Match report by Steve Merry
The Bees festive period action continued as they headed to Guildford to face their local rivals the Guildford Flames in the return leg of Boxing Day fixture the day before. The Bees were missing Scott Spearing, Josh Smith and Luka Basic due to injury and also Rio Grinell-Parke who was away at a Great Britain U18’s training camp whilst the home side Flames were missing David Savage, Andy Melachrino & Matej Kralj. Netminders Alex Mettam, for the Bees, and Dean Skinns for the Flames, started the match in the respective goals. Referee Dave Cloutman took charge of the match with Amy Lack & Andy Cook on the lines.
The opening period started evenly with both teams trying to work each other out after the previous evenings game and looking for the early advantage and it was the home side Flames who were the first to strike whilst on the powerplay with a little over six minutes gone in the match, with the Bees Harvey Stead in the box for a tripping minor. Scored by Jens Eriksson assisted Jez Lundin and Ben Campbell. Guildford doubled their lead four minutes later as Ben Campbell scored unassisted as the Bees defence had dealt with the initial attack but Campbell trailed behind the play and putting the rebound past Alex Mettam and into the Bees net. The rest of the period ran out without further penalties or goals and with the home side Flames on the front foot but finding difficult to find another way past.
The Bees, looking for a way back into the game, started the second period on the front foot and pushed forward early. They were starting to make some progress but due to a mix up in defence which saw two Bees players get caught up in each other Tom Duggan picked up the loose puck and skated in on Alex Mettam and finished the opportunity. This seemed knock the wind out of the travelling Bees and the Flames further extended their lead just past the half way point of the match as Ben Campbell netted his second goal of the evening on a similar play to the second goal coming off of the Flames bench late in the play and finding open space to shoot. Tempers frayed at the thirty-five minute mark with Andy McKinney and Shaun Thompson coming to blows, both receiving 2+2 roughing penalties and Bees player/coach Lukas Smital also receiving a slashing minor. With the man advantage Guildford make no mistake and took full advantage with Ex-Bee Danny Meyers one timing a shot from the high slot past Alex Mettam.
Five goals down heading into the final period the Bees seemed to spark into life and started to find a way through the Flames defence, get into their zone and start to move the puck and find some space. Despite the pressure from the Bees however Dean Skinns, in the Flames net, was equal to everything that the Bees could throw at him clearing the puck on several occasions. The home side again further extended their lead with just over forty-eight minutes gone as another Ex-Bee Tom Duggan stuffed the puck home after a melee in front of the
Bees net. The Bees had a power play chance of their own as Ben Campbell sat out a high sticks penalty with eight and a half minutes remaining. Again however the Flames defence and Dean Skinns stood firm to see off the advantage. Tempers again frayed with three minutes remaining as Marek Maslonka and James Galazzi clashed, receiving 2+2 roughing minors for their troubles. The scoring was completed with just over a minute left in the match as Andrew McKinney scored from close range to wrap up the win for the Flames.
The man of the match awards went to Bees youngster Jack Hayes and Dean Skinns for the home side Flames.
Period scores: 2-0; 3-0; 2-0
Flames scorers: Campbell 2+2; Duggan 2+0; Meyers, Eriksson & McKinney 1+1; Satek 0+3; Hemmings 0+2; Santavuori & Lane 0+1
Bees scorers: None
Flames PIMS: 10 (McKinney & Maslonka 4; Campbell 2)
Bees PIMS: 12 (Galazzi & S.Thompson 4; Stead & L.Smital 2)
Shots on Flames (Skinns): 22 (5, 6, 11)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 47 (14, 22, 11)