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Match report: London Raiders 6 - 3 Bracknell Bees

posted 22 Jan 2018, 22:08 by john slater

Match report by Dan Maker

After having the previous weekend off, the Bees travelled to Lee Valley Ice Centre to face London Raiders for a league match.

Bees added Ben Ealey-Newman, Jack Hayes and Daniel Fay to their line-up and welcomed back Shaun Thompson after a two month layoff with an injury and Luke Jackson whilst Bees were missing Carl Thompson. London went into the game with a full strength line-up welcoming back ex-bee Alan Lack from injury. Alex Mettam started between the pipes for the Bees and Michael Gray for the Raiders. Tim Pickett took charge with Phil O’Neill and Pawel Olczak on linesman duties.

Within the first two minutes of the game, both sides could have taken the lead through two on one attempts with Juraj Huska having his shot saved by Mettam and Alex Barker having his wrist shot saved by Gray. London continued attacking the Bees with good pace and Mettam was called upon again to deny Brandon Ayliffe a breakaway goal with the Bees scrambling the puck away after a sprawling Mettam kept the puck out. Huska then blazed his shot over the goal with the puck landing in the Bees bench hitting Steve Merry for the third time within a month. Bees attacked the Raiders goal with Callum Best’s shot being saved by Gray and then after good cycling in the offensive zone by the Bees a scramble in front ensued with the Raiders managing to clear the zone. The deadlock was broken just before the half way mark of the first period by the Raiders Jake Sylvester with a strong wrist shot past Mettam’s glove with the assists going to Oliver Baldock and Huska. The Raiders nearly made it 2-0 with another two on one through Matt Turner and JJ Pitchley with Pitchley unable to beat Mettam. Bees came back at London with some good offensive zone time by the Thompson, Barker and Josh Martin line. Jackson floated a shot towards Gray which Thompson tipped down but just went side netting. The first penalty of the night went to London with Tom Davis sitting for two minutes for high sticking Jan Bendik in the neutral zone. The Bees spent the majority of the powerplay in the Raiders defensive zone but couldn’t find the tying goal. Just after the powerplay had finished, Ben Ealey-Newman from behind the Raiders goal, took a shot just in front of the goal line which Gray saved but didn’t know where the puck went causing the defenders to come to his rescue to maintain the Raiders lead. The period ended with London causing Bees problems in their defensive zone leading to two chances through Sylvester and Turner on the spin shot from the slot.

A feisty start to the second period saw Frankie Bakrlik and Lack have a few words with each other which drew a crowd in front of the Raiders goal. After failing to keep the puck in the Raiders defensive zone, Huska grabbed the puck and had a one on one opportunity on Mettam saved after Martin slashed him which Pickett saw and Martin had to sit for two minutes. On the powerplay, Raiders broke out from their zone and after tape to tape passing through the neutral zone they found Ayliffe in the high slot with a one timer that beat Mettam up high for a 2-0 lead. The assists going to John Connolly and Baldock. Bees needed a response and were helped by a Jack Cooper slashing penalty which resulted in Bakrlik, Thompson, Josh Tetlow and Tom Avery all having attempts saved by Gray. Bees finally got on the scoresheet through Alex Barker going up high on Gray with an assist to Bendik. Bees kept attacking the Raiders net and looked confident of getting an equaliser only for Raiders to break up ice and score a third through Huska banking a shot off Mettam from behind the goal into his own net to his and Tetlow’s belief. The line of Best, Bakrlik and Danny Ingoldsby came back with some pressure but couldn’t beat Gray before Josh Martin got Bees second goal of the game beating Gray past the glove with the assists going to Barker and Thompson. Bees had another powerplay opportunity after John Connolly went in the box for holding. The Bees won the draw but the puck went out of the zone towards Mettam where he charged out towards the blue line, passed the puck up the ice only for Lack to trip him up, making the Bees on a 5 on 3 powerplay and Mettam coming away unhurt. Bees tried to score before the end of the period but were unable to find a way through ending the period 3-2 to Raiders with the Bees having 15 seconds left on that 5 on 3.

Bees couldn’t manage a goal on the remaining powerplay and in similar fashion to the second period, London scored within the first two minutes to make the gap two goals between the teams again with Huska getting his second of the night after Mettam had denied ex-bee Oleg Lascenko on the breakaway. Bees then quickly struck back for the third time on the night with Martin setting up Thompson with a cross ice slot pass to make it 4-3. After a scramble by Gray’s right post, Callum Wells picked up a 2+10 for checking from behind on Thompson and like before cycled the puck in the zone during the powerplay with no end reward. London punished the Bees again with just less than 9 minutes left with Ayliffe scoring his second of the night to Mettam’s stick side after a Bees giveaway in the defensive zone. The assist went to JJ Pitchley. Huska then went into the box for high sticking on Martin and Bees had a great chance through Tetlow in front who just backhanded wide after a slick pass from Bakrlik. Bees continuing pressing the Raiders further back with London resorting back to counter attacking and Marek Nahlik nearly converting a wraparound attempt which shot through the crease. Bees called a timeout with 1:08 left and struggled to get Mettam off the ice for the extra attacker and when they did Huska completed his hat-trick with an empty net goal with 10 seconds left for the game to finish 6-3 to the Raiders. Man of the Match awards went to Ayliffe for the Raiders and Barker for the Bees. Bees will be looking to bounce back quickly tomorrow against the Milton Keynes Thunder at the Hive!

Match stats
Period Scores: 1-0; 2-2; 3-1
Raiders scorers: Huska 3+1; Ayliffe 2+0; Sylvester 1+1; Baldock 0+3; Connolly, Smith & Pitchley 0+1
Bees scorers: S.Thompson, Barker & Martin 1+1; Bendik 1+0
Raiders PIMS: 22 (Wells 12; Connolly, Cooper, Davis, Lack & Huska 2)
Bees PIMS: 2 (Martin 2)
Shots on Raiders (Gray): 41 (13, 12, 16)
Shots on Bees (Mettam & Empty Net): 33 (16, 9, 8) & 1 (0, 0, 1)