Phoenix faced the Bees in Altrincham just a couple of days following their English Challenge Cup 1st leg defeat to the Telford Tigers. Since that game the big piece of news broke that. Red Hockey, owners of the Telford Tigers, had bought a 49% stake in the Bracknell Bees. It's great news for Bees fans, after much speculation throughout the season, this brings stability and longevity to the Bees. Much as I , and others, disagree with one owner owning more than one club. Wayne Scholes must be complemented for putting his money where his mouth is! Security for the Bees means a more stable EPL.
Bees come to the Ice Dome for only their second visit of the season, which, is quickly followed by their third and last visit this coming weekend. Rooted to the foot of the table the Bees have struggled all season but, have claimed some scalps and, thanks to the Bees academy, have some genuine talent and future prospects! That stand-out prospect being Ivan Antonov. This is his first full season in the EPL and, the 17 year old has 39 points from 42 games, outstanding! Perhaps he has a future in Telford? Makes you wonder about the link up?
Anyway, onto the game, despite the Phoenix struggles this season, a home game against the Bees should be seen as a win for the Phoenix.
First Period: The puck dropped and off we went, it had been such a long time since the Phoenix last played the Bees, I though the Phoenix would win but I couldn't remember the matchup against the Bees. On the Ice the Bees were excellent, very quick, great passing between their players, perhaps just a little rusty and not polished enough to really capitalise on all their chances. Having said that, it was the Bees who lit the lamp first, just after the 10min mark the Bees swept up the Ice and the excellent Ivan Antonov scored past Ryan, the puck took ages to cross the line but they all count, goal timed at 10min 53sec. The Phoenix began to edge ahead in the game and control the puck, that effort and control was finally rewarded when Bobby Chamberlain scored at 16min 49sec. The goal given to Bobby after he banked the puck in off a Bees defender.
Second Period: This period really was, to borrow cliche, a period of two halves! The Phoenix came out roaring in the first half, taking just 15 seconds Bakrlik and Kovar took the puck and, almost, buldozed their way to a goal. Frankie taking the puck up the ice to feed Kovar and give the Phoenix their first lead. The home team extended that lead less than three minutes later when Adam Walker tipped a Ben Wood shot to score the Phoenix third. The goal coming at 22min 51sec. Despite the Phoenix continuing to retain the puck, the Bees sharpened their wits and hit right back. Matt Towalski scored at 23min 58sec and then, just 36sec later Hubacek equalised and, 13sec after that Lukas Smital had given the away side the lead. A very disappointing end to the period where the Phoenix had gone from a position of strength to trailing the game. A big team talk needed in the intermission!
Third Period: The Phoenix came out in the third with a purpose and, on the powerplay, they levelled the scores. With the Phoenix PP unit on the ice the puck found its way to Robin Kovar who scored, timed at 46min 34sec. The Bees then hit penalty trouble which really derailed their chances in the game. Waller picked up a 2 min boarding penalty, followed by Scott Spearing getting a 2+10 game misconduct for checking to the head plus an additional game misconduct resulting in him being thrown from the game. Lukas Smital was the next to lose his wrag, talking his way off the ice with a 10min misconduct penalty. Not the wisest of choices when you are the player coach. Jan Bendik then picked up a 2min hooking penalty. It was on this penalty that the Phoenix scored their 5th goal and took the lead. Frantisek Bakrlik unleashing a monster of a shot for the winner. The goal timed at 58min 91sec. Jan Bendik also picked up a 10min misconduct penalty at the same time.
Verdict: A tight win for the Phoenix and one where they made the most of taking their chances. Not the best performance but they got the job done. The Bees were much improved and, they really do have some excellent young prospects. It was their discipline that cost them in the game. Having three players chucked out in one period, one being your play coach was not the best thing to do!
Attendance: A good crowd in the Ice Dome, i'll guess at 1,300.
Phoenix 5 Bracknell 4 - Phoenix Article
Phoenix 5 Bracknell 4 - Bees Article