Match report by Yvonne Slater
The Bees first road game of 2017 saw them make the long trip north to Sheffield to face the Steeldogs in late Saturday evening action at Ice Sheffield in what is their last visit to Sheffield this season. The Bees were missing Scott Spearing and Josh Smith although Luka Basic returned from injury and new signing Rupert Quiney made his debut for Bracknell whilst the home side Steeldogs were missing Callum Pattison and Donatas Kumeliauskas due to suspension. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Brandon Stones for the Steeldogs, started the match in the respective goals. Referee Dave Cloutman took charge of the match with Scott Ellis & Matthew Carrington on the lines.
The home side Steeldogs were quick off the mark and had the first chance of the evening as Macaulay Heywood fired in on net with the puck deflecting away to the stick of Arnoldas Bosas, who shot just wide of Alex Mettam in the Bees goal. The first penalty of the match came with just under two minutes of the game on the clock as the Steeldogs Liam Charnock picked up a two minute clipping minor. The Bees headed on to the powerplay and Luka Basic found space in front of the Steeldogs net but the puck trickled across in front of Brandon Stones who covered for a face off. The Bees win the face off well and a Martin Pavlicek blast forced Stones to cover again. The Sheffield side dug in well and killed the penalty. A poor turnover by the Steeldogs gifted Danny Ingoldsby the puck and he broke into the zone but the Steeldogs manage to regroup and clear the puck. The Bees stepped their pressure up with Olegs Lascenko and Carl Thompson combining well but the puck rebounded out from Brandon Stones but the opportunity to shoot was missed. The Steeldogs broke well and a shot was fired in on Alex Mettam which hits the post and fell straight to Arnoldas Bosas who scored the first goal of the evening with just over seven and a half minutes on the clock, with assists going to Liam Kirk & Macaulay Heywood. Just under a minute later the Steeldogs doubled their lead as Alex Mettam saves an initial shot but the puck looped up and away but bizarrely hits Liam Charnock and rebounds off him and into the back of the net. Alex Mettam and the Bees players immediately voiced their displeasure at the goal being given as it appeared to have been hand passed into the net. Referee Dave Cloutman however waved away the protests and the goal stood. The Bees tried to regroup from the double blow and Lukas Smital found Alex Barker well who forced Brandon Stones to make a big pad save. Luka Basic also whistled a backhanded shot just wide of the Steeldogs post. Sheffield created another breakaway chance but Alex Mettam cleared the puck but only for Tomas Brcko to shoot but Mettam pulled off a great glove save. The period drew to a close with end to end action with few clear chances and the Steeldogs with a two goal lead at the buzzer.
The Bees started the second period on the front foot with Josh Tetlow finding Luka Basic who tried a backhanded effort but the puck was deflected just wide of the post. Basic collected the puck again for another shot but Brandon Stones blocks the puck and front the resulting rebound the Bees try to scramble the puck in but Macaulay Heywood blocked the effort and the shot deflects away from danger. The Steeldogs Arnoldas Bosas broke free and headed down the ice but shot the puck up and over the Bees net. Defenceman Josh Tetlow picked up the Bees first penalty of the evening with twenty four and half minutes on the clock with a two minute elbows penalty. The Bees defensive unit did well to limit Sheffield to chances from distance and kill off the penalty effectively. Exactly half way through the game the Steeldogs Ben Morgan collected a two minute slashing penalty. On the resulting power play Bracknell pass the puck well around the zone but fail to create any clear chances and are limited to shots from distance as the Steeldogs penalty is killed. Rupert Quiney, on his debut for the Bees, fired in a blast from the blue line forcing Brandon Stones into action but the home side cleared the rebound well.. Bees Captain Matt Foord also tried his luck from distance but the shot went agonisingly wide. A Steeldogs two on one breakaway looked threatening but Alex Mettam slides across the net to deny the impending threat. Luka Basic moved in close on Brandon Stones but the effort trickled wide only for David Gaborcik to collect and pass to Shaun Thompson but Adrian Palak intercepted the play and disappeared down the ice with a one on one with Mettam who pulls of a big save to keep the scoreline at two nil to the home side. Somewhat against the run of play Sheffield robbed the puck from Lukas Smital at the blue line and break down the ice with Greg Wood slotting the puck home under Mettam just before the end of the second period, assists going to Liam Kirk & Liam Charnock. The period ends with the home side Steeldogs now holding a three goal lead.
The third period was barely forty seconds old when the Bees pick up a bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice. The Steeldogs apply the pressure to the short-handed Bees but they do well to kill the penalty and limit Sheffield’s chances. Three minutes into the third Sheffield player/coach Greg Wood collected a two minute elbows penalty but decides to stand in the penalty box doorway and give instructions to his team, and referee Dave Cloutman adds a further two minute delay of the game unsportsmanlike penalty for his trouble. Wood reacted to the further penalty, hitting his stick on the plexi a couple of times in frustration which leads to referee Cloutman issuing a further warning to the Sheffield player/coach. The Bees had their chance to force their way back into the game with the resulting five on three power play. They look to immediately take the opportunity with Rupert Quiney firing in several blasts from the blue line and the Bees creating a few chances in close but the home side dug in well to kill off the penalties. With just under ten minutes remaining in the contest a mis-timed challenge on the Steeldogs Adrian Palak saw him collide awkwardly with the boards and stay down. Cameron Brownley and Harvey Stead clashed and both collected two plus two roughing penalties with Brownley collecting a further match penalty for fighting and Harvey Stead collecting a match penalty for checking from behind. Palak was helped from the ice and was thankfully fine to continue. Only moments later Alex Barker collected a two minute hooking penalty for the Bees and Sheffield capitalise on the advantage with their fourth goal, on the power play, scored by Macaulay Heywood assisted by Liam Kirk & Arnoldas Bosas. The last few minutes of the game see a few chances from each side but Sheffield holding on for the shut out win on their home ice.
The man of the match awards went to Bees forward Luka Basic and to Steeldogs netminder Brandon Stones.
Period scores: 2-0; 1-0; 1-0
Steeldogs scorers: Heywood, Charnock & Bosas 1+1; Wood 1+0; Kirk 0+3
Bees scorers: None
Steeldogs PIMS: 37 (Brownley 29; Morgan, Charnock, Wood & Bench 2)
Bees PIMS: 35 (Stead 29; Tetlow, Barker & Bench 2)
Shots on Steeldogs (Stones): 47 (16, 9, 22)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 29 (11, 13, 5)