Match report by John Slater
This past Saturday saw the Bees with a rare Saturday home match as they welcomed the league leading and undefeated (in regulation time) Telford Tigers.
The Bees went into the game missing player/coach Lukas Smital (injury), the visiting Tigers were missing Joe Miller. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Sam Gospel, for the Tigers, started the match in the respective goals. Referee Stefan Hogarth took charge of the match with Jason Earl & Nathan Carmichael on the lines.
The opening minutes of the match saw the teams trade early chances with Luka Basic going close for the Bees and Doug Clarkson forcing Alex Mettam into an early save. The play moved from end to end with the teams clearing looking to edge ahead on to the front foot and it would be the visiting Tigers who would find the opening goal of the evening. With just over three minutes on the clock Jonathan Weaver fired a shot through the crowd in front of the Bees net and passed Alex Mettam in the Bees net. The Bees though didn’t let their heads drop and enjoyed a period of pressure of their own with Alex Barker and Rio Grinell-Parke coming close before Scott Spearing hit the Tigers post from a tight angle. Unfortunately Josh Smith picked up a tripping minor with a little over six and a half minutes gone but the Tigers advantage only lasted twelve seconds as Rick Plant, for the visitors, then collected a hooking minor to even the numbers back up. The Tigers would enjoy a period of pressure of their own as Alex Mettam had to be in fine form to keep Dan Scott, Milan Kolena and Doug Clarkson from extending the Tigers lead. Alex Barker came close for the Bees before a hooking penalty on Macaulay Heywood gave the Bees the man advantage and the home side looked to make it tell. David Gaborcik tried a long range blast with Olegs Lascenko and Krystof Kafan also forcing Sam Gospel into action in the Tigers net. A goal mouth scramble in front of the Bees net was cleared by the Bees defence as they found themselves pinned in their zone and Alex Mettam again came up big to deny Matthew Davies. The Bees resistance was broken however when Michael Satek fired the puck goal wards and Davies tipped it past Mettam for the visitor’s second goal. The Bees dug deep and pushed forward in the dying minutes of the period and late roughing penalties on Rio Grinell-Parke and Jonathan Weaver meant the period would end with the teams four on four.
With the penalties carrying over into the second period it was the home side Bees that would be start on the front foot as David Gaborcik and Carl Thompson both missed narrowly wide. Alex Mettam was still in good form denying both Doug Clarkson and Sam Zajac in close. Harvey Stead and Olegs Lascenko both forced Sam Gospel into action but the Tigers net minder was equal to both chances. The Bees Scott Spearing picked up a hooking minor with a little over four minutes gone in the second stanza but the Bees defence stood firm to see off the advantage. Jason Silverthorn rattled the Bees post on a breakaway effort moments later before picking up an interference minor shortly after. The Bees pounced on the resulting power play and Olegs Lascenko found Alex Barker well who let fly with a wrist shot into the top corner of the net, over Sam Gospels shoulder, for the Bees opening goal. With the lead narrowed the home side looked to have found a way back into the game and the teams traded possession and chances. Another scrum in front of the Bees net was well cleared and the Bees once again found themselves on the power play as Milan Kolena sat out a roughing minor for the visitors. A wicked deflection off the boards nearly caught out the Tigers defence and netminder but the Bees couldn’t produce a clear chance with the extra man. Again the sides swung the play for end to end but with limited chances until an unlucky rebound off the boards behind the net fell straight to Jason Silverthorn who tapped into the Bees open net for the Tigers third goal.
Still with all to play for in the final period the Bees needed a quick start but the visiting Telford team created the early pressure but the Bees defence dug in and kept the Tigers out for the opening two minutes until Corey McEwen pounced on a loose puck from a turnover and slotted past Alex Mettam to extend the visitors lead to three goals. The visiting Tigers kept up the pressure as Michael Satek, Rick Plant and Jonathan Weaver were all denied by Alex Mettam in the Bees goal. A crisp pass from Krystof Kafan found Harvey Stead but his just whistled narrowly wide of the Tigers net. With a little over half of the final period done the Bees were given another power play opportunity as Doug Clarkson and Scott Spearing clashed with the Tigers player picking up a hooking minor. On the resulting power play a Matt Foord blast caused a mad scramble in front of the Tigers net but the visitors managed to smuggle the puck to safety. With time ticking away and the Bees still trailing by three goals things got a little scrappy with possession mainly in the neutral zone and the teams trying their luck with shots from distance. Matthew Davies forced a pad save from Alex Mettam before Scott Spearing saw his shot and follow up rebound both saved by Sam Gospel. Carl Thompson also forced Sam Gospel into action before a late Tigers goal, scored by Doug Clarkson, sealed the result and the two points for the visiting Telford side.
The man of the match awards went to Scott Spearing for the home side Bees and to Adam Jones for the visiting Tigers.
Period scores: 0-2, 1-1, 0-2
Bees scorers: Foord 1+0; Lascenko & Gaborcik 0+1
Tigers scorers: Clarkson 1+2; Davies & Weaver 1+1; Silverthorn & McEwen 1+0; Satek 0+3; Jones, Plant & Hill 0+1
Bees PIMS: 6 (Smith, Spearing & Grinell-Parke 2)
Tigers PIMS: 12 (Heywood, Weaver, Plant, Silverthorn, Kolena & Clarkson 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 36 (16, 7, 13)
Shots on Tigers (Gospel): 14 (4, 5, 5)