Full match report to follow…
Saturday evening saw the visit to The Hive of the third placed Hull Pirates as opposition for the Bees. They went into the game at full strength, with Shaun Thompson making his return to The Hive, whilst the visiting Pirates were missing Jamie Chilcott. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Ashley Smith for the Pirates, started the match in the respective goals. Referee Tim Pickett took charge of the match with Ali MacPhee & Liv Andersson on the lines.
The match started fairly evening with both teams enjoying some early possession and an early penalty gave the visiting Pirates an early powerplay advantage. Bees forward Josh Smith heading to the box after only one minute of the contest for a high stick penalty. The Pirates pressed forward looking to make the early advantage count but shorthanded the Bees penalty kill unit managed to rob the Pirates of the puck and Carl Thompson and Luka Basic broke free, Basic made no mistake finishing the chance well to give the home side Bees the early lead. The Bees killed off the remainder of the penalty well with Alex Mettam standing firm in the Bees net. With a little under four minutes gone the Bees doubled their lead following some good pressure in the Pirates defensive zone and it was Carl Thompson who fired past Ashley Smith in the Pirates net with the assist going to Martin Pavlicek. Visibly lifted by the two early goals the Bees looked to apply more pressure on the Pirates with shots raining in from all angles. Alex Mettam had to be alert at the other end of the ice also and pulled off a huge double save to deny the Pirates. Seconds later however the visiting Pirates did manage to get themselves on the scoreboard as Stanislav Lascek netted, assisted Andrej Themar at 7.21, following a turnover by the Bees in their own zone. Just over a minute later Olegs Lascenko was called for a holding minor and the visiting Hull side made the powerplay opportunity count with their second goal at 10.02 being scored by Dominic Osman assisted Stanislav Lascek & Jon Kirk. Having pegged the score back to two goals apiece the Pirates were now on the front foot until Ryan Watt was assessed a slashing minor with just under fourteen minutes gone in the first period. This time the Bees powerplay unit made no mistake and converted the opportunity with just one second left of the penalty – Bees player/coach Lukas Smital picked his way through the Pirates defence and netted well with the assists going to Shaun Thompson and Martin Pavlicek. Tight and tense play saw out the remainder of the period and the Bees held on to the narrow one goal lead at the buzzer.
The home side Bees started the second period where they left off in the first and with less than a minute on the board had extended their lead with a fourth goal as Shaun Thompson netted on his return to the Bracknell Bees, assisted by Lukas Smital & Scott Spearing. Despite extending their lead the Bees found the Pirates right up for the game as they found themselves penned in their zone briefly but Alex Mettam was equal to all the Pirates could muster. The Bees dug deep and managed to create some pressure of their own on the Pirates net which resulted in the home side’s fifth goal of the evening. The goal was scored unassisted by Luka Basic, who converted a one on one chance against Ashley Smith – a nice couple of moves by Basic saw the Pirates netminder stranded and Basic slipped the puck into the empty net. Just before the halfway stage of the game Bees captain Matt Foord picked up a tripping penalty, but the Bees saw off the advantage well. Pirates forward Ryan Watt took another trip to the penalty box at 31.44 for high sticks and on the resulting powerplay the Bees David Gaborcik fired a shot in from the blue line. The puck fires past the net and rebounds back off the boards and hits the Pirates netminder Ashley Smith on the back and drops into the back of the net for a sixth goal for the Bees at 32.24 unassisted by a surprised David Gaborcik. A further Hull penalty at 33.36 saw the Bees extend their lead even further as Carl Thompson netted his second goal of the evening at 33.48. Following the seventh Bees goals the visiting Pirates made the decision to change up the net minders with Jordan Marr replacing Ashley Smith. The change did nothing to deter the Bees however as less than a minute after the change Scott Spearing scored goal number eight for the Bees assisted by Lukas Smital. In the dying seconds of the period James Galazzi and Pirates player/coach Dominic Osborn clashed, exchanging blows and head to the penalty box both getting roughing minors.
The penalties carried over into the start of the third period but the teams returned to five on five hockey with few clear chances. The Bees were looking more threatening but Jordan Marr was standing firm to all the Bees chances and with four minutes gone of the final period an awkward hit along the boards saw Bees defenceman Josh Tetlow pick up a two plus ten penalty for checking to the head. Pirates player/coach Dominic Osborn took exception to the hit and skated and scuffles with Tetlow. The result was an extra two plus two for roughing being added to Tetlows penalty and Dominic Osborn receiving two plus two at the same time. The third period was a much tighter affair than the second stanza had been with both netminders in good form to keep out all opportunities that the sides could create. The Bees were still on the front foot for the majority of the period and opted to remove Alex Mettam and replace him with Matt Smital for the final five minutes of the match. With just over three minutes remaining in the match Lee Bonner found a way past the Bees young netminder but the goal was nothing more than a consolation as the Bees saw out the final three minutes of the match to seal the impressive home win at The Hive.
The man of the match awards went to Bees forward Luca Basic for the home side and to Jason Hewitt for the visiting Pirates.
Period scores: 3-2; 5-0; 0-1
Bees scorers: C.Thompson & Basic 2+1; L.Smital 1+2; Spearing, S.Thompson & Gaborcik 1+1; Pavlicek 0+2; Tetlow 0+1
Pirates scorers: Lascek 1+1; Osman & Booner 1+0; Stokes, Haywood, Gent, Themar, Kirk 0+1
Bees PIMS: 26 (Tetlow 16; Galazzi 4; Foord, Smith & Lascenko 2)
Pirates PIMS: 16 (Osman 6; Watt 4; Maynard, Hewitt & Haywood 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam & M.Smital): 29 (11, 11, 7) & 1 (0, 0, 1)
Shots on Pirates (Smith & Marr): 24 (13, 11, 0) & 18 (0, 3, 15)