Bracknell Bees 2 – 5 Sheffield Steeldogs Match Report (by John Slater)
The Bracknell Bees opened their home 2016/17 English Premier Ice Hockey League campaign as they took on the Sheffield Steeldogs at The Hive.
The Bees went into the game missing Rio Grinell-Parke, due to injury, whilst the Steeldogs were without Tom Relf, Donatas Kumeliauskas and Adrian Palak. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and James Hadfield, for the Steeldogs, started in nets. Referee David Cloutman took charge of the match with Flynn Stitch-Cunningham & Donald Campbell on the lines.
With the Bees seeking their first league points of the season having lost out the previous night on the road in Milton Keynes, they started the game at a quick pace and looked to put early pressure of the visiting Sheffield side. The teams were looking for the early advantage and chances for Alex Barker, Scott Spearing and Lukas Smital all went close in the opening minutes but it was the visitors who opened the scoring with just under five minutes gone in the game as Andrew Hirst finished in close, netting past Alex Mettam. The Bees looked for the quick reply and Luka Basic fired a shot into the chest of James Hadfield. With six and a half minutes on the clock the Bees found themselves with a power play opportunity as Liam Kirk headed to the penalty box for tripping. The visiting side almost caught the Bees out shorthanded as Arnoldas Bosas broke away but Alex Mettam kept the onrushing forward out. The Bees settled into the power play and piled on the pressure with Martin Pavlicek and Matt Foord coming close. Sheffield however were creating chances of their own also and Alex Mettam had to be on form to deny Tomas Brcko. Greg Wood picked up a cross checking penalty with eleven minutes on the clock putting the Bees back on the power play. Again the Bees pushed forward looking for the equaliser with Lukas Smital hitting the post and Kryston Kafan seeing a good shot blocked well. Alex Mettam again had to be alert to deny Ashley Calvert in close. The play was now swinging from end to end but it was the Bees that would finish the period on the front foot with Josh Smith whistling a shot just wide from an angle and Carl Graham trying his luck from distance.
Trailing by two goals the home side Bees again started the period quickly and Josh Smith forced a good save from James Hadfield early on but again it was the Steeldogs who would find the back of the net. Arnoldas Bosas again broke away and finished past Alex Mettam to extend the visitors lead to three goals. The sides exchanged chances with Krystof Kafan and Lukas Smital coming close before David Gaborcik tested Hadfield with a big shot. Martin Pavlicek came up with a goal line clearance to deny Andrew Hirst before David Gaborcik found Alex Barker with a long pass but James Hadfield again came up with the save. Just before the half way mark of the second period Scott Spearing picked up a hooking minor but the penalty saw the Bees with the better of the play, shorthanded. Josh Tetlow tried a blast from distance and Lukas Smital and Krystof Kafan combined well but the short whistled just wide of the Steedlogs net. Lukas Smital rang the puck off the Sheffield post again before Pavel Mrna found himself in trouble with the referee as he picked up a cross checking minor. On the resulting power play some nice play by Scott Spearing set up Martin Pavlicek with a shooting opportunity which he took well to open the Bees scoring with thirty-five minutes gone. Unfortunately for the Bees however the Steeldogs would extend their lead again only a couple of minutes later on a power play as first Scott Spearing headed to the box for holding the stick only to be followed shortly afterward by Josh Tetlow for delay of the game. The Bees killed off the 5 on 3 penalty well but whilst still short handed Greg Wood finished well following a good move by Arnoldas Bosas and Andrew Hirst. Two goals down the Bees stuck at the task in hand and pushed forward late in the period with Matt Foord, Krystof Kafan and David Gaborcik all coming close to narrowly the lead.
Still trailing by two goals going into the final period it was again the Bees that started the period brightly but despite the pressure and good chances for Scott Spearing, Josh Smith and Martin Pavlicek the Bees couldn’t find a way past James Hadfield in the Sheffield net. The Bees defence did well to keep the Steeldogs out too and the Bees eventually netted their second goal of the night as a quick pass from Carl Thompson found Scott Spearing who shot the puck through James Hadfields legs with just under eight minutes left in the game. The Bees joy would only last ninety seconds however as another break for the visitors saw Pavel Mrna netted the Sheffield sides fifth goal of the evening. The Bees were looking to finish the game strongly but a penalty late on from Carl Graham, for cross checking, meant the Steeldogs could run the clock down and seal the victory.
Man of the match awards went to young Bees forward Josh Smith and to Arnoldas Bosas for the visiting Steeldogs.
Period scores: 0-2, 1-2, 1-1
Bees scorers: Spearing 1+1; Pavlicek 1+0; Thompson & Graham 0+1
Steeldogs scorers: Bosas 2+2; Hirst & Wood 1+1; Mrna 1+0; Morgan 0+2; Bell, Kirk & Charnock 0+1
Bees PIMS: 8 (Spearing 4; Tetlow & Graham 2)
Steeldogs PIMS: 6 (Kirk, Wood & Mrna 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 31 (9, 10, 12)
Shots on Steeldogs (Hadfield): 24 (8, 11, 5)