The weekend started with a road trip for the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees as they journeyed to Romford to face Raiders IHC.
Raiders IHC 4 Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees 3 (after overtime)
It was a good start for the visitors as Shaun Thompson was first to light the goal light at 6.40. Vanya Antonov followed up at 8.53 before a powerplay strike by Ashley Jackson reduced the lead to a single goal and it remained that way at the first interval.
The second period was a single goal period as Ryan Sutton’s strike at 31.49 put Bees two back ahead.
A strong final period by the home team saw them get the game to overtime as Aaron Connolly levelled the game at 59.09 while the Raiders favoured an empty net and extra skater.
With the game in 3 on 3 overtime a pass from Liam Chong found Jake Sylvester who snapped the winner in at 61.38 to take the extra point.
Raiders IHC: Sylvester 1+1; Huska, Chong 0+2; A Connolly, Novak, Jackson 1+0; Ayliffe, Scott, Sedivy 0+1. Net: Grey (61.27) 33/3 & Empty Net: (0.11) 0/0
Bracknell: Thompson, Antonov, Sutton 1+0; Galazzi, Doughty, Stead, B Baird, J Baird 0+1. Net: Skinns (61.38) 40/4
Period Scores: 2-2/0-1/1-0/1-0
Shots On Goal: 40-33
Penalty Minutes: 14-14
Referee: S Matthews. Linesmen: O’Neill & Myrishov
Back on home ice for the Sunday game the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees welcomed Milton Keynes Thunder to the Hive.
Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees 7 Milton Keynes Thunder 3
Richard Belfitt, Justin Lalonde and Nathan Ormond were the officials in charge at the Hive with starting netminding duties going to Danny Milton and Jordan Lawday.
Bees, and in particular Aidan Doughty, got off to a good start with a couple of early chances created by the Bees forward ahead of Ross Bowers getting the first shot for the Thunder. The visitors would be on the powerplay at 2.04 as James Galazzi sat a holding minor but Bees confidently killed the penalty.
Thunder scored first against the run of play at 8.58 A stretch pass from Vanya Antonov was just out of reach for Shaun Thompson but Antonov collected the puck and fed Zack Milton. With Lawday denying Zach Milton Thunder came away with the puck and it was Sean Norris who skated in and snapped one past Danny Milton on the stick side.
A scramble in front of the Bees net saw the puck sit tantalisingly on the goal line and in a frenzy of sticks and Milton’s glove looking to get the puck Logan Prince managed to poke it over the line for a two goal lead for the Thunder at 14.31
The first Bees powerplay came at 16.35 with Ollie Stone sitting a tripping call but despite a couple of good chances Jordan Lawday saw his team survive the penalty unscathed. After chances at both ends Tomas Rubes was called for hooking at 19.53 with the powerplay set to carry on after the first interval. After the first period Danny Milton’s night was done as Dean Skinns would start the second period in goal.
Bees enjoyed a great start to the second period with Ryan Watt pulling back a goal and opening the Bees account at 21.01 as he found a way in a scramble in front of the net to get the puck in the goal. Within the same minute Bees had pulled level as Zach Milton’s wrist shot found it’s way through Jordan’s efforts for 2-2 at 21.51.
There were brief celebrations off the ice when a shot from the Bees rung the crossbar and the far post before bouncing back safely but by now Bees had momentum in the game.
Lawday was beaten again at 27.35 but this time the puck landed on the top of the net. 22 seconds later a late hit penalty to Brendan Baird put Thunder back on the powerplay but good defensive work saw the visitors limited to just a single chance before Baird returned. James Galazzi carried the puck out of the zone after a long shift to allow his team to change and Lewis English gave up a powerplay with a roughing minor at 30.45.
A clinical powerplay saw chances for the Bees but having tired the Thunder killing the penalty it was back at even strength when Bees took the lead as they worked the puck back to Zach Milton who blasted one past Lawday on the stick side at 32.50.
Some good moves followed for the Bees with a nice pass from Vanya Antonov just ending in the skates of Ryan Sutton followed by a lovely saucer pass laid on from James Galazzi to Ryan Watt who, under pressure, tried a back and forehand chance but Lawday saved them both. With 2.37 left to play in the period an Edward Knaggs slapshot was tipped by Aidan Doughty but not into the net.
A scrap in the corner between Josh Smith and Ross Green saw both rewarded with 2+2 fighting penalties. With those players settling in for their penalties Bees won the faceoff and drove to the net where Ryan Watt scored the game winning goal on the doorstep at 38.00 for 4-2.
A clinical 4-0 period had put the Bees well in the hot seat in terms of the game.
With the third period underway the penalties against Smith and Green expired and both returned to the ice. Soon after Vanya Antonov scored the Bees fifth of the night as the home team rushed the zone at 42.50.
A quick retort came from Trevor Leblanc at 43.41, the first time Skinns was beaten on the night, scoring mid-height on the stick side.
James Galazzi made his way to the net but impeded by Ross Green which saw the Thunder player take a holding penalty on the play at 45.42. Bees worked their powerplay hard with chances for Brendan Baird and Stuart Mogg before a Joe Baird shot took a deflection and missed the near post before Thunder returned to full strength.
There was a delay in play as David Milner collided with the barrier shoulder first. After a delay, although visibly in discomfort, he was up and left the ice. Soon after Vanya Antonov made it six for the Bees with his second of the night at 48.48.
Some great defence saw Harvey Stead take the puck off Ross Bowers’ stick before steaming through Grinnel-Parke with the puck and feeding it forward. That defensive good work was followed up by equal skill at the other end of the ice as Zach Milton battled to get the puck to the front of the net and after a couple of chances himself he left it for David Milner to finish at 52.31.
A 2+10 for cross checking on Jamie Line at 53.27 ended his night early but despite a good Bees powerplay they couldn’t add their eighth. Dean Skinns pulled out a massive reaction save at 56.56 to deny Grinnel-Parke at point blank range.
There was nearly a fourth for Thunder at 59.34 when Leblanc hit the post but Bees eased through the final seconds to complete a 7-3 win.
Bracknell: Antonov, Z Milton 2+1; Watt 2+0; Doughty, Thompson, Spearing, Galazzi 0+2; Millner 1+0;
Knaggs, B Baird 0+1. Net: Milton (20.00) 12/2 & Skinns (40.00) 6/1
Milton Keynes: Norris, Prince, Leblanc 1+0; Stratford, Stone, Green, O’Flaherty 0+1. Net: Lawday (60.00) 46/7
Period Scores: 0-2/4-0/3-1
Shots On Goal: 46-18
Penalty Minutes: 8-24
Referee: R Belfitt. Linesmen: J Lalonde & N Ormond
After the Sunday game Head Coach Doug Sheppard looked back at his team’s weekend; “We’ll take three out of four points but it’s still frustrating from Saturday not picking up the full points. Hopefully we’ll get some guys back from injury soon, we have to wait and see after they’re assessed. It’s a shame we came out as flat as we did and let Danny Milton down tonight but we came back strong and showed good character and played the final 40 minutes well to recover.”