The Bracknell Bees took on their local rivals the Guildford Flames in English Premier Ice Hockey League & Cup action at The Hive this past Sunday.
The Bees went into the game missing Rio Grinell-Parke, due to injury, whilst the Flames were without Sam Godfrey and Andy McKinney. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Richard Ullberg, for the Flames, started in nets. Referee Stefan Hogarth took charge of the match with Justin Lalonde & Jason Earl on the lines.
Despite an early double save being forced from Bees netminder by Jens Eriksson it was the home side Bees that enjoyed the better of the opening couple minutes play with David Gaborcik trying his luck from distance and Lukas Smital tipping a Scott Spearing shot narrowly wide before seeing his own effort saved in close by Richard Ullberg in the Flames net. Ben Campbell broke clear of the Bees defence but was denied by Alex Mettam with Krystof Kafan coming close to breaking the deadlock for the home side. The early action didn’t let up and the visiting Flames were handed a power play chance with two and a half minutes on the clock as Kafan sat an unsportsmanlike conduct minor, they wasted little time in converting the opportunity as Marek Maslonka put away a rebound from a Tom Duggan shot. The fast paced action swung from end to end with chances galore. Carl Thompson snapped a quick shot from a face off just wide, David Gaborcik saw a good wraparound effort saved and Lukas Smital forced a good save in close. At the other end of the ice Tom Duggan tipped a Jez Lundin wide before Lundin came close with a blast of his own and Marek Maslonka forced a glove save from Mettam. The Bees were unlucky to see the puck scrambled clear after both Martin Pavlicek and Matt Foord tried to stuff the puck home on a rebound from a Krystof Kafan shot. Alex Mettam was alert to stop Marcus Kristofferson on a fast break. Another breakaway for the Flames, this time Ben Campbell, saw the Guildford player fire a hard shot into the Bees net to double the visitors lead. A Bees power play with three minutes left in the opening period saw more end to end action as Marek Maslonka looked on from the penalty box. Matic Kralj and Marcus Kristofferson came close with short-handed breakaways before Luka Basic and Krystof Kafan combined well with Kafans shot deflected over and a wrist shot from the same player saved well by Ullberg. In the dying seconds of the period Jens Eriksson was called for interference and as the clock ticked down Luka Basic found Scott Spearing well but the forwards effort was well blocked.
Trailing by two goals at the start of the second period the Bees needed a quick start to the middle stanza and pushed hard from the drop of the puck. Carl Thompson, Lukas Smital and Krystof Kafan kept Ullberg busy in the Flames net and a mad scramble in front of the Flames net was scrambled clear by the visitors. The Bees thought they had narrowed the lead a Krystof Kafan robbed Ullberg of the puck and shot from a tight angle only to see his shot ping off the Flames post and out to safety. The chances kept coming at both ends of the ice and Alex Mettam pulled off a big save from a Flames player on the break. An stunning rink long, pinpoint pass from Bees defenceman David Gaborcik found Luka Basic who fired the puck past Ullberg and the lead was down to one goal just over half way through the period. The goal seemed to startle the visiting Guildford side who piled on the pressure with Alex Mettam again coming to the rescue to deny both Ben Campbell and Matic Kralj before Marek Maslonka hit the Bees post. The pressure finally told as two quick goals for the Flames saw them extend their lead to three goals as first Matic Kralj and then Jens Eriksson netted for the visitors.
Into the final period with a three goal deficit to claw back the Bees again started the period on the front foot and were rewarded with a goal after less than a minute as a David Gaborcik shots rebound was collected by Lukas Smital who feed the puck to Scott Spearing who made no mistake in finding a way past Ullberg in the Flames net. More Bees pressure with chances for David Gaborcik, Krystof Kafan, Josh Smith and Josh Tetlow followed but the Bees couldn’t find another way past the Flames netminder. The sides then exchanged four goals between them in just under four minutes. The Flames would extend their lead through a breakaway goal for Ben Campbell before the Bees went straight up the other end and scored themselves through a Lukas Smital wrist shot that was snapped past Ullberg. The joy was short lived however as Alex Barker headed to the penalty box for interference and the Flames power play unit again converted as Ben Campbell tapped home a passing move from the visitors. The Bees again though did not let their heads dropped and shortly after narrowed the lead once more as a Luka Basic shot rebounded out to Alex Barker who fired home. The home side were unlucky to not narrow the lead further as David Gaborcik broke well and found Lukas Smital whose shot was deflected narrowly over. With all the end to end action things got a little heated as Rupert Quiney and Josh Smith tangled, resulting in a power play for the Bees. Shortly into the power play Harvey Stead laid a big hit on Ben Campbell and the other players came together with Matic Kralj and Scott Spearing heading to the penalty box on coincidental penalties. Lukas Smital was unlucky to not stuff the puck past Ullberg in a goal mouth scramble following a Josh Tetlow shot. A penalty on Bees player/coach Lukas Smital with just over seven minutes remaining saw the Flames convert another power play chance as Jens Eriksson finished a breakaway effort to give the Flames a three goal lead. With the visitors happy to hold the three goal lead the Bees pushed forward not giving the game up. Unfortunately with all the pressure the Bees were trying to exert the Flames broke clear again and Marek Maslonka roofed a wrist shot to seal with the win for the visiting team. Matt Foord and Martin Pavlicek came close in the dying seconds but the result was sealed.
The man of the match awards went to Bees defenceman David Gaborcik and to Ben Campbell for the visiting Flames.
Period scores: 0-2, 1-2, 3-4
Bees scorers: Basic & L.Smital 1+1; Spearing & Barker 1+0; Stead & Thompson 0+2; Pavlicek & Gaborcik 0+1
Flames scorers: Campbell 3+0; Eriksson 2+2; Maslonka 2+0; Kralj 1+1; Meyers 0+5; Duggan & Lundin 0+2; Quiney, Ullberg & Kristofferson 0+1
Bees PIMS: 10 (Kafan, Barker, Smith, Spearing & L.Smital 2)
Flames PIMS: 10 (Quiney 4; Eriksson, Kralj & Maslonka 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 33 (12, 11, 10)
Shots on Flames (Ullberg): 30 (10, 5, 15)