Milton Keynes Lightning 4 – 1 Bracknell Bees Match Report
The Bracknell Bees made the trip to Milton Keynes to face the Lightning in their first regular season match of the 2016/17 English Premier League season.
The Bees went into the game at full strength with Krystof Kafan able to make his debut having received his ITC clearance. Jordan Cownie and Tom Carlon were missing for Milton Keynes. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Przemyslaw Odrobny, for the Lightning, started in nets. Referee Matt Thompson took charge of the match with Nathan Carmichael & Jason Earl on the lines.
The opening period began fairly evenly with both teams creating chances but it was the home side Lightning who would take the lead with just over six minutes gone as a Lewis Hook blast was poked home by Frantisek Bakrlik. Despite the early set back the Bees pushed forward seeking the equaliser but found themselves a man down just past the half way mark of the first period as Carl Graham was penalised for tripping. The Bees penalty kill unit dug in well with Alex Mettam making some impressive saves too but they would need to repeat the efforts almost immediately afterward as, this time, David Gabrocik picked up a two minute minor for boarding. Great determination was shown by the Bees penalty kill unit once more as they again saw off the man advantage despite the Lightning raining in long range shots and even hitting the Bees pipework. With three and half minutes remaining in the opening period the Bees headed on to the powerplay themselves as Edward Knaggs heading to the box for holding. The Bees pushed forward looking to make the advantage count but couldn’t find a way past Prezmy Odrobny in the Lightning net. The period ended with the home side holding the narrow one goal lead.
The second period began well for the Bees who were looking to start the period quickly but their early buoyancy was dented as Frantisek Bakrlik again followed up a Lewis Hook shot which had hit the Bees post and rebounded out to him with just under four minutes gone. The Bees tried to keep a foothold in the period but the home side started to control possession and pin the Bees into their defensive zone. Shortly after the Bees player coach had rung a shot off the Lightning pipes a third Lightning goal came, just over two minutes after their second as Lewis Hook finished a breakaway move. The sides then exchanged chances, with Matt Foord forcing Odrobny into action. Lewis Christie was handed a two plus ten for checking to the head after a coming together with Rio Grinell-Parke with seven and a half minutes remaining in the period but despite the extra man advantage the Bees couldn’t make it count as the Lightning defence stood firm. The period ticked by with limited chances at either end of the ice.
The final period started badly for the travelling Bees as defenceman Josh Tetlow was assessed a five plus match penalty for high sticks with only a minute gone. The penalty was later downgraded to a five plus game as Blaz Emersic returned to the ice but the damage was done to the Bees with Tetlow missing the remainder of the game. The home side wasted little time in adding to the punishment for the Bees as Milan Baraynk found a way past Alex Mettam in the Bees net less than a minute into the powerplay. Half way through the final period James Galazzi and Bobby Chamberlain clashed at center ice and received two plus two for roughing. Two late back to back penalties on the Lightning for Sam Jones (interference) and Luc Johnson (cross checking) gave the Bees a late chance to break the shut out. The Bees pressed hard on the power play and a quick low shot saw the puck disappear between the Lightning netminders legs, the whistle went as the goal was pushed backwards and out of position which sparked a debate as to whether the goal should stand. The referee and team came together and the Bees were awarded the goal. Alex Barker scoring with the assist going to Lukas Smital. The Bees stuck at it in the dying minutes but the goal proved to only be a consolation one as the teams exchanged late penalties and the teams saw out the clock.
Man of the match awards went to Bees netminder Alex Mettam and Lewis Hook for the home side Lightning.
Period scores: 1-0, 2-0, 1-1
Lightning scorers: Bakrlik 2+2; Hook 1+2; Baranyk 1+0; Emersic 0+2; Jones 0+1
Bees scorers: Barker 1+0; L.Smital 0+1;
Lightning PIMS:24 (Christie 12; Chamberlain 4; Jones, Johnson, Knaggs & Baranyk 2)
Bees PIMS: 37 (Tetlow 25; Galazzi & Graham 4; Foord & Gaborcik 2)
Shots on Lightning (Odrobny): 30 (6, 10, 14)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 38 (17, 15, 6)