We were robbed, says SmitalBy Adam Lee
February 01, 2012
Despite being delighted with a three-point weekend, Bracknell Bees’ third such return of the season, Lukas Smital was left ‘gutted’ after being denied maximum points.
Not for the first time in recent weeks, Bees fell foul of some awful officiating as play-off rivals Peterborough Phantoms beat them on penalty shots in Sunday night’s meeting in Cambridgeshire.
However, unlike head coach Gareth Cox, who last month laid into the standard of refereeing in the EPIHL, Smital refused to criticise match official Joy Tottman after she disallowed a perfectly good Rob Lamey goal in overtime.
It was the second time in the space of a few minutes that Bees were on the receiving end of some dreadful decisions.
Firstly, the officials failed to call a too many imports on the ice penalty on Peterborough, but almost immediately after penalised captain Lamey for cross checking.
Then, with Lamey back on the ice, he couldn’t get out of the way of a Ben Johnson shot and the puck deflected in off his skate.
However, assistant coach Smital was adamant that Lamey had made no move to kick the puck, and the goal should therefore have been allowed to stand.
“I was two feet away from him (Lamey) and saw the whole thing perfectly,” said the 37-year-old Czech forward.
“The puck was shot at his skate – there was no kicking action and the ref was standing right behind him.
“It was a perfectly good goal and we were robbed.
“I never criticise referees, but it (the too many imports incident) is something they need to be aware of.
“They’re always aware of things like having shirts not tucked in or a visor being up, but major things like that get overlooked.
“We did an excellent job on the penalty killing, though, and we deserved two points so we were all gutted.
“It (the standard of refereeing) doesn’t frustrate me – this is only Gareth’s second season in the EPL so I have slightly more experience with the referees than him.
“There’s just nothing you can do about it and other teams have to deal with it too.
“Yes, sometimes they make the wrong decision and it will cost you the game, but we have to focus on winning the games before the referees get the chance to affect the final outcome.”
Bees drew 2-2 with Peterborough after over-time on Sunday, before the league’s ninth-placed side earned the extra point in a shoot-out.
However, losing out on that point was made far more bearable following a dramatic night at the Hive on Saturday, when Bees secured their first ever win over Manchester Phoenix.
After the game finished 3-3 in regulation, Smital, on his return to the side after missing almost four games with a torso injury, came up with the winning goal.
And Smital, usually dismissive of his personal exploits to instead focus on the good of the team, admitted that, on this occasion, his winner was particularly pleasing.
“I’m happy with three points,” he said.
“It would have been good to get four, but I’m really happy, especially with beating Manchester.
“They were on form and were unbeaten in six or seven games, but we fought hard and it was two valuable points.
“It felt good to get the winning goal and getting the first goal earlier in the game gave me a real boost.
“It was a real back-and-forth game where both goalies played well – especially their’s in the first period.
“But for me to finish it with the game-winning goal – you can’t get better than that.”
Bees only have one game this coming weekend, at home on Saturday to basement side Telford Tigers (6pm face-off).
Bracknell Bees 4 Manchester Phoenix 3 (after OT): Period: 1-0, 1-2, 1-1, 1-0. SOG: 32-32. PIM: 28-18. Bees: Smital 2+0, Jasi, Watchorn 1+0, Masa 0+3, Galazzi, Bowman, Munroe 0+1. Phoenix: Faith, Cingel 1+1, Duggan 1+0, Neil, Spelda 0+1.