The Bees returned home to The Hive this past Sunday to face the Manchester Phoenix for the second time in the same weekend having picked up the impressive road win the previous evening.
The Bees went into the game at full strength with the visiting Phoenix missing Ben Wood. Netminders Matt Smital, for the Bees, and Stephen Fone, for the Phoenix, started in nets. Referee Paul Brooks took charge of the match with Justin Lalonde & Donald Campbell on the lines.
The home side Bees started the game on the front foot, full of energy and pinned the Phoenix back in their own end for the opening minutes creating several good chances that Phoenix netminder Stephen Fone had to be alert to keep out. Things looked even brighter for the home side as Edgars Bebris picked up a hooking minor for the visiting Phoenix putting the Bees onto the first powerplay of the evening. Despite some strong play from the Bees the visitors saw off the advantage effectively and spurred on by this pushed forward themselves and netted the first goal of the evening with a little under eleven minutes on the clock as Robin Kovar finished a pin point pass from Edgars Bebris. Only seconds after the goal James Galazzi and Luke Boothroyd would clash, both receiving cross checking minor penalties before Bees Player/Coach Lukas Smital was called for tripping only nine seconds later. With the Bees defending a four on three penalty kill and only seventy seconds after the first goal the Phoenix had doubled their lead as Bebris this time became the scorer from a Marek Indra pass. The teams got back to five on five hockey but not for long as Lukas Smital picked up a cross checking penalty and Scott Spearing was also called for slashing, both penalties at the same time on the clock. The Bees player coach received a ten minute misconduct penalty for arguing with the referee and was then ejected from the game for a second misconduct penalty. The home side did well to see out the first minute of the visitors advantage but the Phoenix were clinical with the extra skaters and netted their third goal of the night as Robin Kovar picked up his second goal of the evening. A shell shocked home side did well defensively to get to the period break to try to regroup.
The Bees started the second period brightly looking for a quick goal to narrow the lead and get them back into the game and had an early power play opportunity after seventy seven seconds of the period with Edgars Bebris heading to the box for a two minute high sticks penalty. Stephen Fone, in the Phoenix net, stood firm to the chances the Bees created and shortly after the Bees had a further advantage as Luke Boothroyd joined Bebris in the penalty box. Again though Fone was equal to all the Bees could muster. Having seen off the Bees advantage the Phoenix would themselves head on to the power play as Scott Spearing picked up a holding the stick minor. The Bees dug deep though and killed he penalty well. The sides then exchanged a number of penalties with Krystof Kafan for the Bees (cross checking) then the Manchester bench (delay of game) and finally Bees defenceman Josh Tetlow (tripping) all being penalised. Roman Malinik extended the Phoenix lead further with just over a minute left in the second stanza giving the Bees a bigger hill to try to climb in the final twenty minutes.
After the action packed second period play slowed somewhat in the final period with both teams tiring. The Bees needed a goal to get themselves back into the game and a power play with about over six minutes gone in the final twenty as the Phoenix were caught with too many imports on the ice, strangely they were caught and penalised for the same infraction less than forty seconds later to double the Bees advantage on the power play. Stephen Fone and the Phoenix continued to keep the Bees scoreless however despite all they could throw at them. Krystof Kafan was denied on a breakaway one on one before Scott Spearing picked up a roughing minor putting the Phoenix on a power play of their own. The Bees again dig deep to kill off the Phoenix advantage but had to do it all over again when Krystof Kafan picked up a slashing minor. The Bees defensive unit and Matt Smital however did well once more to keep the Phoenix out. Bees forward Alex Barker snapped off a quick wrist shot in the dying minutes that look for all the world would break Fone’s shutout but the Manchester net minder pulled off a great glove save to keep the Bees out once more. In the dying seconds Jakub Langhammer sealed the points for the Phoenix with their fifth goal of the evening.
The man of the match awards went to Bees net minder Matt Smital and to Edgars Bebris for the visiting Phoenix.
Period scores: 0-3, 0-1, 0-1
Bees scorers: None
Phoenix scorers: Kovar 2+1; Bebris, Langhammer & Malinik 1+1; Indra 0+2; Neil & Tuominen 0+1
Bees PIMS: 48 (L.Smital 32; Spearing 6; Kafan 4; Tetlow & Galazzi 2)
Phoenix PIMS: 16 (Berbris & Bench 6; Boothroyd 4)
Shots on Bees (M.Smital): 30 (9, 9, 12)
Shots on Phoenix (Fone): 24 (7, 8, 9)