Report by Fiona-George Smith & John Slater
On Saturday night the Bees headed up to Milton Keynes to face the Lightning in a regular season English Premier Ice Hockey League and Cup match. The Bees were at full strength whilst the Lightning were missing Adam Carr and Mikolaj Lopuski but added Jordan Cownie. The Referee for this match was Kevin Ward and his linesman were Jason Earl and Nathan Carmichael. Starting in net for the Bees was Alex Mettam and for the Lightning was Przemyslaw Odrobny.
The game started evenly with chances at both ends of the ice and with both netminders forced into early action as both sides looked for the opening goal. The travelling Bees were looking good until the Lightning broke the deadlock with just over eight minutes gone as the puck was centred to James Griffin who fired past Alex Mettam in the Bees net. The goal didn’t seem to faze the Bees as they battled in search of the equalizing goal. A big save from Alex Mettam denied ex-Bee Frantisek Bakrlik on a breakaway but moments later Milan Baranyk made no mistake as he raced clear on another break and finished with a back hand effort to give the home side the two goal lead with a little over eleven minutes on the clock. Efforts from Olegs Lascenko and Carl Thompson showed the Bees were still battling hard but they found themselves a man down when Scott Spearing was assessed a slashing minor. To their credit the Bees penalty kill unit stood firm and saw off the penalty and as the penalty ended the game settled into end to end action with chances at both ends. The Bees, in the dying seconds of the opening period, picked up a further penalty as David Gaborcik was penalised for slashing.
The home side Lightning started the second period with a man advantage for the first 1.17 and took full advantage pinning the Bees into their zone and Milan Baranyk tipped a shot from distance past Alex Mettam in close to extend the home sides lead to three goals. Things went from bad to worse for the Bees only twenty seconds later as the puck broke loose from a scramble in front of the Bees net to Bobby Chamberlain who fired past the stranded Mettam for the Lightning’s fourth goal. The Lightning kept the pressure up on the visiting Bees with the Bees looking to create chances on the break but they had to dig deep as Matt Foord picked up an interference minor. The Bees penalty kill unit once again stood firm to all the Lightning could muster and came close with a couple of efforts of their own. The home side had a goal disallowed just short of the half way mark of the game, for the puck having been kicked in, and this seemed to spur the Bees into action who forced Odrobny, in the Lightning’s net, into a couple of big saves. Somewhat against the run of play however it was the Milton Keynes side who extended their lead further as Lewis Hook finished in close with just under thirty three minutes gone. Olegs Lascenko and Lukas Basic went close for the Bees with Alex Mettam denying Frantisek Bakrlik and Lewis Hook also before, with five minutes remaining in the second stanza, Lukas Smital headed to the box to sit a cross-checking minor. Once again the Bees penalty kill unit kept the home side out and shortly after the penalty expired it was the Bees turn for their first power play of the evening as Lewis Christie headed off for tripping. Despite their efforts however the Bees couldn’t make the advantage count and failed to find a way past Odrobny in the home sides net.
Into the final period the dying seconds of the Bees powerplay remaining from the previous period came and went quickly and the travelling Bees knew they had a mountain to climb and they started the period well looking to narrow the lead quickly. The sides traded early chances but the home side made the mountain bigger for the Bees as they netted their sixth goal after four minutes of the final period as Lewis Hook finished a rebound from his own shot over Mettam in the Bees net. The Bees were given the chance they were after as Frantisek Bakrlik headed to the penalty box for tripping but despite the Bees pushing forward and piling on the pressure the again couldn’t find a way on to the scoreboard on the powerplay but only seconds after the powerplay had expired the Bees finally netted their first goal of the evening as Alex Barker beat Odrobny. The home side opted to change their netminder at this point and Jordan Hedley replaced Odrobny. A penalty on Scott Spearing, for tripping, was again effectively seen off by the Bees but inly seconds later Bobby Chamberlain extended the Lightning’s lead once more with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. Luc Johnson headed off for a holding minor and the Bees once more had a man advantage but the home side stood firm to see off the advantage but Luka Basic did net the Bees second goal only seconds later with just under five minutes remaining. The game however did not just quietly finish, the final five minutes still had more to offer as Jordan Cownie fired home the Lightnings eight, and final, goal of the evening to seal the win for the home side. In the final minute Frantisek Bakrlik and James Galazzi clashed and dropped the gloves, both players received 2+2 roughing minors with the Lightning player also receiving a further two minute holding minor. The game was already over however and the final seconds ticked away with the Bees looking for a further consolation goal.
Man of the match awards went to Bees Captain Matt Foord and Milan Baranyk for the home side Lightning.
Period scores: 2-0, 3-0, 3-2
Lightning scorers: Chamberlain 2+2; Baranyk & Hook 2+0; Cownie 1+2; Griffin 1+1; Bakrlik 0+3; Billing 0+2; Emersic, Carlon & Farn 0+1
Bees scorers: Basic & Barker 1+0; Thompson, Hayes, L.Smital & Spearing 0+1
Lightning PIMS: 12 (Bakrlik 8; Christie & Johnson 2)
Bees PIMS: 14 (Spearing & Galazzi 4; Foord, L.Smital & Gaborcik 2)
Shots on Lightning (Odrobny & Hedley): 29 (13, 9, 7) + 8 (0, 0, 8)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 58 (22, 23, 13)