On Sunday 26th November, the Buccaneers made the short trip to the North Wales to take on the Flintshire Phantoms in what proved to be a tough game.
When the teams hit the ice, it was the home side who were quickest out of the blocks. With just 1.24 on the clock, George Perrett laid a pass to Jsaon James who made no mistake in slotting past Glen Rattray in the Buccaneers goal. The Buccs were visibly rocked by Flintshire’s fast-paced start and faced sustained pressure in the defensive zone for most of the opening exchanges. The pressure paid off further for Flintshire with 2 quickfire goals in the space of 40 seconds. First it was Robin Spencer with his first of the night followed by Christopher Dallavalle, who took the slightly unconvential route of scoring with his face.
Facing a 3 goal deficit, the Buccs needed something drastic to turn things round. Things started heading the right direction on 7.46 as Michael McLoughlin carried the puck from defence deep into the Flintshire zone. Circling round the back of the net he put a speculative shot into the slot from a tight angle that found it’s way into the back of the goal. With 4 goals on the board before the 8 minute mark, the game tightened up in the following minutes. That was until 14.40 when the Buccs broke into the Flintshire zone and Simon Pickering was quickest to react in a goalmouth scramble after Paddy Thomson had put the puck on goal.
The Buccs were back in the game but received some bad news when debutant Glen Rattray had to leave the game with a muscular injury. Dan Ryall of the Phantoms stepped into the Buccs goal to see out the remaining 4 minutes of the period. After being 3 down so early, the Buccaneers would have been happy to get into the period break a goal down but they would go one better when Matt Dixon took advantage of a powerplay opportunity and levelled the scores. End of the first period and it was tied at 3.
Rattray returned for the start of the second period and kept the Buccaneers in the game with some outstanding saves despite visibly being in some discomfort. The only goal in the second came from the Phantoms as Tony Martin fired a slapshot into the visitor’s goal. At the end of the second period, Rattray’s injury finally forced him out of the game and Dan Ryall again stepped in to allow the Buccaneers to complete the game.
With only one goal in the game, the final 20 promised to be a thrilling affair but unfortunately for the Buccaneers it was all one-way traffic. Tiredness set in and they allowed Flintshire more time and space in the zone than the first two periods. In an 8 minute spell of the third period, the Phantoms racked up 5 goals including two more from Robin Spencer to complete his hat-trick and cement his MVP award. The other tallies came from Perrett,
That was more than enough to settle the tie and it finished up 9-3 to the home side. The MVP for Flintshire went to Spencer after a fine offensive display. For the Buccaneers, it was player-coach Matt Dixon.
We asked Buccs forward Simon Pickering for his thoughts on the game:
I think we played a decent game, especially the first two periods when we more than held our own against a strong Flintshire side. I think in the 3rd period fitness let us down along with the fact we’d lost our goalie which dents confidence.
But all in all we played some good hockey, we just need to work a little more on our passing and communication and we’ll have a decent team. The Flintshire boys are well-organised and have some great individual skill but I think we did ourselves proud and the scoreline didn’t reflect the game.
Everyone at the Buccaneers would like to thank Flintshire and especially Dan Ryall for their excellent show of sportsmanship by stepping into the Buccaneers goal and allowing us to complete the fixture.
Robin Spencer 3+0
Jason James 2+1
Oli Meadows 2+0
George Perrett 1+2
Chris Gorden 0+2
Tony Martin 1+0
Christopher Dallavalle 1+0
David Meadows Jr. 0+1
Michael McLoughlin 1+0
Simon Pickering 1+0
Matt Dixon 1+0
Mark Jenkins 0+1
Paddy Thomson 0+1