Bracknell Bees suffered two narrow defeats at the weekend, but showed encouraging form to suggest it shouldn’t be long before they string a winning run together, writes Dave Wright.

Last Saturday they lost 5-4 in overtime at Swindon Wildcats, while a day later they went down 3-2 to Basingstoke Bison.

Bees, without a league win since November 5, remain fourth in the table, 11 points behind joint leaders Peterborough and Basingstoke.

They did not make the best of starts, with defensive errors allowing the Cats to take a 2-0 lead inside the opening eight minutes through Aaron Nell and a Luc Johnson penalty.

Just after the half-hour James Galazzi opened Bees’ account, but they again went two goals behind early in the third period with Jordan Kelsall on target.

However, a lack of discipline was heavily punished with Callum Best, Frankie Bakrlik and Danny Ingoldsby scoring power-play goals to put their side 4-3 ahead with 47 minutes gone.

Scott Spearing’s side were still in front with less than two minutes left, but Kelsall’s second of the night took it to overtime and there were chances at both ends before Swindon’s Edgar Bebris snatched victory on 63:03.

Jan Bendik was voted Bracknell’s man of the match.

Bees made a bright start against Basingstoke on Sunday with net-minder Alex Mettam virtually a spectator for the first two minutes.

Bakrlik was making a nuisance of himself and, with Best twice going close, the pressure paid off in the 11th minute. Bakrlik’s shot from distance was blocked, but, with help from Tom Avery, Carl Thompson found the back of the net for a power-play goal.

Bison, with a man in the sin bin, equalised on 12:05 when Roman Malinik converted from Aaron Connolly’s assist.

Mettam was soon in action in the second period, making a fine save from Connolly, but was beaten for a second time on 21:30 with Grant Rounding firing home from close range.

Although Bakrlik and Ingoldsby each threatened, Bracknell couldn’t maintain their earlier intensity in the middle period.

Malinik netted his second goal to make it 3-1 on 32:08 before the visitors won a penalty, but Josh Smith could not find a way past his old Bees teammate Mettam.

The net-minder then denied Smith again and Tomas Karpov on two occasions and the second period buzzer could not have come sooner for the Bees.

They did improve in the final period and a good spell of pressure saw Bendik, Best and Bakrlik all go close.

After a time-out, Mettam was withdrawn and Bees made the extra man count with Best scoring a second on 58:11 following good work by Galazzi and Avery.

Bakrlik pushed for an equaliser, but time ran out. Bees’ man of the match was Ingoldsby.

Bracknell complete their National Cup Group D fixtures tomorrow (Thursday) with a re-arranged trip to Telford in what is a dead rubber. Bees return to action on January 20 at London Raiders, followed by a home clash with MK Thunder a day later.