We’ve been a bit behind with our match reports lately so here is one update that covers our last three games!
On 17th March, we made the familiar trip down to Flintshire to take on the Phantoms in the first ever Summer Classic meeting between the two teams. After a number of challenge games already this season, both teams had an idea of what to expect from each other.
The Buccaneers got off to a flying start as Patrick Thomson lasered a shot into the top corner after just 5 minutes. The lead lasted until late in the period when Ondra Liebelt managed to find a way past Glen Rattray in the away goal. The Buccaneers finished the period on the powerplay after Liebelt took a slashing penalty and they thought they had regained the lead after Michael Walsh put the puck in the net only for the referees to determine that the buzzer had sounded.
In what was a fairly even second period, it was the Phantoms who made their changes count as two goals in 2 minutes rocked the Buccs. Firstly it was Liebelt with his second of the game and that was followed up by Chalmers who fired in from the point with Rattray sprawled on the ice. However the Buccaneers protests to the officials of goaltender interference fell on deaf ears.
The Buccaneers came out hard and fast in the final period. Only 1.10 had passed before Simon Pickering pulled the Buccs within a goal, Rob McNair and Sam Calderbank getting the assists. Then with 10 minutes left, Matt Dixon broke out through the neutral zone and after cutting across the blue line, fired a wrist shot off the far post and into the Phantoms goal. All level – all to play for. Despite the Buccaneers best efforts to force a go-ahead goal, the Phantoms were the ones that found the way through. Firstly it was George Perrett who, as always, had proved a constant threat all game. This was quickly followed up by Ondra Liebelt who completed his hat-trick and sealed a win for the Phantoms.
Arguably the most comical moments of the game came in the final 3 minutes as officials stopped the play on two separate occasions, calling the Buccaneers for too many men on the ice despite Rattray being sat comfortably on the team bench with his goal gaping.
Final score Phantoms 5-3 Buccaneers.
Our next Summer Classic game took us back to Blackburn on 7th April and saw us face-off against the Wyre Seagulls. After a 7-1 loss in the first game, it was always going to be a big ask to take anything from a team stacked with experience.
First period goals from Hardman, Jenkins and Duncan gave Wyre a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.
The pressure continued in the second period and goals were added by Duthie and Hageman. The Buccaneers were struggling against the fast pace of Wyre and found it difficult to get any meaningful time in the Seagulls zone. This was evidenced by Michael Gallery in the Wyre goal only facing 16 shots all game on his way to a shutout.
The final period was rounded off with Hardman’s second of the game and a third period hat-trick from Wareing.
Final score Buccaneers 0-9 Wyre.
In what will hopefully be our final game at Mount Blackburn before the ice is repaired, we welcomed Flintshire for the return leg of the Summer Classic series on 13th April. It would prove to be an extremely frustrating night for the Buccaneers with the game extremely close for 18 minutes of each period.
Similar to the game in Flintshire, it was the Buccaneers who struck first. Relentless forechecking from Raivis Apfelbaums caused a Phantoms D-Man to cough up the puck and the Latvian made no mistake in front of goal. Phantoms had most of the chances throughout the period however Ciaran Chapman was in fine form, making a string of outstanding saves in his first competitive game for the Buccaneers. Just as it looked like the Buccaneers were going to take a 1 goal lead into the break, two goals in 16 seconds from Meadows and Steeves ensured that it would be Flintshire going into the break with their tails up.
The Buccaneers bounced back immediately in the second and it was Apfelbaums again with his outstanding work-rate earning a second goal of the game. The game remained as close as the scoreline suggested until 38 minutes on the clock when for the second successive period, the Buccs went to sleep before the buzzer. Two goals in 9 seconds from Chalmers and Liebelt extended the Flintshire lead to 3 goals.
Despite the Buccaneers needing a strong start to the final period, it was Flintshire who were out the blocks quickest. Goals from McGee and Valyear putting the game beyond reasonable doubt after just 5 minutes of the period. Michael Walsh managed to pick up a consolation for the Buccaneers before Dallavalle, who had taken a heavy shot to the ankle earlier in the game, popped up to restore the 5 goal lead almost instantly. The Buccs were nothing if not consistent in their end of period lapses and the third was no different. Two goals in 22 seconds from Perrett and Liebelt finished the game off.
Final score Buccaneers 3-10 Flintshire.
The Buccs were left wondering what might have been after a game where 6 of Flintshire’s goals were scored in the combined space of 37 seconds at the end of each period.
We now move on in our Summer Classic campaign and head to Telford on 27th April to take on the Shropshire Huskies in what will be the first meeting in the two club’s histories.