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Pre-season Match Report: Bracknell Bees 5 - 3 Swindon Wildcats

posted 6 Sep 2017, 03:42 by john slater   [ updated 6 Sep 2017, 03:45 ]

Match report by Ashley Willitt

Game photos available HERE (courtesy of our Official Photographer Kevin Slyfield)  

After Saturdays loss to Swindon, Bracknell were keen to show their home crowd on Sunday that they mean business this season. With all the new signings on show, they certainly didn't disappoint.

Both sets of goalies were destined to get a work out this weekend as regular Bees number 1 Alex Mettam started the night and Swindon goalie Matt Smital returned to The Hive against his former club.

The 1st period started brightly for the Bees, clearly buoyed by the home support, they were causing plenty of trouble for the Swindon defence. Both goalies were called into action early on, with new Bees forward Steve Osman shooting point blank on Smital, only for the young goalie to thwart his effort. Some great net front presence by towering defenceman Josh Tetlow was causing all sorts of trouble and with Frankie Bakrlik on the point firing in pucks it was only a matter of time before one found its way through. Six minutes into the game and Swindon were penalised for too many men on the ice and the Bees punished them in the best way possible by another big shot from Bakrlik this time tipped deftly by Tetlow past the helpless Smital.

The Bees doubled their lead only minutes later while shorthanded after Josh Martin had been assessed a penalty for boarding. The Bees were down a man but someone forgot to tell Shaun Thompson who raced down the ice to score a fantastic solo goal. Only moments after the restart Osman had a chance to make it three, only to be stopped by Smital. But the third goal did come after some great work by two former Streatham players. Combining well, George Norcliffe helped set up Callum Best who slid the puck under the Wildcats goalie causing the Bees fans to go wild.

The Bees had out shot the Cats 16 to 4 in the first period and weren't about to let up as the second started. Only 24 seconds in and Alex Barker got on the score sheet after some great work by Bakrlik and Thompson. The Bees were looking like a completely different team from the night before, slick, smooth and a fantastic team ethic  and connection amongst all players. Even when on the penalty kill, it was the Bees who looked more likely to score, with offensive pressure and aggression. However it was Swindon who were to get on the board for the first time of the evening with former Elite league centre Chris Jones on a breakaway and going bar down glove side on Mettam. The Bees continued on the attack, however before the end of the period Swindon found themselves on a 2 on 1. With Harvey Stead unable to cover both attackers, Jan Kostal passed to Jones who got his second of the night.

The third period started much the same as the second had with the home team on the front foot and causing plenty of problems for the Wildcats. Just over three minutes in and some dogged work by Frankie Bakrlik proved fruitful yet again as he was able to set up Captain Matt Foord with his second goal of the weekend to make the score 5-2.

The Wildcats refused to give up with out a fight and gave everything they had, however player/coach Scott Spearing had other ideas.  Putting his body on the line, Spearing took the full force of an Aaron Nell slap-shot, sending the puck high to the ceiling of the Hive. The Cats did end up having the last word of the night as Toms Rutkis squeezed a shot passed Mettam making the score 5-3. Despite pulling Smital for the final minute and a half the Wildcats were unable to find anything extra and the Bees were able to close the game out and celebrate in front of the delighted home fans. 

Match stats
Period scores:  3-0, 1-2, 1-1
Bees scorers
: Thompson 1+2; Best, Foord, Tetlow & Barker 1+0; Bakrlik 0+3; Norcliffe 0+1
Wildcats scorers:
Jones 2+0; Rutkis 1+0; Kostal 0+2; Taylor, Nethersell & Smital 0+1
Bees PIMS: 18 (Martin 12; Bench 4 & Best 2)
Wildcats PIMS: 10 (Birbraer, Fielder, Liddiard, Nethersell & Bench 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 28 (4, 12, 12)
Shots on Wildcats (Smital & Empty Net): 31  (16, 8, 7) & 0 (0, 0, 0)
MOM Awards :  Bees: Matt Foord & Wildcats: Chris Jones