On Sunday 17th February, the Buccaneers made their third trip of the season to Deeside to take on the Flintshire Phantoms. After two tough games in November and December, the Buccs knew what to expect but were hoping for a more positive performance.
The game was preceded by a minute’s silence after the tragic passing of James Meadows, brother of Flintshire Phantoms players Oli and David. Everyone at the Buccaneers passes our sincere condolences to the Meadows family.
The game started with the Buccaneers on the front foot with Jenkins and Walsh forcing Forster into some early saves. However the Phantoms weathered the early pressure and hit back with a goal from Martin with Clarke and Jones picking up the assists. Flintshire took confidence from the goal and continued to fire everything at Rattray in the Buccaneers net. The onslaught paid off with two goals in quick succession, first it was Prochazka from Hughes and James quickly followed by Hughes with a goal of his own and James picking up his second assist in 30 seconds after a pass from Warwick.
The Buccaneers were rocked and despite enjoying some possession early on, were struggling to contain Flintshire in the defensive zone. Hughes took advantage to get his second of the game on 13.17 after some lovely play from Vazan and Prochazka. With Chalmers in the box for holding, the Buccaneers were offered hope in the shape of a powperplay with the period drawing to a close. A shot from Raivis Apfelbaums drew a save from Forster but Matt Dixon was on the spot to put home the rebound. Shortly after, Dallavalle made his way to the box for another holding penalty and the Buccs were given another chance on the powerplay but despite having the extra man, found themselves under pressure with some great forechecking from the Phantoms. The visitors finally got hold of the puck and a lovely stretch pass from Mark Jenkins found Dixon on the right wing who fired a lovely wrist shot straight across Forster that went in off the far post. After being outplayed for 15 minutes of the first period, the Buccaneers were back in the game.
The second period began and the Buccs game out strong again but it was Flintshire who would light the lamp first with an unassisted goal from Prochazka. Buccs heads were still held high though and they battled right back with some aggressive forechecking in the Phantoms zone. Dixon won the puck back and after beating two opponents, dropped the puck to Walsh on the point who made it 5-3 with his first goal of the season.
Just 17 seconds later, the Buccaneers were within one as some hard work in front of the net from Sam Calderbank resulted in the puck popping out to James Longworth who made no mistake.
The comeback was relatively shortlived though. Just after the half hour mark, Steeves put one past Rattray with Dallavalle picking up the assist and then just 15 seconds before the buzzer, Hughes completed his hat-trick after a nice feed from Prochazka.
The third period saw chances for both teams but it was the Phantoms who would get the only goals. Firstly it was James from Chalmers and finally Prochazka completed his hat-trick and capped an outstanding performance with his 5th point of the night. The large majority of Flintshire’s best spells in the game came with Prochazka on the ice and it was clear to see he is a great addition to the squad.
MVP for the Buccaneers went to Raivis Apfelbaums after a typically hard-working performance.
For the Phantoms it went to Cooke who had a great game at the back for Flintshire.
Special mention goes to Harrison Leigh who played his first game for the Buccaneers and picked up a point with an assist on the Buccs 3rd goal.
The Buccaneers are back in action on Sunday 3rd March and it’s back to Blackburn for the first Summer Classic clash of the season against the Wyre Seagulls.