BRACKNELL Bees stretched their winning run to four league games by defeating Invicta Dynamos 5-1 on Saturday, but they were unable to extend it, losing 4-2 at Streatham on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

Overall, however, the Berkshire Cycles-sponsored side continue to show encouraging signs that this season is going to prove far more successful than last year.

The number of changes made by head coach Doug Sheppard are beginning to bear fruit and there is certainly more to come from his team.

With the recently-introduced School Zone scheme being well supported, the large number of youngsters helped crank up the noise, creating a good atmosphere, and there was a goal to cheer with just 40 seconds on the clock.

Bees broke quickly down their left and Vanya Antonov supplied an inch-perfect pass towards the far post, where Josh Smith flicked the puck high into the net.

It was an ideal start, but they were not ahead for long. Netminder Dean Skinns rescued his side in a one-on-one situation before Dynamos equalised in the sixth minute when, with home skipper Joe Baird in the sin-bin, Martins Susters took advantage to equalise.

Bees, however, were soon starting to link the better moves together and deservedly regained the lead by the 12th-minute mark through a powerplay goal from Roman Malinik, with Antonov again creating the opening.

The hosts continued to be the dominant force and should have been further ahead as the first interval approached, but they appeared to switch off in the final minute and were lucky not to have conceded with the visitors missing a golden chance when ex-Bees skipper Matt Foord rattled the goal frame.

Bracknell maintained the pressure in the second half and it didn’t take them long to extend their lead through Shaun Thompson, who was first to react after Smith’s effort rebounded back off Adam Long’s pads.

There was no let-up in the pressure with Malinik a constant threat to the Invicta defence.

He was eventually rewarded with his and Bracknell’s fourth goal just after the 46th-minute mark.

Once again the visitors were punished for their lack of discipline with Brandon Miles committing a roughing offence on Scott Spearing as the Bees’ man was about to go through the bench door.

He was in the naughty boys’ seat for just 31 seconds before seeing Thompson set up the chance for Malinik to fire home.

The fifth goal followed two minutes later with Smith getting his second goal of the game and Antonov his fourth assist.

Malinik was voted Bees’ man-of-the-match with Foord earning the visitors’ vote on his return to the Hive.

It was the Czech who opened his side’s account at Streatham, netting in the 14th minute, shortly after Adam Carr had put the hosts ahead on the power play with Bees penalised for having too many men on the ice.

The in-form Malinik scored his second, unassisted, midway the middle period, only for Andreas Siagris to bring the scores back level and then see Alex Roberts fire Streatham ahead at 3-2 with Ryan Webb extending the London side’s advantage after 44 minutes.

Bees – who had new import Niko Suoraniemi making his debut – battled hard to narrow the gap, but could not find a way past keeper Damien King.

Their man-of-the-match was Thompson.

Head coach Sheppard commented: “We’re going to have to regroup this week and tighten up a number of aspects to our defensive game especially on the penalty kill.”

Bees travel to Romford to face the Raiders this coming Saturday (5.15pm) with Milton Keynes Thunder the visitors to the Hive on Sunday (6pm).

Before last Saturday’s game, Bees made the first induction to their new Hive of Fame - it was unsurprisingly the late John Nike with his widow, Sue, accepting the award.

  • BRACKNELL Hornets continued their winning start in NIHL Two South with a 6-2 victory at Basingstoke Buffalo on Sunday.

Hornets followed up their opening day victory against Haringey Huskies with another impressive display and six more goals.

Steven Fisher put Bees in front and then turned provider with the assist for Jakub Fojtik to make it 2-0.

Matt Jordan added a third on 26:05 and Josh Ealey-Newman made it 4-0 less than four minutes later.

The home side reduced the arrears with a goal of their own, but Ben Ealey-Newman then struck to put Bees 5-1 up.

Buffalo refused to lie down and snatched a second on 42:48, only for Connor Hutchinson to score Bees’ sixth and last goal of the night.

Danny Hughes and Fisher both claimed two assists, with Ben Early-Newman, Tom Avery, Adam Bicknell, Josh Ealey-Newman and Carl Graham grabbing one apiece.

The Hornets return to the Hive this Saturday when they host Swindon Wildcats 2nds (6.30pm).