Raiders defence. Predictably it was the Bakrlik/Thompson line that produced the first chance of the night with Frankie taking the puck and on the turn shooting at Grandy-Smith, who pulled off a big save. The Bees were having more of the early possession and zone time yet London looked dangerous every time they broke out with only Mettam saving the defences blushes. A ray of light in what would become an otherwise awkward Bees defensive performance came from Tom Avery, who looked composed and assured at every touch. A coast-to-coast attacking burst from the Bees defenceman highlighted his skill set and almost produced the goal of the night but for the quick reactions of the Raiders goalie. 

After exchanging a few penalties and chances for both teams it was the Raiders who broke the deadlock with less than a minute to go. Former Bee and Hornet J.J. Pitchley left all alone in front of net made it 1-0 shooting low and to the right of Mettam.

The Bees came out in the second period refreshed and were instantly on the attack. A early icing and face-off win for Bracknell led to a one time wrist shot by Avery which was past Grandy-Smith before he knew it, levelling the score at 1-1. The Raiders were not to be outdone and only minutes later regained the lead through Juraj Huska. After great speed from Ziggy Beasley, he turned Tetlow inside out and his pass found Huska who stick handled beautifully past Mettam.

It wasn't long before Bracknell levelled once more. A huge Bakrlik shot flew over the bar, the rebound came back out in front of goal where a Raider tried to bat it out of mid-air but it fell back to the stick of the big Czech forward who shot low and hard beating the London nettie. Bracknell got their first lead of the night on 35 minutes through Scott Spearing. After some more defensive frailties showing through, the Bees sped up the other end of the ice to make it 3-2. In what seemed like a night off for both defences, it was less than 2 minutes and London levelled things up yet again after the Bees gave up the puck cheaply on the blue line -  Marek Nahlik with the finish.

Third period and all was to play for with 3 each on the board and both teams having given up more than 20 shots on goal. Exactly a minute in and it was the Bees who took the advantage. With a penalty to Josh Martin expiring, the scrappy Bees forward came out of the box and was first to a dumped puck, he made no mistake in dispatching it past the Raiders goalie. As the Bees were on a power-play, they once again left a big hole at the back and with no Bees in sight, Huska was left all alone, who deked left and right and slotted past the despairing Mettam. Just 5 minutes later and Bracknell would get their own shorthanded goal through Bakrlik, bringing the Bees back the lead to 5-4. The Bees turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes with Callum Best having a great chance following a great pass by Bakrlik. Both Danny Ingoldsby and George Norcliffe also came close with huge chances in the latter stages. Josh Martin did however put a little bit of light in between the two sides, after missing a golden opportunity by missing the puck at an open goal, he then redeemed himself and got his second of the night making it 6-4. With the clock winding down the Raiders brought the score back to just one goal with John Connelly scoring a one timer while falling down from between the face-off circles. A time-out was called by the Raiders with a minute to go, but the Bees managed to keep the puck in their zone not allowing the Raiders goalie to come out to give the home team 6 skaters. 

6-5 the final score in a night the Bees defence will want to forget. Fortunately the forwards had that little bit more than the Raiders to ensure the victory and to take the 2 points back to Berkshire.

Match stats
Period scores: 1-0; 2-3, 2-3
Raiders Scorers:
Huska 2+0; Nahlik 1+2; Connolly & Pitchley 1+0; Ayliffe, Beesley, Lascenko, Baldock & Barry 0+1
Bees scorers:
Bakrlik 2+1; Martin 2+0; Avery & Spearing 1+0; Best, Thompson, Stead & B.Ealey-Newman 0+1
Raiders PIMS:
8 (Munroe, Lack, Barry & Nahlik 2)
Bees PIMS:
42 (Foord 32; Best, Avery, Spearing, Bakrlik & Martin 2)
Shots on Raiders (Smith):
38 (9, 17, 12)
Shots on Bees (Mettam):
31 (12, 12, 7)

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