BRACKNELL Bees endured a frustrating weekend, losing 6-5 after penalties to Streatham at home on Saturday and 4-2 at Peterborough Panthers on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

It means their lengthy stay at the top of the NIHL South One table is now in serious danger with the pack, headed by Swindon and Peterborough, closing the gap with both having matches in hand.

If Bees are to stay in pole position, head coach Doug Sheppard believes they will need to show more consistent form and improve in a couple of departments.

He said: “We played some good hockey and proved we have good depth and can be a four-line team when everyone is going.

“But if we are to be successful we need better goaltending and need to be more disciplined at times.

“When we play as a team from the goaltender outwards, I think we can compete with anyone, but at the minute we’re lacking consistency in both areas.”

On Saturday, they found themselves trailing to Streatham after just 72 seconds to an Andreas Siagris goal, but Ben Paynter levelled in the 11th minute with a powerplay goal and Josh Martin put them ahead shortly before the first interval.

The second period followed a similar pattern to the first with Bees conceding a goal after 73 seconds, with Siagris again on target, but Roman Malinik equalised on 27.28 and he then put them 4-2 ahead on the powerplay just before the second break

However, the hosts were once again caught out early on with Leigh Jamieson making advantage of a powerplay to net Streatham’s third goal and Alex Roberts brought parity at 52.55 with Bees being caught out from a swift counter-attack

Within three minutes Aidan Doughty regained the lead for Bees at 55.36 – although Vanya Antonov appeared to get the final touch – and they looked poised for victory as the clock ticked down.

However, a penalty to Smith with 40 seconds left proved crucial. The RedHawks withdrew their netminder to go with an extra skater and it paid off with Jamieson making it 5-5 on powerplay with 24 seconds remaining.

Bees immediately lost Malinik who received a match penalty following comments to the match officials, so spoiling a good performance which had seen him net two goals and get two assists.

After a goalless over-time, the game went to penalties.

With Dean Skinns making two fine saves in the home goal, the first four were missed before Siagris netted in sudden death.

This meant Smith needed to score for Bees, but he could not find a way past Damien King.

In all, Bees totted up 47 penalty minutes and it was no wonder Sheppard was unhappy with his team’s discipline.

The coach added: “We played a solid 45 minutes, then decided to shoot ourselves in the foot. We took some selfish penalties and it cost us, it’s that simple.”

Skipper Joe Baird earned Bees’ man-of-the-match award.

The Berkshire Cycles-sponsored side took to the ice at Peterborough without the suspended Malinik and another slowish start saw them fall behind to goals from Scott Robson (16.43) and Nathan Pollard a little over two minutes later.

However, they enjoyed a much better second period with Edward Knaggs (23.25) opening their account before setting up Shaun Thompson for a 37th-minute equaliser.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors as they fell behind again to a Martins Susters strike early in the final period and Ales Padelek planted the fourth goal past Danny Milton in powerplay at 48.35 to give the Phantoms their eighth win in 10 games.

Smith was named Bees’ man-of-the-match.

Sheppard’s side should be capable of returning to winning form this weekend as they will be up against two clubs hovering in the bottom three of the table – playing Raiders at Romford on Saturday (5.15pm) before hosting Milton Keynes Thunder on Sunday (6pm).