Match report by Yvonne Slater
The Bees festive period action continued with midweek home action on Thursday as the Peterborough Phantoms travelled south to The Hive. The Bees were still missing Scott Spearing, Josh Smith and Luka Basic due to injury but Rio Grinell-Parke returned from a Great Britain U18’s training camp whilst the visiting Phantoms were without Darius Pliskauskas, Will Weldon and Marc Levers. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Janis Auzins for the Phantoms, started the match in the respective goals. Referee Dave Cloutman took charge of the match with Liv Andersson & Jason Earl on the lines.
The Christmas midweek fixture against the team which has been a thorn in the Bees side for the last three seasons looked to have started well for the Bees as an early shot from Shaun Thompson rebounded back off Janis Auzins, in the Phantoms net, only for Alex Barkers rebound shot to be kicked away. With just under three minutes gone in the opening period the scoring was opened when, for the visitors, Petr Stepanek fired the puck into the top corner of the Bees net past Alex Mettam, assists going to Martin Susters & Ben Russell. From the resulting center ice face off Phantoms defenceman Tom Norton shot in from distance put Alex Mettam pulled off the save. The Bees then looked to apply pressure of their own as Rio Grinell-Parke skated up the wing and cut in to fire the puck just narrowly wide of the net. The Bees Danny Ingoldsby picked up a two minute charging penalty with just under five and half minutes gone in the opening twenty and the visiting Phantoms made the power play count with Petr Stepanek netting his, and the Phantoms, second goal of the evening, unassisted firing the puck in just past the six minute marker. Bracknell continued to press forward with Lukas Smital shooting in and the rebound being picked up by David Gaborcik and his shot is fired through a crowd in front of net and is tipped away. The Phantoms further extended their lead as Sam Towner finds the back of the next just before nine minutes on the clock, assisted by Petr Stepanek & Janis Auzins. A power play opportunity for the Bees shortly after, as James Ferrara picked up a two minute slashing penalty, again saw Lukas Smital fire in but the puck whistled just wide of the net. The Bees kept pressing and continued to try and find a way past Janis Auzins but he stood firm to all they could throw at him. The Phantoms James Archer then headed to the penalty box for a cross check penalty giving the bees a five on three advantage for ten seconds. Despite the Bees power play units efforts the Phantoms again stood firm to kill both penalties. The sides exchanged chances at either end of the ice before Bees player/coach Lukas Smital picked up a two minute holding penalty with just under five minutes left of the first period. It was the Bees turned to dig deep and kill off the penalty limiting the Phantoms to shots from distance. Into the final two minutes of the period and Wehebe Darge visits the Peterborough penalty box for hooking but the period expired with the Phantoms still holding their three nil lead.
The second period started with Lukas Smital firing in on Janis Auzins who scrambles to save the effort. Auzins in turn passed the puck out and it goes towards the boards where Martin Pavlicek goes in to pick up the puck but ends up on the ice after being heavily checked, he skated off in a bit of discomfort. Two and a half minutes into the period Wehebe Darge collects a two minute interference penalty putting the Bees onto the power play but the Phantoms defence again killed off the penalty. The game settled into end to end play, a bit scrappy in places but no clear chances to either team. Just before the half way stage of the game James Galazzi skates round the back of the net and collides with Janis Auzins who goes down and clutches the back of his leg, the ensuing penalty sees James Galazzi being ejected from the game on a five plus game penalty for slashing. Less than twenty seconds later the penalty box doors open again, this time for Lukas Smital who collects two minutes for cross checking and then he is joined by Harvey Stead, for the Bees, and Martin Susters, for the Phantoms, both receiving two minute charging penalties. The result is the visiting Phantoms have a five on three powerplay for two minutes followed by the remainder of the five minute major penalty. Bees netminder Alex Mettam was called into action on several occasions and also pulled of a big double save in close. The Bee did very well to soak up the pressure and kill off all the penalties effectively. A late chance for Ales Padelek who breaks away, skates in on Alex Mettam but from close range backhands the puck over the top of the Bees net. The period drew to a close with no scoring to bother the scoreboard and the Phantoms still three goals to the good.
The final period saw the Bees camped in the Phantoms zone early on with Danny Ingoldsby shooting in and Janis Auzins jabbing the puck away. Alex Barker, from the blue line, forced a big save from Janis Auzins also. Another Ales Padelek break in on net saw his shot rebound off Alex Mettam’s face mask resulting in the play being whistled dead. The home side Bees continued to try and find a way past Janis Auzins but a combination of good luck and good judgement kept the Bees off the scoreboard. With just under twelve minutes left of the game Lukas Smital and Robert Ferrara clashed and both headed to the penalty box having picked up high sticks penalties. Bees Captain Matt Foord does well to keep the puck in the Phantoms zone and keep the pressure on but both penalties expire and Alex Mettam is again called into action and pulled off several big saves to keep the Phantoms out. The remaining minutes of the game saw no real clear chances from either side. Into the final two minutes of the game and the Phantoms found themselves a man short for the remainder of the game as Callum Medcalf picked up a two minute hooking penalty. The Bees bench opted to remove Alex Mettam for have the extra skater and everything is thrown at Janis Auzins in the dying minutes however the Phantoms defence stand their ground and soak up everything thrown goal wards by the Bees and see out the game for the win. The man of the match awards went to Bees Captain Matt Foord and Sam Towner for the visiting Phantoms.
Period scores: 0-3; 0-0; 0-0
Bees scorers: None
Phantoms scorers: Stepanek 2+1; Towner 1+0; Russell, Auzins & Susters 0+1
Bees PIMS: 35 (Galazzi 25; Smital 6; Ingoldsby & Stead 2)
Phantoms PIMS: 14 (Darge 4; J.Ferrara, Archer, Susters, R.Ferrara & Medcalf 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 34 (10, 14, 10)
Shots on Phantoms (Auzins): 38 (16, 11, 11)