Friday, 3 April 2015

Ice Hockey: Bakrlik's Late show 'STINGS' Bracknell



MANCHESTER PHOENIX       5       -        4    BRACKNELL BEES

 A late power play strike by Frankie Bakrlik was just enough to help Phoenix in a come from behind victory to snap a five game losing streak, with a 5-4 win over a spirited bottom of the table Bracknell Bees at the Altrincham Ice Dome on Sunday night.
Manchester started their penultimate weekend of the English Premier League season with a loss down in Surrey, despite the efforts of Shaun Thompson scoring twice for the away team, he couldn`t help stop the Phoenix getting beaten 4-3 in a close game against the Guildford Flames who could possibly be a playoff opponent for the Phoenix.

Sunday’s game saw the rock bottom Bracknell Bees side come to town and with a fair few youngsters in their side, they gave the home side a tough game and in truth their performance was not one of a team that has struggled badly all season. The Bees received a massive boost during the week, as Red Media who is owned by Tigers owners Wayne Scholes, bought a 49% stake in the Berkshire club to help them secure their future at the John Nike Leisure Complex.
Manchester had the majority of the puck with Bees netminder Alex Mettam once again proving to be thorn in the Phoenix side, with some saves to stop them taking the lead. Phoenix had a couple of opportunities, but Mettam stacked his pads and made some easy glove saves.
Robin Kovar came close to giving the home side the lead, after pulling the Bracknell defence inside out before being denied first off by Alex Mettam and then dinked it over the bar. Bracknell took the lead in the game against the run of play, despite the fact they looked more threatening in attack in the opening ten minutes.
Rising star for the Bees this season is Ivan Antonov, who put his side 1-0 up at 10.53 with Lukas Smital assisting on the goal. Manchester didn’t seem to play with much confidence as their passing was poor and didn’t seem to play particularly well. The fans tried to rally around their side and get them back in it, but this time to no avail.  

With the hosts pushing for a goal, Phoenix finally made a breakthrough on Alex Mettam to tie the game. It came from a rush up ice through Frankie Bakrlik and with Robin Kovar in support, the Czech duo combined to set up Bobby Chamberlain, as the GB under 20’s star tapped in for 1-1 at 16.49.
The second period started well for the Phoenix as the same line worked well to put them up 2-1, with this time Chamberlain and Bakrlik working together with Robin Kovar firing a one-time shot past Mettam at 20.15. The Bees may be rooted at the bottom of the table, but they showed a lot of good play within their youthful side with definitely some promise for the future.
Adam Walker made it 3-1 for the hosts, after the Scottish forward managed to just push the puck into the net to open up a two goal cushion at 22.51. You would have possibly expected the Bees to just cave in after giving up two quick goals, but the youthful enthusiasm in the squad ensured that would not happen.
The Bees responded soon after, when the Phoenix defence was far too high up the ice which left massive gaps at the back, with Matt Towalski finishing a one on one against Declan Ryan, the score was then 3-2 at 23.58. That goal seem to 'sting' the Bees into action and with Mettam shutting the Phoenix forwards down with some very good stops, the Bees confidence was growing thanks to their netminder.
With Phoenix looking nervous with their play and perhaps doubting themselves, the Bees capitalised on the poor defensive play of the hosts, with two quick goals in succession. At 37.39, Matt Towalski and Pavel Strycek set Radek Hubacek off down the right wing and with no defence around, gave Hubacek the perfect opportunity to shoot past Ryan to make it 3-3. Thirteen seconds later with a carbon copy of their last goal, Matt Foord and Ivan Antonov played Lukas Smital on and he made it
4-3 to the Bees at 37.52 following a complete meltdown of the Phoenix defence. With the period coming to a close,  Phoenix started to look very frail at the back and seemingly unable to get any meaningful attacks going at all, with the passes all coming from within their defensive zone.

The final period started with Phoenix taking it to their opponents. Manchester then tied the game up at 46.36 with a power play goal by Robin Kovar, after he netted his second of the game with Frankie Bakrlik and Tony Hand assisting on the goal to see the game levelled at 4-4.  At 47.40, the game starting to swing in favour of Phoenix, with Scott Spearing checking a Phoenix player from behind and collecting a 2+10, then earned himself a further 10 minute penalty for misconduct and was then ejected from the game.
With the home side on top, a couple of the experienced players in the black and yellow jerseys seemed to lose their discipline which ended up costing their team dearly. Lukas Smital picked up a 10 minute misconduct call after he argued with the referee following an offside call and had to be restrained by the linesman, before exiting the ice and watched the rest of the game from behind the glass.  Jan Bendik was then called for hooking at 56.38 and with the Phoenix throwing everything they had at Bracknell, they finally retook the lead which resulted in the roof being taken off the dome, as Frankie Bakrlik’s blast went through traffic to give the hosts a 5-4 lead.
Following the goal, Bendik wasn`t too pleased with match official Steve Matthews who then gave him an instant 10 minute misconduct call as he skated back to the bench which resulted in three of their key players missing and despite the Bees pulling their netminder for the extra attacker, the Manchester Phoenix finally snapped their five game losing streak and are now closing in on securing sixth place in the table.

The Phoenix can make sure of that next weekend when they welcome back the Bees, before the final regular season game against the Swindon Wildcats.

No comments:

Post a Comment