THE resurgent Bracknell Bees earned three points at the weekend, but can consider themselves unfortunate not to have got all four, writes Dave Wright.

They were only beaten 3-2 after penalties at Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday and then on Sunday handed out a 5-3 defeat to local rivals Swindon Wildcats at The Hive.

Giving one of their best away performances of the season, Bees twice led the Phantoms in a match where they felt they got a raw deal from the match officials.

But they defended superbly and killed off nine penalties, only failing with the 10th, which saw the hosts grab an equaliser in the 57th minute.

Bees took the lead on 26:54 with a power-play goal when Alex Barker struck from the blue line, the assists coming from Shaun Thompson and Jan Bendik.

Nathan Pollard equalised on 36:35, but just 38 seconds after the second break the visitors were back in front with Danny Ingoldsby setting things up for Thompson.

Bees looked to be heading for a shock win, but three-and-a-half minutes from the end of normal time the outstanding Alex Mettam was beaten by Phantoms skipper James Ferrara.

Bracknell had the better of the extra period with Thompson not far away from snatching victory late on.

He went on to score in the penalty decider, but misses by Callum Best and Alex Barker enabled Ales Padelek and Darius Pliskauskas to seal victory for the hosts. Thompson was voted Bees’ man of the match.

That honour on Sunday went to net-minder Alex Mettam, although there were several other contenders in an excellent team performance against Swindon.

“He is an unbelievable goalie,” commented Spearing. “In the last two games he has shown so much character.”

Bees welcomed back leading scorer Frankie Bakrlik following his two-match suspension and he scored the second goal in the 33th minute after Thompson’s 12th-minute opener had been cancelled out by Phil Hill on 30:15.

Luc Johnson made it 2-2 just before the 44-minute mark with a delayed penalty goal.

The puck was in the back of Bees’ net again, but Mettam led the appeals and the ‘goal’ was disallowed for a high-sticks offence.

At the other end, Thompson missed a one-on-one chance, but shortly afterwards he set up Barker, who hammered in an unstoppable shot from 15 yards to put Bees back in front on 52:18, And they quickly followed up with a fourth, skipper Matt Foord getting an unassisted goal against one of his former clubs.

With the game in its last minute, Max Birbraer scored Swindon’s third, but by now the Wildcats had withdrawn net-minder Renny Marr and James Galazzi took advantage to glide the puck into an empty with six seconds left on the clock for his fifth goal in as many games.

Equally impressive is Thompson with six from seven since returning from his ankle injury.

After the game he was praised by player-coach Spearing, who said: “Shaun is a top player.

“We expect a lot from him and that’s what he also expects from himself. He inspires the team with the way he plays, the effort he puts in and the way he can score goals.”

During his absence through injury, Bees brought in Shaun’s brother, Carl, to cover for him, but he has now been retained for the rest of the season.

“When Carl came in he made an immediate impact,” said Spearing. “In the last couple of weeks, he has progressed so much and has got so much confidence, that I am really happy he is staying in the squad.”

Spearing, however, has agreed to release Jared Lane, who has now joined Guildford Phoenix in Division Two South.

  • BRACKNELL Bees Supporters Club are holding a quiz night at the Honies Restaurant tomorrow (Thursday) starting at 7.30pm.