By John Slater
Sunday saw the Bees follow up their Thursday evening away win over the Sheffield Steeldogs and Saturdays Fireworks Night home win over the Manchester Phoenix with the long Sunday trip to Hull to face the high-flying Pirates for the first time this season.
The Bees went into the game missing player/coach Lukas Smital (injury) and Martin Pavlicek (injury) with the Pirates missing Ugnius Cizas (international duty), as netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and, Jordan Marr for the Pirates, started the match in the respective goals. Referee Dave Cloutman took charge of the match with Luke Palmer & Nathan Carmichael on the lines.
The early moments of the game saw the sides battling for possession. Alex Mettam was called into early action with a shot in close which he was equal too. The Bees found themselves a man down as James Galazzi headed to the box for a slashing minor with just under three minutes gone as the Pirates looked for some early pressure. Andrej Thermar, Jamie Chilcot, Stanislav Lascek and Nathan Salem all saw efforts saved by Alex Mettam on the resulting power play. Scott Spearing broke clear and blasted a shot from distance but the puck deflected down to a Hull player who passed the loose puck to Andrej Thermar who slotted the puck passed Alex Mettam for the opening goal of the evening. Almost immediately the Bees broke back down the ice from the resulting face off and rang a shot in close off the Pirates post. The Bees kept up the pressure and created another chance in close for Carl Thompson but he couldn’t find a way past Jordan Marr in the Pirates net. End to end action but with few chances ensued until Carl Graham fired in a wrist shot from the blue line which Marr covered easily. A further penalty to the Bees, this time on Luka Basic for high sticks put the home side Pirates on to the power play. Andrej Thermar again made the advantage count as he found himself in space and fired a wrist shot through the crowd in front of the Bees net past Mettam for his, and the Pirates, second goal of the evening. Efforts from Dadvid Gaborcik and Scott Spearing were saved by Jordan Marr almost straight from the face off resulting for the goal. James Galazzi and Josh Gent were both assessed slashing minors sending the teams to 4-4 action. With the extra space it was the home side that pressed forward with Andrej Thermar passing to Nathan Salem whose shot was pad saved. Josh Tetlow tested Jordan Marr again from distance but he was once again equal to the shot. Alex Mettam had to be quick to deny Lee Bonner in close on a breakaway before having to then pull off a top drawer to again deny Bonner once more. The sides again settled into battling for possession until Ryan Watt picked up a minor penalty for cross checking meaning the Bees would be on the power play for the remainder of the period, their first man advantage of the match. The Bees advantage was double to a 5-3 powerplay for 1 minute 28 seconds as Nathan Salem headed to the box for high sticks. The Bees tried to scramble the puck in from the resulting faceoff but the Pirates cleared the puck – the Bees kept up the pressure in the dying seconds with a Luka Basic shot being deflected over and a couple of Krystof Kafan shots narrowly missing.
The second period would start with the Bees still on a short seven second 5 on 3 power play and then a further thirty-two second 5 on 4 powerplay but the early advantage came and went without incident. Early scrappy exchanges followed until a three on two break saw Olegs Lascenko force Jordan Marr in to a glove save, he again had to be quick to block a Krystof Kafan shot. Danny Ingoldsby also came close but was denied by the Pirates netminder. Following some Pirates pressure Josh Smith was first to a loose puck as the Bees defence broke up a Pirates attack well and he snapped a wrist shot past Jordan Marr to narrow the deficit to one goal for the travelling Bees. Visibly lifted by the goal the Bees pushed forward looking to tie the scores up but it would be the Pirates who would extend their lead shortly after as Andrej Thermar turned provider laying on a tap in goal for Pirates player/coach Dominic Osman with just over six minutes gone in the second twenty. Alex Mettam then denied Lee Bonner in close with a good save. A Pirates two on one breakaway chance saw Jonathan Kirk fire wide of the Bees net. The Bees, undeterred, kept battling and the resulting pressure saw Stanislav Lascek picked up a high sticks minor sending the Bees on to the power play. A Krystof Kafan close effort and a Matt Foord long range blast were both effectively dealt with by Jordan Marr during the man advantage. The sides continued to exchange possession and chances until the Bees headed back on to the power play as the home side Pirates were caught for too many men on the ice with a little under seven minutes remaining in the middle period. A Matt Foord long range blast sailed just wide on the resulting power play and Luka Basic attempted to redirect a David Gaborcik wrist shot too. Jason Hewitt broke away short handed in the dying seconds of the Pirates penalty but Alex Mettam managed to keep the puck out and the home sides lead to two goals. Two quick chances for the Bees, one ringing off the post, couldn’t find a way past Jordan Marr as the Bees kept pushing forward. Andrej Thermar again forced Alex Mettam into action in the last two minutes of the period. Luka Basic was denied in close with both an initial shot and rebound. The Bees continued to battle as they sought to narrow the lead, chances for Kafan, Spearing and Thompson came and went as the Bees finished the period on the front foot.
The final period started with the home side on the front foot and with the pressure. A Stanislav Lascek shot was deflected over by Alex Mettam early on a quick break before the Bracknell netminder also robbed Lee Bonner at the back post after Josh Smith had blocked a Nathan Salem slap shot. Josh Smith and Olegs Lascenko saw efforts saved by Jordan Marr as they looked to push forward themselves. The first six minutes saw the sides’ defences on top for the most part. Krystof Kafan fired a rebound effort goal ward to once again force Marr into action. Rio Grinell-Parke headed off the ice after a collision in front of the Pirates net needing attention (he would return three or four minutes later and continue in the game). James Galazzi and Matt Foord were unlucky to see two quick efforts saved in close by Marr as they continued to push looking to narrow the Pirates lead. Two quick breaks for the Bees were seen off by the Pirates defence as both sides’ defences denied the oppositions forwards clear chances. Josh Smith however would pick up a slashing minor, with a little over eight minutes remaining, giving the home side a chance to wrap the game up but the Bees defence stood firm to see off the advantage. Stanislav Lascek however looked to have sealed the game up for the home side only seconds later with a snapped wrist shot with just under minutes remaining in the match to give the Pirates a three goal lead. The Bees however had other ideas and came close to narrowing the lead as first Luka Basic and Olegs Lascenko both saw close in efforts saved. James Galazzi also rang a shot off the Pirates bar before the Bees headed onto a power play as the Pirates player/coach Dominic Osman picked up a delay of game minor as the puck was shot over the plexi from the defensive zone. Tempers started to fray late on as things started to pick up physically in the dying moments of the game. The Bees called a timeout with 1.48 left in the match to talk things over and Alex Mettam would leave the ice shortly after for the extra attacker. Despite their best efforts though the Bees and the extra attacker couldn’t find a way past Jordan Marr and the Pirates hung on to their three goal lead and the home win.
The man of the match awards went to David Gaborcik for the traveling Bees and to Andrej Thermar for the home side Pirates.
Period scores: 2-0; 1-1; 1-0
Bees scorers: Smith 1+0; Galazzi 0+1
Pirates scorers: Thermar 2+2; Lascek 1+2; Osman 1+0; Kirk & Chilcott 0+1
Bees PIMS: 8 (Galazzi 4; Smith & Basic 2)
Pirates PIMS: 12 (Gent, Watt, Salem, Osman, Lascek & Bench 2)
Shots on Bees (Mettam & Empty Net): 32 (15, 13, 4) & 0 (0, 0, 0)
Shots on Pirates (Marr): 40 (6, 17, 17)