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Match Report: Playoff Quarter Final, 2nd Leg - London Raiders 4 - 2 Bracknell Bees

posted 19 Mar 2018, 01:02 by john slater   [ updated 19 Mar 2018, 01:13 ]

Match report by Ashley Willit

With just one goal in the play-off tie, it was still all to play for as the Bees headed round the M25 to the beautiful new arena that is home to the London Raiders.

In goal for the Bees was Alex Mettam and for the Raiders Micheal Gray

Once again it was Stephen Mathews in charge of the game, this time his linesmen were Phil O'Neil and Pawel Olczak.

With the home crowd behind them and clearly buoyed by the previous night’s performance, the London Raiders came out much the stronger team in the first period. Mettam having to be alert at every opportunity the Raiders got. It was a relatively open period, with the Raiders having the better chances and the Bees unable to get any serious offence going out-shooting Bracknell 16 to 4. After weathering a few power-plays for the Raiders, the Bees held on to a 0-0 scoreline into the second period.

Just nine seconds in and the Raiders got the first goal of the night. Mathew Turner getting the final touch after a quick pass from John Connolly. Bracknell were in no mood to back down and despite the fine form of Gray, found a way through him with yet another scrappy goal, this time James Galazzi getting the final touch. Mettam was putting on a great performance himself, with several fine saves, most notably from Juraj Huska. The Bees definitely had the speed advantage as George Norcliffe burst through the Raiders defence and brought a huge glove save out of Gray, flashing the leather to deny the young forward. With another power-play for the Bees they managed to scramble the puck over the line, following a series of passes with very little movement in front of goal. A shot in from Bendik on the blue line was finally touched in by Josh Martin, giving the Bees a 2-1 lead. Just over three minutes later the Raiders drew level as a shot from the right by Jake Sylvester was deflected off Josh Tetlows stick and knuckled through Mettam.

Into the third and it was London who had the upper hand. Although the Bees had found their shooting, which had been lacking in the first period, London regained the lead on 48 minutes through Marek Nahlik on a breakaway, sweeping through the Bees defence. Straight from the re-start and Brandon Ayliffe was through on goal but Mettam came out big and denied him with the glove. It was definite end-to-end hockey, with both goalies being made to work as the clock counted down. With just under three minutes to go and a two goal deficit to make up, Mettam went off for an extra attacker. The tactic didn't work as Sylvester got his second of the evening, shooting from way inside his own blue line for the Raiders fourth.

So it ended 4-2 on the night and 10-7 on aggregate for the London Raiders. To be fair, they were the better team over both legs and proved their worth in the competition. The Bees will have to take stock of this season, re-evaluate and look to build on what was a year of ups and downs and come out fighting in 2018-19!

Match stats
Period Scores: 0-0; 2-2; 2-0
Raiders scorers: Sylvester 2+0; Nahlik & Turner 1+0; Connolly 0+2; Wells & Lascenko 0+1
Bees scorers: Galazzi & Martin 1+0; Best, Bendik, Spearing & Ingoldsby 0+1
Raiders PIMS: 10 (Pitchley 4; Smith, Barry & Huska 2)
Bees PIMS: 38 (Best, Bendik & Stead 10; Norcliffe, Spearing, Ingoldsby & Bench 2)
Shots on Raiders (Gray): 29 (4, 13, 12)
Shots on Bees (Mettam & Empty Net): 42 (16, 14, 12) & 1 (0, 0, 1)