Swindon Wildcats 6 – 3 Bracknell Bees

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The Bracknell Bees headed to Swindon to take on the Wildcats in a New Years day festive fixture.  The Bees went into the game without Matt Foord & Tony Redmond due to injury but again added the quartet of Ben Paynter, Brendan Baird, Harvey Stead & Tom Fisher to the lineup.    The Wildcats were at full strength and had Ryan Aldridge behind the bench.   Tom Annetts and Stevie Lyle started in the respective nets.

The game got off to an immediate start as the Wildcats got an early shot on Annetts before the Bees went straight up the other end and forced Lyle into a good save too.   With the game less than three mintues in it was the Wildcats who took an early lead on the powerplay, with Pavel Strycek sitting out a minor penalty for holding the stick, when Henri Sandvik finished off a close bit of play around the net.

The Bees were stung into action by the goal and forced Lyle into a coule more saves including a terrific long range shot from Scott Spearing.   With Sam Smith taking a minor for tripping for the Wildcats the Bees then converted a powerplay chance of their own when Jan Benidk let fly with a long range shot which found the top corner of the net to level the scores.   Buoyed by the goal the Bees looked to be getting a foot hold in the game until slightly against the run of play and on another powerplay, this time with Chris Wiggins sitting a roughing minor, Aaron Nell struck for the Wildcats after good work behind the net by Sam Smith.

Whilst there was no more scoring in the first period the sides exchanged several good chances and penalties too.   Ryan Watt and James Galazzi exchanged words as the game started to get chippy towards the end of the period.   There was also a getting together of most of the players as the hooter went for the end of the first period with the Wildcats holding the narrow lead.

The second period was a quieter affair with the play swinging from end to end.   The Bees needed to kill off several powerplay chances in the period, including a five on three chance, and did so effectively.   There was plenty of goal mouth action and shots coming in from distance but both netminders stood strong.  Chris Wiggins and Sam Bullas had a disagreement along the boards resulting in a scuffle for which both players received 2+2 and a further 2 for roughing.   The period ran out scoreless but action packed and exciting non the less.

Into the third period with just the one goal difference it was still all to play for.   The Bees got off to the better start in the period and leveled the scores through Sam Oakford with just over four minutes gone.   The lead didn’t last long however when less than three minutes later the Wildcats again went ahead through Ollie Betteridge.   Their lead lasted even less time than the Bees had been level when only thirty four seconds later Shaun Thompson leveled the scores back up again.

A break neck start to the period settled down somewhat for a few minutes as both sides pushed for the go ahead goal again.   The Bees hit the post with a little over six minutes left and also cleared a couple of goal mouth scrambles but couldn’t clear one which Aaron Nell pounced on – giving the Wildcats the lead again.   Lewis Turner was sin binned for a slashing minor and the Wildcats effectively sealed the result when they converted this chance as Jonas Hoog scored almost straight from the faceoff.   The Bees however didn’t throw the towel in and battled hard to create some late chances and removed Tom Annetts for the extra attacker however the Wildcats sealed the 6-3 win with an empty net goal from Aaron Nell, who completed his hat-trick with the goal.

The Man of the Match awards went to Bees defenceman Pavel Strycek and forward Sam Smith for the home side Wildcats.

Match Stats
Period Scores: 2-1; 0-0; 4-2
Wildcats PIMs – 18 (Bullas 6; Watt 4;  Smith, Sandvik, Pekkarinen & Bench 2)
Bees PIMs – 26 (Wiggins 12; Galazzi 4; Turner, Lamey, Bendik, Oakford & Strycek 2)
Wildcats scoring – Nell 3+1; Hoog 1+2; Sandvik 1+1; Betteridge 1+0; Symonds, Harding, Smith, Taylor, Bullas, Godfrey & Watt 0+1)
Bees scoring – Thompson 1+1; Bendik & Oakford 1+0; Smital 0+2; Lamey & Strycek 0+1
Shots on Wildcats  (Lyle) 36 (13,12,11)
Shots on Bees (Annetts) 33 (9,13,11)

Link to Official EIHA Gamesheet – HERE

Link to Match photos courtesy of www.bluelinephotography.co.uk – To Follow

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