It was a traditional style weekend for the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees as they played away then home, starting with a road trip to Romford.
Raiders IHC 2 Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees 3
The Bees welcomed back Danny Milton to their line up but went the first period scoreless at Sapphire Ice. It was at 33.35 when Jake Sylvester broke the deadlock with the game’s first goal but with no further scoring the second period ended 1-0.
Shaun Thompson put the Bees level just 31 seconds into the final period and Vanya Antonov put the visiting team ahead 59 seconds later. The Raiders were still making a game of it when Filip Sedivy levelled the game at 46.41 but a powerplay strike by Harvey Stead with 5.21 left in the game proved to be the decisive blow.
Raiders IHC: Sylvester 1+1; Turner 0+2; Sedivy 1+0; B AYliffe 0+1. Net: Grey (59.22) 37/3 & Empty Net (0.38) 0/0
Bracknell: Thompson, Antonov, Stread 1+0; Martin, Spearing, Mogg, Smith, Z Milton 0+1. Net: Skinns (59.49) 27/2 & Empty Net: (0.11) 0/0
Period Scores 0-0/0-1/1-3
Shots On Goal: 27-37
Penalty Minutes: 31-4
Referee: B Evans. Linesmen: Finch & O’Neill
Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees 2 Milton Keynes Thunder 0
Matt Rose took charge of the game with Lee Young and Andreas Eliasson on the lines.
James Galazzi was first to get a clear shot at 1.32 but a glove save from Jordan Lawday met his shot. From the resulting face-off the puck was won by Shaun Thompson who fed back to Harvey Stead who wristed the puck on goal but Lawday made a pad save and the rebound ended up going wide.
Bees created long periods of pressure which Milton Keynes could only break by icing the puck. Roman Malinik carried the puck with free will and speed around the zone and left a backhand pass for Aidan Doughty and as Lawday made the save the game’s first penalty was called when Alex Whyte took a delay of the game call at 6.08.
Bees pressure continued with the man advantage, first Josh Martin took a chance in close before feeding the rebound back to Roman Malinik at the point. He shot in but a Thunder stick deflected his shot away.
A back hand shot from Rio Grinell-Parke was saved by Dean Skinns as he became re-acquainted with the game day puck but Bees had possession back quickly and Vanya Antonov carried the puck round Lewis English and into an unchallenged position to shoot but Lawday saved again.
Lawday couldn’t recreate the same heroics moments later when Bees scored their first of the night. Scott Spearing slotted across to Edward Knaggs who found Roman Malinik and his wrist shot was more than good enough to see the goal lamp lit at 11.12
17 seconds later Scott Spearing collected a slashing penalty but this didn’t stop the relentless Bees pressure. Their first attempt at a shorthanded break was caught by an off side whistle but it was only Jordan Lawday who could stop Vanya Antonov’s five hole targeted shot which followed.
WIth Bees back at full strength a drop pass from Gareth O’Flaherty to Tom Carlon saw the latter feed it back behind him but the puck slid to the corner where O’Flaherty had to chase it out. His pass was intercepted by the Bees who were back down the ice quickly. There was a chance for Shaun Thompson at the back door but Lawday was quick to react. As Thunder failed to clear their zone Niko Souraniemi drew a save and Lawday held for a whistle.
Josh Martin’s shot left a rebound which Thunder cleared but leaked the puck to Joe Baird and after another period of pressure Thunder iced the puck again with 2.58 left in the first period. Lewis English got the Thunder’s second shot of the opening period as he was sprung behind the defence but his shot was straight at Dean Skinns leaving a relatively easy save.
Chances came at either of the ice in the final minute, first Shaun Thompson for the Bees then Ross Green for the Thunder but the first period ended with Bees clear by their Malinik goal.
The second period started similarly to how the first period had been played. Roman Malinik found Josh Smith who quickly gave it to Vanya Antonov but his shot was high. Moments later Antonov was back with a second chance which Lawday saved and in an effort to break pressure there was another icing call on the visitors at 21.56
Alex Whyte dumped the puck towards the net hoping for a deflection from Rio Grinell-Parke but with no contact made the puck went wide. This allowed Josh Martin and Shaun Thompson to combine on a run with a Martin backhand pass landing for Thompson but another denial by Lawday. A drive from Josh Smith just missed the intended re-direct from Vanya Antonov and with Bees retaining possession it was Roman Malinik next to shoot.
Dean Skinns turned away Tomas Rubes and more speed saw another transition and after gaining the zone sweet passing from Edward Knaggs and Shaun Thompson saw the puck fall for Josh Martin and a snap home was all that was needed at 28.01 to make it 2-0.
A slap pass from Vanya Antonov found Roman Malinik ready and waiting and he quickly handed off to Edward Knaggs but a deflection saw his shot go up into the netting. A tussle between Josh Martin and Grant MacPherson saw both sit out double fighting minors at 29.03.
With the extra space of 4 on 4 Rio Grinell-Parke released a backhand shot before clinical Bees passing from Shaun Thompson to Edward Knaggs to Joe Baird and back to Knaggs finished with a drop pass to Shaun Thompson but it all came to nothing when a Thunder stick, in the shooting lane, robbed the puck of it’s speed.
Two quick chances followed for the Thunder as Greg Randall and Jamie Line tried in quick succession. Both teams returned to full strength a Thunder powerplay came about due to a Brendan Baird hooking call at 34.08. The man advantage saw the game continue pressuring including a shorthanded chance for Josh Smith at 35.44 but Baird returned with no change in the score.
The second period ended with Bees leading by two goals.
A careless line change by the Thunder that left them with 6 skaters couldn’t stop Roman Malinik but didn’t go unnoticed by the officials and Thunder served a too many men bench minor starting at 41.11.
Roman Malinik sent the puck in on net and Lawday saved leaving a rebound at the top of his crease but Josh Martin’s stick was lifted before he could shoot. Back at full strength Alex Whyte carried the puck in for the Thunder and sent back to Greg Randall who wound up but fired wide.
Ryan Sutton unleashed a backhand chance in the 45th minute which was saved by Doughty followed quickly flashing one across the crease.
Thunder won a face-off in the Bees defensive zone and Tomas Rubes drew a save from Skinns. Gareth O’Flaherty tried a wraparound before Bees cleared the zone but Rio Grinell-Parke raced in and forced a save.
An interference penalty to Ross Bowers at 50.42 put Bees back on the powerplay. The home team created huge pressure on the Thunder net with Lawday called upon to make saves from Roman Malinik, Josh Smith and Josh Martin all in quick succession.
Inside the final two minutes of the game Shaun Thompson cut across the zone but his off balance shot didn’t get full power. Milton Keynes took their timeout with 23 seconds to play and left the net empty on the re-start but they couldn’t break the shutout and Bees ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.
Bracknell: Knaggs 0+2; Malinik, Martin 1+0; Thompson, Spearing 0+1. Net: Skinns (60.00) 17/0
Milton Keynes: Net: Lawday (59.37) 41/2 & Empty Net (0.23) 0/0
Period Scores: 1-0/1-0/0-0
Shots On Goal: 41-17
Penalty Minutes: 8-10
Referee: M Rose. Linesmen: L Young and A Eliasson
Speaking after the weekend’s wins Head Coach Doug Sheppard said; “It’s good to bounce back with a four-point weekend. I thought we played some of our best hockey so far this season on Saturday night in Romford. On Sunday we managed to pick up a shutout which is another good sign.”
“We know we just have to work hard and keep improving in every practice and every game.”