Bracknell Bees 3 â€“ 6 Swindon Wildcats
The Bees entered the fixture looking to make it a maximum four point weekend, after an important 3-1 win over the Milton Keynes Lightning the night before. After an impressive performance from Alex Mettam in that match, he was chosen ahead of Tom Annetts in the Bracknell net again. Sam Oakford and Tony Redmond were missing from the Bees lineup.
The first significant shot came from Swindon, Tomas Fojtik with a low shot from distance surprisingly finding its way under Alex Mettam’s legs. One nil down after 36 seconds, not the start the Bees wanted but how would they respond?
The teams exchanged penalties, firstly Stephen Whitfield for the Wildcats then Ollie Bronnimann soon after. With both sides a man down James Galazzi produced a moment of brilliance, only to see his instinctive long-range shot come flying back off the top frame of the Swindon goal. Moments later Galazzi hits the post again! This time it was from a better chance, where you’d have banked on seeing an equaliser.
Just under five minutes gone in the first it was third time lucky for James Galazzi, Chris Wiggins providing the assist. Bracknell would push on looking eager to take the lead for the first time, Shaun Thomson and then Ollie Bronnimann both going close. With Bracknell continuing to apply pressure, Jan Bendik was dispossessed just as Swindon returned to full strength. Ryan Watt passed long to Aaron Nell, who gratefully took the chance to recapture the lead for the Wildcats.
Bracknell responded brightly and Grant Rounding was unlucky when he saw his chance to shoot prevented by Shane Moore. With Bracknell on the powerplay, Pavel Strycek rolled the puck to Lukas Smital in space, who smashed it in off the underside off the goal. A terrific hit to tie the match at two goals apiece.
After some impressive resilience to bring themselves level, Bracknell were undone again by some less than ideal play. The puck effortlessly came through to Henri Sandvik for the Wildcats, who’d have found it harder to miss when clear against Alex Mettam. One of the most exciting first periods at The Hive this season ended 2-3 to Swindon.
The second period started evenly, both teams’ determination to get the next goal leading to a lot of broken play. Just after two minutes into the period, Alex Mettam left his goal unattended in pursuit of the puck, leaving Jan Kostal to score an easy goal from Aku Pekkarinen’s assist. Frustrated by the goal, Scott Spearing found himself destined for the sin bin for a check to the head. That would spark what would soon become a catastrophe of events.
Numerous penalties would come flying in for Bracknell and at one stage there seemed to be an equal number of players in the sin bin and on the Bees bench, with only three on the ice. Tempers in the home side flared and what had started a potential classic match had soon turned sour. Somehow, the Bees were able to restrict their deficit to three. The only additional goal after the masses of penalties came from the Wildcat’s Aaron Nell for his second, unsurprisingly this time on the powerplay.
With the Bees able to compete in attack again, Chris Wiggins looked to pinch a goal to generate some hope with a great solo dribble and shot. After the near miss, Wiggins fed Grant Rounding who reduced the deficit to two. Two goals down at the end of the second, but the Bees would be without Lukas Smital for the rest of the game. Lukas being ejected from the match during the barrage of Bees penalty minutes.
The Wildcats lost men consecutively early in the final period, but they weren’t punished as needed. Understandably deflated, Scott Spearing and Harvey Stead went to keep Chris Wiggins company in the sin bin. On the powerplay, Swindon sealed a 6-3 victory through Aaron Nell.
The man of the match awards went to Henri Sandvik for the visitors and Matt Foord for the home side Bees.
Period Scores: 2-3; 1-2; 0-1
Bees PIMs â€“ 105 (Smital 37; Spearing, Wiggins & Strycek 14; Mettam 10; Turner 6; Bronnimann 4; Bendik, Stead & Bench 2)
Wildcats PIMs â€“ 34 (Moore 14; F.Taylor 6; Pekkarinen 4; Fojtik, Symonds, Whitfield, Lyle & Sandvik 2)
Bees scoring â€“ Galazzi, Rounding & Smital 1+0; Wiggins 0+2; Foord & Strycek 0+1
Wildcats scoring â€“ Nell 3+0; Kostal 1+3; Sandvik & Fojtik 1+0; Watt 0+3; Pekkarinen 0+2; Symonds & Harding 0+1
Shots on Bees (Mettam)Â 34 (11,16,7)
Shots on Wildcats (Lyle)Â 39 (21,5,13)
Link to Official EIHA Gamesheet â€“Â HERE