The Invicta Dynamos earned a point on Sunday night despite losing out 3-2 on penalty shots against the Bracknell Bees having held the former EPL outfit to a 4-4 tie after three periods and overtime in a ferocious and controversial encounter.
Having taken the Bees to overtime in Berkshire just a fortnight ago, the Dynamos perhaps saw this tie as their best opportunity to claim a former EPL scalp and started brightly on home ice. Despite a boarding penalty to Mason Webster, the hosts took the lead at 05.01 when Callum Fowler and Scott Bailey countered at speed 2-on-1 – Fowler using his teammate as a decoy and rifling over the shoulder of Alexander Mettam to make it 1-0. However the visitors managed a scrappy leveller at 10.15 – Ben Ealey-Newman’s shot deflecting to Frantisek Bakrlik on the edge of the crease and the Czech stabbing home for 1-1.
Both sides then traded chances in an even opening frame – Callum Fowler at the forefront of everything Dynamos and forcing Alexander Mettam into numerous saves whilst Damien King had to deny Steve Osman and Shaun Thompson at the other end of the ice. The next goal eventually came at 17.11 – Callum Best circling out from the right corner to between the faceoff circles and roofing over the shoulder to put the visitors 2-1 up. That advantage was cancelled out almost immediately – the clock stopping at 19.39 when Ondrej Zosiak’s blue line shot from deep left found the pads of Mettam but Joshua Condren tucked in the rebound close right for 2-2.
In the second period the Dynamos continued with their new found momentum and were back in front at 22.53 – Joshua Condren adding his second by stepping inside James Galazzi and around Harvey Stead before roofing over Alexander Mettam from close left. Alex Barker should have equalised for the Bees when a pass found him in the clear at the back stick but Damien King’s outstretched leg robbed him of a leveller.
At 25.19 tempers then flared – Mason Webster not happy with the reaction of Bracknell import Frantisek Bakrlik after a hit and exchanging verbals with the Czech who skated away. In stepped Joshua Tetlow for the Bees who dropped the gloves to go centre ice with Webster – Tetlow using his height advantage to land the greater number of blows in a long bout between the two fighters. When play restarted the hosts notched another to claim a two goal cushion – Scott Bailey’s searching pass finding Callum Fowler with only one D-man to beat and the forward danced around the outside of Matthew Foord before slotting under Mettam for 4-2 at 26.21.
The increased deficit spurred the Bees into action and Damien King had to be at his best to prevent both Frantisek Bakrlik and Tom Avery finding twine. At 30.26 the netminder’s resistance was broken – Callum Best’s long range shot deflecting up off the glove of King and towards the net where the on-rushing Daniel Ingoldsby forced home to make it 4-3. The home goalie seemed convinced a skate had been used to kick the puck over the line but the referee was unmoved. Ironically at 32.26 the official then came to the home side’s aid – Steve Osman’s shot from wide right deflecting into the net off the stick of defenceman Arran Strawson but all whilst George Norcliffe stood in the crease resulting in the strike being washed out.
In the final period Bracknell continued to chase the game with the Mos predominantly on the back foot but still looking dangerous on the counter. Joshua Martin rang the crossbar for the Bees early on whilst Damien King denied Daniel Ingoldsby’s goal bound poke from right in front. Perhaps the best chance fell to James Galazzi who escaped in behind but was unable to lift over the netminder on the backhand at point blank range. Down the other end Callum Fowler remained a constant danger – Scott Bailey’s pass sending him clear down the right but the forward’s shot was from too tight an angle to trouble Alexander Mettam.
However, just as it seemed the Mos might hang on for victory, Bracknell levelled the tie at 4-4 at 57.37. From an offensive faceoff Joshua Martin tucked the puck through the legs of the defenceman for a clear shot before dispatching inside the left post from the slot to send the game into overtime.
After 1.27 of the additional 5 minute frame came the talking point of the night – Bracknell import Frantisek Bakrlik with an indefensible check to the head of the back checking Mason Webster well away from the puck that left the unsuspecting forward unconscious on the ice. Bakrlik skated away seemingly without remorse whilst Webster required immediate medical attention and lay on the ice for approximately 20 minutes for fear of a spinal injury. Fortunately, a hospital trip and scans would later give him the all clear whilst Bakrlik was tossed from the tie with a match penalty for checking to the head.
When the play restarted the Mos spent the remainder of overtime on the powerplay but Ashley Jackson’s shot onto the crossbar from close left was the nearest they came to a sudden death winner. The result was penalty shots and, after Jan Bendik and Callum Fowler both drew blanks in the first round, Shaun Thompson put the Bees ahead only for Ashley Jackson to answer immediately in round two. Alex Barker had the Bees in front again as he squeezed inside the post around the leg of Damien King in round three but Adam Rehak coolly answered with a deke and shot that wrongfooted Alexander Mettam.
2-2 after three shots each sent the game to sudden death penalties and, when Callum Fowler was denied, Shaun Thompson was able to win the tie for Bracknell with a shot over the reach of King for the 3-2 shootout victory.
So it was a defeat for the Mos but still a point and one they definitely deserved having stood with their former EPL opponents for 65 minutes. Man of the match awards went to Callum Fowler of the hosts whilst Ben Ealey-Newman took the spoils for the Bees. All eyes then turned to the EIHA to take action on Bracknell’s Frantisek Bakrlik who is now almost certain to spend time out of the game – a hefty suspension both on the cards and derserved.
Written by Paul Bennett.