The Bees returned home to The Hive once again this past Sunday to face the league leading Milton Keynes Lightning.
The Bees went into the game at full strength with the visiting Lightning missing Mikolaj Lopuski and Jordan Cownie. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Przemyslaw Odrobny, for the Lightning, started in the match. Referee Roman Szucs took charge of the match with Jason Earl & Andrew Cook on the lines.
Following on from the previous week’s home game at The Hive the Bees were in need of a better performance in front of the home crowd and started the game with immediate pressure on the visiting Lighting and after only thirteen seconds had found a way past Przemyslaw Odrobny in the Milton Keynes net through David Gaborcik’s blast from distance. The home side Bees lead lasted for just over two minutes as Blaz Emersic levelled the scores somewhat against the run of play. The sides exchanged chances as the play swung from end to end with both net minders having to be on their toes to keep out efforts from Bees off-season addition Krystof Kafan and ex-Bee Frantisek Bakrlik. With just over six minutes gone in the match Kafan and Tom Carlon both headed to the penalty box for charging and tripping respectively leaving the game to proceed four on four. The sides played out the period of four on four hockey and it was only seconds after they returned to full strength that Lewis Christie picked up a tripping minor and the Bees headed on to the powerplay. The Bees looked to make the most of the advantage but the Lighting defence stood strong to see off the penalty. In the dying moments of the opening period Frantisek Bakrlik was assessed a roughing minor and the Bees pounced to retake the lead through a Krystof Kafan effort. The Bees took the narrow 2-1 lead into the second period.
The second stanza’s action started early as Bees Captain Matt Foord was called for slashing but Frantisek Bakrlik joined him only forty seconds later and then Scott Spearing was also called for cross checking, the sides saw off the advantages with defences and netminders equal to everything created. Play settled with both sides creating chances at either end of the ice but it was the visitors who levelled the scores. Bees David Gaborcik was sitting out a boarding minor as Lewis Hook found a way past Alex Mettam in the Bees net with a little under half of the game in the books. Alex Mettam was in fine form as he pulled off an impressive double save to keep the scores level and the sides once more exchanged penalties as Lukas Smital and Lewis Hook both received hooking minors within seconds of each other shortly after the goal. Despite chances at both ends and the play swinging from end to end the middle period ran out with the sides still tied at two goals apiece as the defences came out on top.
The final period began at pace and the visiting Lightning netted their third goal of the evening as Craig Scott poked home a rebound from a Frantisek Bakrlik effort with only just over a minute on the clock. Despite the setback the Bees stuck at the task in hand and both sides exchanged possession and chances with Blaz Emersic being denied well by Alex Mettam, Lewis Hook seeing his shot well blocked by David Gabrocik and Lukas Smital forcing Przemyslaw Odrobny into a smart save. A penalty on Blaz Emersic, for tripping, half way through the period gave the Bees a power play opportunity to level the scores but the Lighting worked hard to keep the Bees off the scoreboard despite the man advantage. As time ticked away for the Bees they called a timeout to talk things over and eventually remove Alex Mettam for an extra outfield skater, the gamble however didn’t pay off and the Milton Keynes side hung on for the narrow victory.
The man of the match awards went to Bees net minder Alex Mettam and to Craig Scott for the visiting Lightning.
Period scores: 2-1, 0-1, 0-1
Bees scorers: Kafan & Gaborcik 1+0; Thompson, L.Smital, Spearing & Barker 0+1
Lightning scorers: Hook 1+1; Scott & Emersic 1+0; Jamieson & Bakrlik 0+2; Baranyk 0+1
Bees PIMS: 10 (Foord, L.Smital, Kafan, Spearing & Gaborcik 2)
Lightning PIMS: 12 (Bakrlik 4; Emersic, Hook, Carlon & Christie 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam & Empty Net): 38 (13, 16, 9) & 0 (0, 0, 0)
Shots on Lightning (Odrobny): 22 (10, 7, 5)