A wild start to the Bees IHC’s league campaign and playoff push with a 4 point weekend to start off the season. On Saturday, the Bees welcomed the Peterborough Phantoms to the Slough Ice Arena and took the 2 points away from the Phantoms giving them a zero point weekend to start their league campaign with a 7-5 victory. Then on Sunday, made the trip up to Telford and put up an intense battle to secure a 4 point weekend with a 7-6 victory in overtime with the game winning goal coming from Dominik Gabaj.
Bees IHC 7-5 Peterborough Phantoms
The Phantoms got off to a good start by winning the opening face-off and automatically testing the Bees defence early on in the game but were shut down. A push from the Bees forced the Phantoms into their defensive zone not long after testing the Bees and at 02:43 Marcel Balaz got the Bees onto the scoreboard with an assist given to Josh Kelly to see the Bees gain an early lead. A couple of good chances got on the side of Harry Harcup who was able to get past the Phantoms defence but at 16:59 with a powerplay goal Marcel Balaz further extended the lead for the Bees with an assists given to Dominik Gabaj to give the Bees a 2 goal lead going into the second period after some great saves from Bees netminder Brython Preece and defensive plays by Brendan Baird and Harvey Stead.
Bees had a promising beginning to the second period but so did the Phantoms with them applying a lot of pressure onto the Bees defence and in the end at 29:37 Ales Padelek managed to get Peterborough off the zero mark. Harry Harcup was quick to react to the Phantoms’ success with a perfect set up by Will Stead to keep the Bees lead timed at 33:23. The Phantoms started to pick up their pace more and more throughout the second period and Luke Ferrara managed to get to the back of the Brython Preece’s net at 36:57 with Lukas Sladkovosky and Scott Robson receiving assists on the goal and this left a one goal gap between the two teams. Joe Gretton after getting through the Bees defence controlled the situation and equalised the game at 38:02 to end the second period.
With a lot on the line for both teams, both teams came out to start the third and final period and only 44 seconds into the third period the Bees regained the lead with an unassisted goal from Brendan Baird. This boosted the Bees’ spirits and they began to further test Jordan Marr who was in goal for Peterborough. But at 42:52, Lukas Sladvosky yet again equalised the game with an assist awarded to Luke Ferrara. Spirits were still high on the Bees bench and they did not stop pushing to once again take the lead and they did exactly that at 47:33 with a goal from Dominik Gabaj, who was assisted by Marcel Balaz and Stuart Mogg. Then again at 50:50, due to the Bees having a one man advantage, Edgars Landberg took advantage of the opportunity in front of him and scored a powerplay goal. Not long after this goal at 51:20, Phantoms were still fighting for the 2 points available and Callum Buglass kept the dream still alive for the team as well as the fans to try to keep them in the game. At 58:09, the Phantoms called a timeout to try group together to at least get to overtime and decided to pull Jordan Marr from the net to get a man advantage on the ice with 6 players but sadly this was not enough to secure the points as Harry Harcup slotted the puck into the empty Phantoms net to secure the 2 points for the Bees.
Telford Tigers 6-7 Bees IHC
A strong start to the first period with the Bees automatically pushing the Tigers into a defensive game by creating opportunities straight off the opening face-off. Only 20 seconds into the period Marcel Balaz opened up the gap on the scoreboard between the Bees and Tigers with assists awarded to Aiden Doughty and Dominik Gabaj. After his contribution towards the first goal Aiden Doughty went back for his own goal timed at 01:59 to make it 2-0 with assists awarded to Dominik Gabaj again and Stuart Mogg. Bees were keen to keep this offensively gameplay consistent and Marcel Balaz went back to the Tigers net to test Brad Day again and extended the Bees lead to 3-0 at 04:34 with an assist awarded to Aiden Doughty. Bees saw themselves with a power play opportunity but Edgars Landsbergs received a 2 minute Slashing penalty to make it 4 on 4 but not long after both of these penalties were finished the Tigers found themselves caught in a 5 on 3 and without Jesse Sutton due to a 5+game for a Check To The Head. This gave the Bees the perfect chance to further extend their lead and build off their earlier successes and at 12:03 Marcel Balaz bagged himself his first hattrick in black, white and gold this season with assists awarded to Brendan Baird and Will Stead, this left the Bees with a 4-0 lead. Finley Howells did not let a short-handed chance go to waste though as the Tigers received a 2 minute Charging penalty and at 17:10 Finley Howells got the Tiger off the zero mark with an assist awarded to Henry Adams. Then with only 26 seconds left in the period Vladimir Luka got the Tigers second goal of the night assisted by Sam Watkins and left the period finishing Tigers 2-4 Bees.
Tigers came into the second period with motivation to close the gap on the scoreboard and only 17 seconds into the period Jake Price made it 3-4 with assists given to Rhodes Mitchell-King and Scott McKenzie. This saw the Tigers intensify their offensive pushes and opportunities were produced by Zaine McKenzie and Connor Lee who had recently joined the Tigers on a 2-way with the Manchester Storm and is definitely one to watch for the rest of the season. A great chance for Connor Lee saw him equalise the game with an assist awarded to Scott McKenzie at 31:11 to leave 4 unanswered Tigers goals. A misjudgement made by Brython Preece saw Finley Howells take advantage and score the 5th goal for the Tigers to see them take the lead for the first time on the night at 36:18 with an unassisted goal.
The Bees were quick to evaluate the situation in front of them and regroup to yet again keep testing Telford’s defence to try to equalise the game but the Tigers were the first ones to score in the third period with Lucas Price getting the 6th goal of the night for the Tigers timed at 42:19 with assists awarded to Zaine Mckenzie and Louie Newell. More crucial chances went in favour of the Bees and at 47:33 Will Stead got the puck to the back of Brad Day’s net with Dan Rose and Oliver Knaggs receiving the assists on the goal and leaving a 1 goal gap on the scoreboard. With 10 minutes left in the game Dominik Gabaj with the help of Marcel Balaz and Aiden Doughty set up a beautiful goal to force the Tigers into overtime, securing 1 point for each team.
Bees won the opening face-off in overtime to give them the chance to set up their gameplay to push into the Tigers defensive zone and after many shots on goal for the Bees Dominik Gabaj found himself with the perfect chance and secured a 4 point weekend for the Bees.