BRACKNELL Bees slipped to only their second NIHL defeat of the season on Sunday, going down 4-3 in overtime to Swindon Wildcats, writes Dave Wright.

But the South One table-toppers have only themselves to blame, as they squandered a number of scoring opportunities and produced a below-par performance in the second period.

At times, however, they more than matched the Wildcats who had arrived at the Hive boasting an unbeaten record after three games with an impressive 18-0 goals record.

That, however, did not last for long, with Bees taking just under five minutes to score with Aidan Doughty snapping up a rebound after Roman Malinik’s shot had come back off the pads of netminder Renny Marr.

Josh Smith forced Marr into a superb save low down near the post before a swift break led to Jan Kostal opening Swindon’s account in the 10th minute.

Within three minutes, Bees were back in front with a sensational solo effort from Malinik – definitely one of the best goals seen at the Hive for some time. He sped down the left and cut in before firing past Marr, a goal which had fans on their feet.

And it came at a time when Bees were a man short with Scott Spearing in the sin-bin.

Dean Skinns, in the home goal, produced two good stops, but Bees were good value for their lead at the end of the opening 20 minutes.

However, they failed to maintain the tempo in the second period.

Within three minutes of the resumption and a man down, they conceded a power-play equaliser to Sam Bullas, and Bracknell’s play then became sloppy at times, losing possession too easily and passes going astray.

Yet they nearly regained the lead when Vanya Antonov got in a shot at goal which stuck in Marr’s pads, although he looked suspiciously over the line.

And the Wildcats celebrated that let-off by taking the lead through Edgars Bebris just after the 33rd-minute mark.

The final period saw Bees regain the tempo they had displayed in the opening 20 minutes and in the 44th minute Josh Martin and Brendan Baird set up a deserved equaliser for Smith.

The momentum was back with Bracknell and Malinik and Antonov both went close to grabbing a late winner.

However, the game went to overtime and, after Bees skipper Joe Baird had shot wide, the Wildcats sealed victory after two minutes and 12 seconds with their first shot from Sam Jones.

Recent signing Niko Suoraniemi was their man-of-the-match.

One point was the least Doug Sheppard’s men deserved as they followed up their 3-2 win at Milton Keynes Thunder on Saturday, less than a week after they had beaten them 2-0 at home.

But they made hard work of beating a side who had managed just one win in their opening seven games, outshooting their hosts 50-23.

They fell behind to a Greg Randall goal in the eighth minute, but Bees dominated the opening period, getting in a remarkable 26 shots without being able to beat net-minder Jordan Lawday.

In the middle period, however, they created just 11 scoring chances and found the net with two of them.

Zack Milton, who joined the Bees on a full-time basis last week, brought them level on 25 minutes with Antonov and Doughty providing the assists, and less than two minutes later Ryan Sutton put Bees ahead from a chance set up by Scott Spearing.

Tomas Rubes levelled just before the end of the second break when both sides were down to four skaters, but in the second minute of the final period Bees regained the lead with a power-play goal, scored by Antonov with Malinik and Shaun Thompson assisting.

Antonov was named Bees’ man of the match with Lawday the only real choice for Thunder.

Bracknell have just the one fixture this coming weekend, home to Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday (6pm).

The visitors have won three of their opening four league games, including an excellent 2-1 victory at Basingstoke last weekend.

There will be an extra treat for fans as after the game they will be allowed onto the Hive ice to skate around with the Bees players.

Bracknell Hornets

BRACKNELL Hornets suffered back-to-back defeats to Oxford City Stars and Cardiff Fire 2 in NIHL 2 South last weekend.

They were beaten 9-6 at home by Oxford on Saturday then 24 hours later lost 10-9 in overtime at Cardiff.

Jakub Fojtik netted twice against Oxford, with Carl Graham, Ben Ealey-Newman, Harvey Hind-Pitcher and Steve Fisher also on target.

But a Joe Edwards hat-trick plus goals from Josh Oliver, Tom Davis, Michal Oravec, Lee Richardson, Dax Hedges and Darren Elliott saw the away side to victory.

Hornets were on course for a victory in Cardiff as they led 9-6 in the third period thanks to a Fisher hat-trick and goals from Luke Jackson, Connor Hutchinson, Will Stead, Daniel Hughes, Ben Ealey-Newman and Fojtik.

But Philip Manny, Tamas Elias and Jackson Lewis-Price scored late on to force overtime during which Elias struck again for the winner.

Lewis-Price finished with five of Cardiff’s goals in the end, with Jordan Powell grabbing a brace.

Hornets return to the ice on Saturday, October 27 when they host Bristol Pitbulls (6pm).