April 13, 2019
Hull Pirates came from 2-0 down to beat Bracknell Bees 6-2 in Saturday’s first NIHL Final Four semi final in Coventry.
Jason Hewitt’s squad will look to add the Final Four silverware to their NIHL North 1 league and playoff titles tomorrow against either Peterborough or Sheffield.
In front of a lively Skydome crowd, Bees took the lead on a powerplay with Josh Smith finding the twine at 8.27. Bracknell’s special teams were to the fore later in the period as they broke up a Hull powerplay and Roman Malinik finished off a shorthanded counter at 15.27 to make it 2-0 at the first interval.
Pirates hit back with a vengeance in the middle frame to take the lead for good. First Matty Davies opened their account at 23.30 after a scramble round the net. Then Pirates hit two in nine seconds from eventual man of the match Sonny Karlsson (25.04 and 25.13) as Hull’s fast offence caught the Bees cold.
Bracknell’s Doug Sheppard called his timeout at this point to try and regroup his shell-shocked squad.
Hull had further chances as they dominated the shot count but the score remained 3-2 in Pirates’ favour after 40 minutes.
The final frame saw Bracknell struggle to create meaningful opportunities and Hull made the game safe with another quick double – Karlsson completing a natural hat-trick at 48.44 followed by Davies’ second at 49.42 and it was a three goal game.
Late on, Bracknell were operating on a powerplay and they pulled Dean Skinns for a six on four advantage. After Hull returned to full strength Bobby Chamberlain forced a turnover in the neutral zone and won the race to the puck to tuck away the empty netter at 57.50 to put the seal on the win.
Man of the match for Hull was Sonny Karlsson, while Bracknell’s goalie Dean Skinns picked up their award.
Peterborough Phantoms, winners of the South playoffs, face Sheffield Steeldogs in the second semi final at 5.30pm.
Sunday sees the NIHL2 Championship between Widnes Wild and Slough Jets at 1pm before the Grand Final takes place at 5pm