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Match report: Playoff Quarter Final 1st leg - Bracknell Bees 5 - 6 London Raiders

posted 19 Mar 2018, 01:00 by john slater

Match report by Ashley Willit

On Saturday the Bees played host to the London Raiders in the first of a two legged play-off quarter-final tie, where the winner on aggregate would go through to the semi-final round.
Referring the game was Stephen Mathews and alongside him was the excellent paring of Justin Lalonde and Flynn Sitch-Cunningham.

With Alex Mettam in goal for the Bees and Michael Gray for the Raiders, the two teams faced off looking to get a head start in this two-legged play-off game.

It was a stronger start from Bracknell in the first period with Shaun Thompson bringing out a big save early on from Gray. But it was the Raiders who took the lead and on eight minutes. Juraj Huska stick handled beautifully around Tom Avery and blasted a shot high over Mettam. Just seconds later and the Raiders doubled their lead as Harvey Stead was out-manoeuvred and lost his man coming into the zone with pace. J.J Pitchley finishing off the move to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead, much against the run of play. With Gray stopping everything coming near him it was something of a scrappy goal that got the Bees back in the game. He scrambled to reach back to a puck that was bouncing through the crease, however it was deemed that it had crossed the line before it was scooped out, much to the displeasure of the Raiders goalie.

The second period saw good work from Bees third line. Danny Ingoldsby and Ben Ealey-Newman looking hungry at every opportunity. But not to be out done, the line with Best and Martin combined well with the former setting up the latter with a no-look pass which was saved by the pad of Gray. Mettam was not as busy as Gray but had to be alert from a big shot from Jake Sylvester, which he confidently turned aside. Five minutes into the period and George Norcliffe drew the sides level with a lovely solo effort, holding off the defenceman and back-handing the puck past Gray who didn't look like he was expecting it. The Bees went 3-2 up after almost 34 minutes with Ingoldsby tearing up the ice with Norcliffe. The two passed between each other with Ingoldsby receiving the puck back in front of goal and flicked it deftly over the glove of Gray with perhaps the goal of the night. Just moments later and the Raiders were back level with a goal that looked like it struck the post and came back out, but a goal was given leaving fans and players perplexed. A fourth goal for the Raiders was just minutes behind after the Bees were caught out again with just Jan Bendik left covering two forwards. Sylvester this time, getting his name on the scoresheet. Four quickly became five as an awful miscommunication between Bendik and Matt Foord left the puck unattended, to which Marek Nahlik snapped it up, rounded Mettam and popped it home to give the visitors a two goal lead.

With five minutes on the clock for the final period, the Bees clawed back to within one goal. After Thompson's effort was stopped by Gray, the London goalie proceeded to make several more key saves, but was unable to do anything more as Callum Best was first to a loose puck bringing the score to 5-4. The Bees really pushed all the way to the final minutes and the shot count shows their effort with Bracknell out-shooting London 2:1. But with all that offence, they were left depleted at the back and Nahlik was left all alone to get his second of the night. With the seconds counting down the Bees managed one more goal with a shot from the point being deflected deftly by Thompson and under the legs of Gray.

So 6-5 it ended on the night, leaving everything still to play for in the return leg in London.

Match stats
Period Scores: 1-2; 2-3; 2-1
Bees scorers: Best & S.Thompson 2+1; Norcliffe & Martin 1+1; Ingoldsby 1+0; Galazzi & Bendik 0+1
Raiders scorers: Huska 2+1; Nahlik 2+0; Pitchley & Sylvester 1+0; Baldock 0+2; Turner, Ayliffe, Cooper, Wells, Lascenko & Barry 0+1
Bees PIMS: 8 (Bench 4; S.Thompson & Galazzi 2)
Raiders PIMS: 4 (Gray & Barry 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 23 (7, 11, 5)
Shots on Raiders (Gray): 46 (13, 15, 18)