BRACKNELL Hornets earned the bragging rights over Oxford City Stars with an entertaining 9-6 victory in National Ice Hockey League Two.

The clash between two of the division’s top sides was billed as an early-season four-pointer, and the action was fast and furious from the start with Stars ace Darren Elliott receiving a 5+ game penalty for kneeing Steve Fisher less than two minutes in.

In-form Fisher was assisted off the ice but did recover to return a short time later, only to see Oxford open the scoring soon after through Matt Lawday.

Hornets hit back when man-of-the-match Will Stead equalised on 12 minutes.

Then in a first period filled with minor penalties, with Hornets sitting out five of the seven called, Jake Florey put Oxford back in front on the powerplay only for Fisher to make it 2-2 on the buzzer.

The second period was equally as frenetic and, when Stewart Tait was called for slashing, Sean Scarborough nudged Hornets 3-2 ahead before Stars man-of-the-match Kamil Kinkor levelled.

Fisher restored Hornets’ lead soon after, but ex-Bracknell junior Jason Ikin made it 4-4 on 27.19 only for Stead to net again to put the home side 5-4 up at the end of the second period.

However, Ikin and Stead were both told to take a seat after the pair traded blows early in the final stanza.

A blistering spell followed from the Hornets who scored three powerplay goals in a four-minute burst through Ben Ealey-Newman, Jack Tarczycki and Scarborough for an 8-4 lead.

Oxford refused to lie down and Josh Oliver notched their fifth with four minutes to play.

But Bees made the victory safe thanks to a stunning strike from Harvey Hind-Pitcher from just inside the blue line.

Oxford did have the final say when Lawday netted his second of the day, but Hornets finished worthy winners.