The Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees had only a single game in the weekend with qualification for the cup semi-final available with a win.
Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees 5 Swindon Wildcats 4 (after overtime)
Paul Brooks took charge of the game and Wildcats managed a couple of early chances before Roman Malinik got the Bees first chance which Renny Marr saved and held on to with a delay of the game penalty called at 1.42
A couple of chances for the home team were seen off and Swindon returned to full strength at 3.42. Shortly after Swindon sprung a two on two with Aaron Nell slotting across to Max Birbraer who offered a relatively easy save to Dean Skinns.
Shaun Thompson rung the iron work around Renny Marr and Ryan Watt had a go with the rebound at 7.11 but Marr was up to the rebound.
Edward Knaggs made a coast to coast run just shy of half way through the first period and off the subsequent face off Marr flashed the glove to deny another Bees shot. With obvious pressure mounting Ryan Watt carried the puck into the zone but a diving defenceman took away his shooting options so he carried around behind the net and fed the puck to Brendan Baird who fired home the opening at 10.14.
Two back to back pieces of great defending from Stuart Mogg and Joe Baird denied Wildcats any further chances and soon after Bees were on the powerplay when Max Birbraer took a late penalty at 11.25.
13 seconds into the powerplay Bees were ahead by two as a clinical execution of the man advantage allowed Shaun Thompson to move into position where Edward Knaggs fed him the puck to score Bees second at 11.38.
Some back to back saves from Dean Skinns robbed the Wildcats as the game approached 13.00 played before Swindon pulled a goal back. A face off win in their own zone set free Aaron Nell who carried the puck coast to coast and Skinns saved his shot but Bebris had trailed behind and ghosted into the slot to bury the rebound at 14.08.
Chances came through the remainder of the first period at both ends but with 56 seconds left on the clock in the first period Wildcats levelled. Bees couldn’t quite clear the zone and the puck ended up at the blue line where a shot game from Neil Liddiard took a deflection over the glove of Skinns at 19.04
A scoreless middle period followed but it wasn’t without chances. There was drama for the visitors when a clean ice hit from Joe Baird floored Aaron Nell who took no further part in the game. With 20 seconds left in the period Bees had a goal waved off instantly as there was a high stick on the play. Brendan Baird took a 2+10 checking from behind penalty with 5 seconds left on the clock which would continue into the third period.
A strange start to the third period saw half the Bees team still trapped on the dressing room side of the rink but an early whistle allowed them to skate across and rejoin their team.
A quick fire shot from Max Birbraer took everyone by surprise to put Wildcats ahead on the powerplay at 41.24.
Shaun Thompson deked the Wildcats defence but was then just shy of getting the shot off ahead of two quick goals in succession seeing the Bees regain the lead. Roman Malinik battled at the blue line to set up a play, feeding Josh Smith who provided for Aidan Doughty on the doorstep at 47.46. At 49.43 it was Malinik who provided for Harvey Stead this time and his blue line shot left a rebound with Zack Milton waiting and the youngster netted at 49.43.
Bees looked for a fifth with Roman Malinik feeding Scott Spearing who elected to shoot but with the atmosphere high in the Hive Swindon pulled level with 2.02 to play Tyler Plews hit the post and Edgars Bebris scored with the rebound.
Overtime commenced three on three and despite Jones ringing one off the post early and Roman Malinik just failed to get enough wrap on a wrap around chance a brilliant reaction save from Skinns from behind a screen robbed Swindon with 1.22 left on the clock.
With the game seeming to be heading to penalties Roman Malinik powered into the zone and worked hard to retain control of the puck before setting up Edward Knaggs for the game winner with just 4 seconds left in the additional period.
Bracknell: Malinik 0+4; Knaggs 1+1; Doughty, Thompson, Z Milton 1+0; B Baird 1+0; Millner, Watt, Stead, Smith 0+1. Net: Skinns (64.56) 32/4
Swindon: Bebris 2+1; Birbraer 1+1; Liddiard 1+0; Rutkis, Plews, Nell, Kostal, Harding 0+1. Net: Marr (64.56) 29/5
Period Scores: 2-2/0-0/2-2/1-0
Shot On Goal: 29-32
Penalty Minutes: 16-6
Referee: P Brooks. Linesmen: Carmichael & Reeves
After the game Head Coach Doug Sheppard said; “The supporters wanted entertainment and they got it tonight.. It was a back and forth game between two of the best teams in the league. I said last week we need to play for every minute of the game and tonight we certainly proved that. It was nice to have Roman back on the ice and he made a big difference but everyone played their part in the win.”