Bracknell Bees 1 Guildford Flames 2: Eriksson nets visitors the points as two rivals play out full-blooded local derby

Bees v Guildford Jan  Lewis Turner
Lewis Turner (centre) celebrates Carl Thompson's equalising goal for the Bees (Picture: Bob Swann)

A THIRD-PERIOD strike from Jens Eriksson saw Guildford Flames take the points from an action packed local derby at The Hive.

The Swedish forward would settle the contest just two minutes into the session, firing a shot across Alex Mettam in the Bees goal and into the corner after the puck had spilled loose at a face off.

Jez Lundin had earlier opened the scoring for the Flames, who were pegged back when Carl Thompson swept the puck home on the powerplay.

While the defeat was a 16th in succession for Bracknell, the scoreline failed to reflect a full-blooded and often ill-tempered encounter between the two fierce rivals.

Scuffles, fights and penalties were aplenty on a night when emotions ran high, although the two fully-committed rivals did play out some fast paced and entertaining hockey in between.

Yet the game was a relatively slow burner to begin with, as the first period passed by with few clear cut chances or incident for either side.

Although the match had barely started before it came to a halt after Lewis Turner took a puck to the face and subsequently required treatment for a split lip.

Of the opportunities which did arise during the first 20 minutes, however, Eriksson was wide for the Flames before Alex Barker, who hit a hat-trick the weekend before, fired a strike into the hands of Guildford netminder Gregg Rockman.

He also thwarted Vanya Antonov as Bees broke on the counter and then showed great reflexes to keep out Milan Kostourek, who stole in as Guildford were caught out at the back, but the import forward could only fire his effort from close range straight at the netminder.

Jan Bendik was off target when letting fly from the blueline and Thompson dragged a shot wide over on the left as Bracknell continued to ask questions, but were unable to make the breakthrough.

Bees' James Galazzi dropped the gloves with opponent Rupert Quinney (PIcture: Bob Swann)
Bees’ James Galazzi dropped the gloves with opponent Rupert Quinney (PIcture: Bob Swann)

But Guildford had their moments too, with Mettam twice denying Rupert Quiney.

The same player also palmed away an Erik Piatak strike before Ben Campbell put another chance over the bar.

The visitors, though, had arguably the best opportunity to open the scoring early in the second period.

Returning from the penalty box having sat out a holding minor, Lee Esders immediately found himself one-on-one with Mettam, but the latter was equal to the attempt.

Kostourek and Danny Meyers traded missed chances before the opening goal eventually arrived on 24.54.

Lundin was the scorer, but the strike was engineered by Janis Ozolins, who took off down the left wing and skipped past the attempted challenge of Turner before squaring for his unmarked team-mate, who took a touch before finishing with aplomb.

The Flames immediately went on the offensive once again, but a Meyers drive was flicked away by Mettam, who also tipped over a Piatak shot as Bees’ defence became stretched.

All the penalties awarded up until now had been cancelled out by either side, but when former Bee Meyers was punished for hooking after Kostourek had given him the slip, the hosts finally capitalised.

And it was a goal which came straight from the training ground; Scott Spearing and Turner combining to pick out Thompson, both of which were first-time passes, with the forward lighting the lamp from over on the left via a post.

Bracknell would remain on level terms for just four minutes, although it was during this time when the game started to spill out of control, with James Galazzi and opponent Andy McKinney dropping the gloves and exchanging numerous blows early in the third stanza.

Numerous scuffles broke out on a bad tempered night between the two rivals (Picture: Bob Swann)
Numerous scuffles broke out on a bad tempered night between the two rivals (Picture: Bob Swann)

But both would watch on as Eriksson went on to hit the winner, sweeping home a first-time strike from just inside the blue line.

Meyers again went close as Guildford went in search of a third, while Spearing and Kostourek were unable to make the most of opening which came their way for the home side.

A tussle then saw Spearing binned for roughing, with the incident providing the spark which lit the blue touch paper soon after.

When back on the ice, the forward became involved in an incident directly in front of the respective benches – and almost sparked a clear out.

Many of those out on the rink, however, became involved in an angry exchange which would result in the penalty box becoming standing room only.

This is because Tom Duggan, Ozolins, Eriksson, Quiney and Sam Godfrey for the Flames and Bees’ Josh Tetlow, Spearing, Kostourek and Galazzi were all punished for offences ranging from roughing to cross checking and abuse of officials.

Tempers were to boil over once more when Galazzi this time traded punches with Quiney, with the pair having to sit out yet more penalties.

Once order had been restored Bracknell tried in vain to snatch an equaliser, with Rockman saving from both Bendik and Kostourek, who also fired wide amid a clutch of bodies around the crease.

The netminder also thwarted Thompson late on, but had to rely on a team-mate having initially dropped the puck, although there was no Bee in range to pounce.

Bracknell are away at Telford Tigers this Saturday (5.30pm) before Hull Pirates visit the Hive for a basement battle on Sunday (6pm).

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