BRACKNELL Bees bounced back from a 6-2 hiding at Basingstoke to beat Raiders 4-2 on Sunday and restore some confidence ahead of this coming weekend's crucial home games with top-four rivals Peterborough and Basingstoke, writes Dave Wright.

It was a high-intensity game on Saturday in front of a packed arena, but despite their quality, the Bees were made to look second best by the Bison.

They went two goals down to Russell Cowley in the 15th minute and George Norcliffe just over two minutes later, but came out firing for the second period and within three minutes of the resumption, Zach Milton and Roman Malinik had brought the scores level.

Cowley restored Bison's lead just before the 30-minute mark and Smith extended it in the 35th minute with Michal Klejna making it 5-2 in the second minute of the final period.

When Malinik was tripped by ex-Bee Danny Ingoldsby, Bracknell were awarded a penalty shot, but Tyler Vankleef saw his effort saved by former Bracknell No. 1 Alex Mettam and the visitors' misery was completed when Cowley completed his hat-trick in the 56th minute.

Netminder Dean Skinns, another facing his old club, was voted the Berkshire Cycles sponsored side's man-of-the-match on a night when he faced 30 shots, three more than his opposite number.

On Sunday, Skinns enjoyed a much less busy opening period, having just three shots to deal with as his side were in dominant form against the Raiders from Romford.

But it was not until they were on the power play for the second time when they took a 15th-minute lead through Shaun Thompson.

The hosts continued to attack and there were a number of scrambles in front of the net with goalie Michael Gray sprawled out on the ice more than once.

Bees again took advantage of a power-play situation to score again through Aidan Doughty in the 25th minute, with Malinik making it 3-0 after 38 minutes.

Despite increasing their lead, it was quite a closely-fought middle stanza with Skinns forced to pull off a number of fine saves.

With less than nine minutes of the game remaining, Sheppard's side appeared to have the game under control.

However, that changed as Raiders, who have been in good form of late, hauled themselves back in the picture with goals from Liam Chong, when they were short-handed, and Dan Scott in the 51st and 53rd minutes.

In a bid for a late equaliser, they withdrew Gray and that cost them as Bees' Josh Smith took possession in the middle of the rink, held off an opponent and slotted the puck into the empty net with their 34th shot of the game.

Antonov was voted Bees' man-of-the-match.

Bracknell move back to second place in the table albeit on goal difference from Swindon, three points behind Peterborough, who have games in hand on their main rivals, while Basingstoke are fourth in the table where just four points separates the leading quartet.

Phantoms will be the visitors on Saturday, a fixture brought forward from February 3, followed by Bison on Sunday, both matches having the usual 6pm face-off.