The New Year kicked off with the Young Epilepsy Charity Challenge for the Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees as they took on Swindon Wildcats home and away.
Swindon Wildcats 3 Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees 2
Renny Marr and Dean Skinns got the starts in nets and it was Skinns first to be beaten when Sam Bullas scored at 18.16 in the New Year’s Day Clash.
A second strike from Bullas at 24.52, this one on the powerplay, gave the home team a 2-0 lead and Swindon swapped goaltenders at 29.47 with Marr replaced by Tyler Perre. Scott Spearing made it 2-1 with 21 seconds remaining in the middle period to set up the third period.
A strike from Shaun Thompson levelled the game at 41.00 but in a 20 shot period there were only two goals, the second being the game winning goal from Max Birbraer at 58.36 to take the first leg of the clash.
Swindon: Bullas 2+0; Birbaer 1+0; S Jones, C Jones, Nell, Bebris, Whitfield 0+1. Net: Marr (29.47) 17/0 & Perre (30.08) 14/2
Bracknell: Spearing, Thompson 1+0; Galazzi, Sutton, Vankleef 0_1. Net: Skinns (60.00) 28/3
Period Scores: 1-0/1-1/1-1
Shots On Goal: 28-31
Penalty Minutes: 2-4
Referee: T Pickett. Linesmen: Ormond & West
Berkshire Cycles Bracknell Bees 6 Swindon Wildcats 1
Stephen Matthews was the man in charge of the home leg of the Young Epilepsy challenge and Dean Skinns made his second start of the series while Michael Crisp took the position for the Wildcats.
An early hooking call at 0.14 against Sam Godfrey was killed off by the visitors then the teams settled in for the game with good chances coming at both ends, although the Bees held the edge. Harvey Stead finally opened the scoring at 16.29 to ensure the Bees took the first period and ended the opening 20 minutes with the aggregate score level.
Roman “The Sheriff” Malinik pulled the trigger to score the second for the Bees and put them in the lead for the first time in the double header, a lead they weren’t to lose. Malinik was followed 3.30 later by Vanya Antonov for 3-0 and a happy Bees dressing room through the second interval.
Bees swaped goaltenders for the third period with Rory Edwards taking over and the young shot stopper, while conceding one in the period did also pull off possibly the save of the season too. Goals for the Bees kept coming with Josh Smith restarting the scoring at 46.39 and Zack Milton making it 5-0 at 55.50 before Aaron Nell broke the shutout at 57.37. Shaun Thompson ensured it would be the home fans celebrating last when he made it 6-1 with 45 seconds to play.
Bracknell: Thompson 1+3; Z Milton 1+2; Smith 1+1; Antonov, Malinik, Stead 1+0; Kanggs, Galazzi 0+1. Net: Skinns (40.00) 16/0 & Edwards (20.00) 7/1
Swindon: Nell 1+0; Johnson, Bullas 0+1. Net: Crisp (60.00) 29/6
Period Scores: 1-0/2-0/3-1
Shots On Goal: 29-23
Penalty Minutes: 4-2
Referee: S Matthews. Linesmen: Sitch-Cunningham & Olzsack
After the series success Doug Sheppard shared his thoughts; “I’m obviously pleased with the performances that we put in and the series win we achieved but I think Young Epilepsy was the winner with a significant amount raised and hopefully awareness of their work also increased.
“I thought we played well both on Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday, on our own ice, I thought we executed well in all areas and got contributions from everyone. We’re going into a tough clash with the Phantoms so it was vital we came out well in this series to get ourselves back in the swing after the Christmas break.”
He concluded; “I’d like to thank the Wildcats organisation for their support in this new annual charity series and I’d like to thank the supporters of both teams for their generosity in supporting Young Epilepsy. We look forward to resuming this series next season when Swindon will be choosing the charity we’ll both be supporting.”