BRACKNELL Bees remain second in the NIHL Division One South table following another win-double at the weekend, writes Dave Wright.

They crushed bottom club Cardiff Fire 8-1 on Saturday before beating Invicta Dynamos 5-4 on Sunday in a match decided on penalties.

With 10 wins from 11 games, their 20-point tally leaves them level on points with Peterborough, but their goals record of 67-32 is marginally inferior to the Phantoms’ 65-23.

But hot on the heels of the top two are Basingstoke Bison, who have won all of their eight fixtures so far.

It is a long time since Bees held such a lofty position in any league table.

Having already beaten them 11-1 and 5-1 this season, victory over Cardiff was a mere formality for a Bracknell side missing their injured player-coach, Scott Spearing.

The game was over as a contest by the end of the opening period with Bees storming four goals ahead through Shaun Thompson on 3:17, Frankie Bakrlik (11:56), who was scoring for the 11th successive game, Ben Earley-Newman (17:21), his first of the season, and Steve Osman five seconds before the first break.

In that blistering opening 20 minutes, Bracknell had 26 shots on goal, while their net-minder, Danny Milton, had to deal with just two.

Thompson netted his second just before the 24th-minute mark, but the only other goal in this period came shortly afterwards at the other end with Jackson Price netting for the visitors.

Whilst that was no more than a consolation, the goal must have sent a ripple of concern throughout the Bracknell side that it was not going to be another double-figure goal fest.

In the end, they were only able to add three goals in the final period, with Jan Bendik and Alex Barker both on target with Thompson completing his hat-trick.

The No 13’s third treble of the season earned him his fourth player-of-the-match award.

Best also deserves a credit for three assists, while there were two apiece for Danny Ingoldsby, Josh Martin and Will Stead.

In total, Bracknell outshot their hosts by a massive margin of 70-20.

For most of the players, Sunday’s game saw them venture into unknown territory with a trip down to Gillingham in Kent to face Invicta Dynamos.

Bees had edged a 7-6 victory in overtime when the two sides met at The Hive a fortnight earlier and the return fixture was equally as close.

In a real thriller, Bees went a goal behind before Bendik and Best made it 2-1, only for the hosts to equalise just before the end of the opening period.

Net-minder Alex Mettam pulled off some big stops, but could not stop Dynamos taking a 4-2 lead.

However, Ingoldsby reduced the arrears just after the half-hour mark with Martin levelling things up on 57:37 to take the game into over-time.

In the second minute, Invicta’s Mason Webster was injured in collision with Bakrlik, who was handed a five minute plus match penalty. Webster was taken to hospital by ambulance but has since received the all clear.

Bees went on to win the subsequent penalty shoot-out with Thompson, twice, and Bendik the men on target while Mettam made two important saves to deny the hosts.

Ben Earley-Newman took the man-of-the-match award, his first for the team.

This weekend, Bees take on Division One North high-flyers Telford Tigers in the National Cup, with the home leg on Saturday and the return on Sunday, both with a 6pm face-off.