Match report by Steve Merry
Saturday evening saw the Bracknell Bees make the long trip up the M1 to face the Sheffield Steeldogs.
The Dogs were without the suspended Callum Pattison whilst the Bees were at full strength. Kevin Ward was the referee for the game assisted by Scott Ellis & Flynn Sitch-Cunningham on the lines.
Alex Mettam started in net for the Bees and James Hadfield was his opposite number for the ‘Dogs. The first period started at a furious pace, but it was not too long before the Bees had an early powerplay at 4:31. When Cameron Brownley was sent to the box for roughing. The powerplay lasted ten seconds as Carl Thompson fired home from the slot at 4:41, assisted by David Gaborcik and Matt Foord. The Steeldogs started to get the puck moving and had a number of opportunities to equalise early on but Mettam in the Bees net had other ideas. It wasn’t too long before the Bees got another powerplay opportunity, when Ashley Calvert was sent to the box for hooking, the Bees stepped up another gear and doubled their lead at 7:47 through Carl Thompson again, this time assisted Alex Barker and David Gaborcik, whilst on the powerplay. This seemed to send a wakeup call to the Steeldogs and they started to put some passes together and mount an attack on the Bees net, Mettam stood strong and denied the Steeldogs on a number of occasions. The Dogs found a way through at 17:39 when import Pavel Mrna shot from the slot and put the home team on the board. The Bees responded well and were looking for another goal to restore the two goal cushion, they started to apply pressure to the Steeldogs and at 19:44 Olegs Lascenko scored assisted Luca Basic and David Gaborcik. A late penalty on Scott Spearing for Interference at 19:49, that’s where the period ended.
The second period was too close to call, both teams playing end to end hockey and both receiving chances on the powerplay. Both teams battled hard against the boards and in front of the net. The Bees were playing a fast, high speed passing game and on several occasions were unlucky not to score. The Steeldogs equally tried to take control and had some great chances, as their forwards found a way through our defence. The managed to claw back a goal at 38:22 when Pavel Mrna scored again assisted by Arnoldas Bosas, the Steeldogs were looking hard to get back into this game. The second period ended shorthanded again for the Bees when Bees player/coach Lukas Smital sat a two minute delay of the game penalty.
The third period was a feisty affair as the Steeldogs tried to wind up the Bees and throw them off of their game plan. At 45:43 Matt Foord was sent to the box for interference, the Dogs mounted wave after wave of attacks on the Bees net. When Lukas Smital managed to poke the puck away from a Steeldogs defence man he broke away and managed to draw James Hadfield out of his net slightly and was one on one with the netminder, Hadfield went for the puck in the crease but Smital went round him and slotted home short-handed much to the delight of the travelling Bees fans. The Dogs were back on the scoreboard again at 52:32, when Pavel Mrva scored again to seal his hat trick. The Bees started to strengthen the game and kept their discipline on the whole. The Bees held on, even after James Hadfield had left the goal empty in favour of the extra skater. The Bees could not get the puck near the goal however and the game ended with a major penalty for boarding on the Steeldogs Pavel Mrna after James Gallazzi was knocked down to the ice.
The Man of the Match awards went to Pavel Mrna for the home side Steeldogs and to the Bees netminder Alex Mettam.
Period scores: 1-3, 1-0, 1-1
Steeldogs scorers: Mrna 3+0; Bell, Morgan, Bosas & Smith 0+1
Bees scorers: Thompson 2+0; Lascenko & L.Smital 1+0; Gaborcik 0+3; Foord, Barker & Basic 0+1
Steeldogs PIMS: 41 (Mrna 27; Calvert 6; Kirk, Wood, Bosas & Brownley 2)
Bees PIMS: 14 (Galazzi & L.Smital 4; Foord, Spearing & Gaborcik 2)
Shots on Steeldogs (Hadfield & Empty Net): 37 (15, 9, 13) & 0 (0, 0, 0)
Shots on Bees (Mettam): 38 (12, 12, 14)