Zach Milton played a big role as Bracknell Bees came storming back to hammer Milton Keynes Thunder 7-3 at the Hive on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

The 17-year-old, who only became a full-time member of the Bees a few weeks ago and is by far their youngest player, scored twice after seeing his side trail 2-0 with 20 minutes gone.

Head coach Doug Sheppard revealed club junior Milton was not “on the radar” in the summer, but he then had an opportunity to train with the team and was quick to make an impression.

“He is a very coachable kid, who wants to get better and works hard every session,” said Sheppard.

“He is progressing very nicely and it was good to see him rewarded with a couple of goals.”

Milton, who started playing hockey at Slough when just four years old, added: “Obviously I’m really pleased with the way things are going for me as I have improved my game massively since the start of the season.

“This is proving a very good experience for me and the aim is to keep progressing and get a bigger role in the team.”

And the 6ft player who shoots left-handed will certainly get more ice-time on the evidence of what he showed on Sunday.

Bees went into the second period 2-0 down after conceding goals from Sean Norris and Logan Prince inside the opening 15 minutes to a MK side who had lost 11 of their previous 13 league matches.

But some strong words must have been said during the first interval as Sheppard’s men came out for the second period fully revved up.

It took less than two minutes to get on level terms with Ryan Watt getting their first goal and Milton bringing the scores level.

Zach, younger brother of Bees keeper Danny, fired his side ahead in the 33rd minute and Watt also netted his second five minutes later to complete a highly productive second period, Bees now 4-2 ahead.

Within three minutes of the start of the final period, Vanya Antonov extended the Berkshire Cycles-sponsored side’s lead, only to see Trevor Leblanc pull one back for the visitors.

However, by now Bees were controlling the game and it was just a matter of how many goals they would net before the final buzzer.

The impressive Antonov became his side’s third player to complete a brace of goals in the 49th minute and four minutes later Milton set up the seventh and final goal for David Millner.

Overall, it was an enjoyable evening for a good-sized crowd, with a number of invited guests watching hockey for the first time. They will have gone home impressed.

Watt was voted Bees’ player of the match.

This win ended a run of three successive defeats for Bees, who had lost 4-3 in overtime to third-from-bottom Raiders at Romford on Saturday after being ahead with just a minute left.

Shaun Thompson opened their account in the seventh minute and two minutes later Aiden Doughty’s shot was touched home by Antonov.

But their lead was halved by Ashley Jackson on power play in the 14th minute and, with Thompson (tripping) and Joe Baird (high sticks) both binned, Bees faced a period of three against five. They killed off the penalty minutes with netminder Dean Skinns making a couple of excellent saves.

And it didn’t take them long to go 3-1 ahead through an excellent goal from Ryan Sutton and it needed a brilliant save by Michael Gray to prevent David Millner increasing the lead.

Skinns was beaten for a second time in the 48th minute by Blaho Novak and it then needed further good work from the goalie to keep Bees in front.

With time running out, Raiders withdrew Gray for an extra skater and it paid off as skipper Aaron Connolly equalised with just 51 seconds left on the clock.

There were still chances for both sides to snatch victory, but it went to 3-on-3 overtime and Jake Sylvester won it for Raiders after 98 seconds to leave Bees bitterly disappointed.

Antonov was voted Bees’ man of the match.

This defeat brought an end to Bracknell’s long stay at the top of the South 1 table, with Swindon leap-frogging them ahead of their visit to the Hive on Sunday (6pm).