Saturday 29th November 2014
Late goals cost the Devils dearly
Despite leading with just six minutes remaining the Devils returned home from Bracknell pointless.
Three late goals by Bracknell Hornets secured all the points for the home team despite a spirited performance by a Devils team determined to make amends for the 1-11 defeat they suffered at home earlier in the season. In a match that lasted almost three hours there were times when the both teams were frustrated by refereeing decisions. In the most serious incident George Norcliffe received a stick in his face, leaving a trail of blood across the ice, but to the astonishment of both sets of players no penalty was called. Thankfully after about ten minutes of treatment George returned to the ice, but the outcome could have been so much worse.
Devils started strongly, and were opened the scoring in the second minute as Alex Murray found Ralfs Circenis free on the blue line, who beat the Bracknell netminder with the first shot of the match. The play switched from end to end, and Bracknell equalised in the fifth minute. The injury to George in the eleventh seemed to unsettle the Devils, and soon after Bracknell took the lead. The frustration boiled over, with the Devils losing key player Mitch Murray in the closing seconds of the period.
Devils started the second period defending a 5 on 3 powerplay, and the despite some heroics by the defence and incredible saves by man of the match Christian Cole, the home team eventually found the back of the net in the third minute of the period. As the game progressed the Devils continued to pressurise the Bracknell net, and pulled a goal back in the 29th minute, as Andrew Magee tipped the puck into the back of the net after Alex Murray won the face-off just four seconds into the powerplay. With no further scoring in the second period the Devils went into the second break just 2-3 down.
The final period started well for the Devils, Ralfs Circenis broke free and although his shot went wide George Norcliffe picked up the rebound off the rear boards to bury the puck in the back of the net to equalise in the fourth minute of the period. The game looked to be heading for a draw, with both netmiders pulling off some fine saves, but with just nine minutes remaining Drew Campbell scored to see the Devils re-take the lead. As the clock ran down however, hopes of another Devils victory on the road seemed to evaporate as Bracknell took advantage of their powerplay opportunities, scoring three times in the last six minutes to give the home team a 6-4 victory.
Devils scoring: George Norcliffe & Ralfs Circenis (1+1), Andrew Magee & Drew Campbell (1+0) , Alex Murray (0+2), Mitch Murray (0+1)
Shots on Devils: Christian Cole 49 shots (6 goals)
Shots on Bracknell: 27 shots (4 goals)
Period scores: 2-1/1-1/3-2
Penalty minute: Bracknell: 28, Devils: 67
Sunday 30th November 2014
Devils comeback falls just short
After a disappointing first period the Devils came within a goal of an amazing come-back.
In recent weeks the Devils have been having a good first period, and not quite holding out for the points, but today’s match was the exact opposite. Despite a high work-rate the Devils lost the first period 0-4, but with fight, determination and skill fought back to within a goal of the visitors from Milton Keynes. For the Devils the match ended a few minutes too soon as they were dominating the final period.
Apart from the goals the first period was quite even, but the puck didn’t quite seem to be falling for the Devils, and Milton Keynes were able to score a regular intervals throughout the period. The team spirt within the Devils team this year was evident, as they came out for the second period with real belief that they could still win the match. A blue line boomer from Ben Lock finally broke the Milton Keynes shut-out, but despite outshooting their visitors 21-13 the home team couldn’t beat the netminder again this period.
The Devils’ never-say-die attitude nearly paid dividends as all the players continued to push for the goal, and kept the Milton Keynes forwards at bay. Man of the Match George Norcliffe opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the third period as he latched onto a rink wide pass from Andrew Magee. Less than two minutes later another inch-perfect pass from Magee found Chris Beal in space, who made no mistake as he slid the puck past the netminder. Now trailing by just two goals the Devils continued to press, and with 44 seconds left on the clock Josh Abbott beat the netminder to set up a frantic end to the match. Despite peppering the net the Devils were unable to score again, and fell just short of the win they deserved.
Devils scoring: Chris Beal, Josh Abbott, George Norcliffe & Ben Lock (1+0), Andrew Magee (0+2), Steve Gosset, Shaun Rudkin, Alex Murray & Drew Campbell (0+1)
Shots on Devils: Christian Cole 37 shots (5 goals)
Shots on Milton Keynes: 50 shots (4 goals)
Period scores: 0-4/1-0/3-1
Penalty minute: Devils: 6, Milton Keynes: 38
Reports by Simon Beal
Photo: Match action from Bracknell v Solent by Kevin Slyfield