Match report by Yvonne Slater
The Bees headed made the short trip along the M3 to face their local rivals the Basingstoke Bison on Saturday for the first game in an away & home double header weekend.
Josh Tetlow and Josh Smith were missing from the Bees line-up as they were away on Great Britain U20’s duty as was Vanya Antonov for the home side Bison. Alan Lack was also missing from the Bison squad. Referee Dave Cloutman took charge of the match with Justin Lalonde and Nathan Carmichael running the lines. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Tomas Haidlovsky, for the Bison, got the starts in the respective nets.
The Bees got off to a good early start and applied early pressure and David Gaborcik fired in from the blue line but the puck went just wide of the post. The Bison counteracted with Matt Towalski taking the puck and firing in on Alex Mettam who came up with a pad save to keep the ex-Bee out. The first, and what turned out to be the only, penalty of the first period went to the Bison’s Joe Rand who sat for a two minute boarding call just over a minute into the game. Despite being short-handed the Bison had a breakaway opportunity through Derek Roehl but the Bees defence steered the chance clear before it imposed any real threat. With the man advantage Martin Pavlicek fired in a shot from the blue line but it was deflected wide, Alex Barker also tried his luck from distance but this went just wide of the net and the Bison penalty kill unit saw off the advantage. Pressure from the home side Bison kept the Bees defence busy for a short period of time, until Bees forward Scott Spearing broke down the wing and cut in with a shot on goal which caused a mad scramble in front of net and the Basingstoke side managed to clear the puck to safety. Just after the six minute marker a poor clearance from the Bees gave the Bison their first goal of the evening with Derek Roehl making the Bees pay for their mistake, with the assists going to Ciaran Long and another ex-Bee Dan Davies. From the resulting face off Shaun Thompson went in round the Bison defence and fired in a shot which Tomas Haidlovsky had to be on form to make a glove save. More pressure from the home side kept the Bees in their own defensive zone, with no real clear cut chances. The Bees however broke out well with some nice cross ice passing which resulted in the Bees first goal just before the 10 minute marker. Scott Spearing slotting home the puck with assists to David Gaborcik and Shaun Thompson. More end to end play followed for the duration of the period until just under two minutes remaining when the Bison edged ahead again as Kurt Reynolds fired home from a narrow angle with assists going to Tomas Karpov & Derek Roehl. No further chances from both sides saw the period draw to a close.
The Hampshire side start the second period applying more pressure to the Bees forcing a huge double save from Alex Mettam and further good defensive work from the Bees kept the Bison at bay early on. Olegs Lascenko broke well for the Bees but saw his chance go narrowly wide. A big hit by James Galazzi on Rene Jarolin ramped up the physicality in the second period. Harvey Stead looped in a wrist shot which saw the puck bobbling towards the net but Tomas Hiadlovsky made a last second save to stop the puck going in. Another Derek Roehl break away saw the Bison extend their lead just short of the thirty-three minute marker with assists to Joe Miller & Joe Baird. The Bees however weren’t disheartened and pushed forward and applied pressure of their own and kept the Bison defence busy with a few shots in from Carl Thompson, Alex Barker and Matt Foord with a big slap shot from the blue line which was rebounded out of play. The pressure paid off with Bees scoring their second goal with thirty seconds left of the second period. A drop pass fell perfectly to Shaun Thompson whose wrist shot went over Tomas Hiadlovsky’s shoulder, with assists to Martin Pavlicek & Scott Spearing. In the dying seconds of the period Alex Mettam picked up a two minute roughing penalty during a scrum in front of his net.
The home side Bison started the third period with one minute and forty-seven seconds remaining on the powerplay carrying over from the second period. The Bees however did well to kill off the advantage effectively. Just over two minutes into the period a collision between Shaun Thompson and Tomas Karpov saw both players laying on the ice, with Karpov looking to have come off worse. Thankfully after a few minutes Karpov was up and helped to the bench. Consultation between the officials saw the Bees Shaun Thompson sent to the penalty box to serve a two plus ten checking to the head penalty. The Bison used the one man advantage to step up the pressure further but the Bees kept them at bay and killed the penalty once more. A little over five minutes into the period saw another ex-Bee haunt the Bracknell side as Dan Davies scored the Bison’s fourth goal after working his way through the Bees defence and backhanding the puck into net assisted by Ciaran Long and Kurt Reynolds.
Tempers frayed and a very chippy four minute period saw the penalty box becoming very popular with three Bison players and two Bees players taking seats for various penalties, at one point the Bees had a four on three advantage which didn’t last long before it ended up three on three, despite all of the penalties there was great defensive work from both teams and the scoreboard remained with the home side Bison holding a two goal lead. The penalty box door had a few minutes of closure until just before the last eight minutes of the game Joe Baird put the Bees back on the powerplay, taking a two minute slashing call. After another mad scramble in front of the Bison net, they manage to kill the penalty. Just after Joe Baird came out of the penalty box his team mate Declan Balmer took a seat for interference, putting the Bees straight back on the powerplay. With seven seconds left of the advantage Scott Spearing then took a seat for an interference penalty. All penalties were killed with no real chances for the either side and the teams got back to five on five hockey. The Bracknell bench called a timeout with forty-seven seconds remaining and they also chose to remove Alex Mettam for the extra skater. Both sides had late chances but saw out the game in a close fought encounter in which the Bison sealed the two points.
Man of the match awards went to Bees netminder Alex Mettam and Bison forward Derek Roehl.
Period scores: 2-1; 1-1, 1-0
Bison scoring: Roehl 2+1; Reynolds & Davies 1+1; Long 0+2; Karpov, Baird & Miller 0+1
Bees scoring: Spearing & S.Thompson 1+1; Gaborcik & Pavlicek 0+1
Bison PIMS: 14 (Baird 4; Rand, Miller, Towalski, Long & Balmer 2)
Bees PIMS: 22 (S.Thompson 12; Barker 4; L.Smital, Mettam & Foord 2)
Bison shots on goal (Hiadlovsky): 24 (6, 9, 9)
Bees shots on goal (Mettam): 56 (17, 19, 20)