BRACKNELL BEES kicked off 2019 in style with an impressive four-point weekend.
The year got off to a thrilling start with Saturday’s clash against bogey side Peterborough Phantoms at The Hive.
Bees trailed 2-1 heading into the closing minutes, despite a Josh Martin goal, but they grabbed a late equaliser when Vanya Antonov found the net.
And the hosts took the extra point in overtime as Shaun Thompson slammed in to earn a 3-2 victory.
It was the same score again on Sunday with a hard-fought victory at Milton Keynes Thunder, coming from behind to win with goals from Stuart Mogg, Antonov and Aidan Doughty.
“Saturday was a huge character win for us,” said head coach Doug Sheppard.
“The fightback we showed to earn two points we needed to get impressed me.
“On Sunday we obviously had a bit of a hangover from the previous night’s win and we came out flat and were made to pay.
“MK got the jump on us but I thought we played a solid second and third period to round off a nice four-point weekend.”
Peterborough arrived in Berkshire as the only team Bracknell had not beaten yet this season, but the hosts started brightly.
They piled the pressure on netminder Jordan Marr and took the lead in the 15th minute through Martin.
Bees then successfully defended a penalty to see out the first period 1-0 up.
Phantoms created the clearer openings after the restart and they levelled up through James Ferrara before then taking the lead just 22 seconds later as Martins Susters netted.
Dean Skinns kept the contest alive with a big save to deny Ales Padelek during the third and that allowed an equaliser.
After Sheppard pulled his netminder to allow for an extra attacker, the numerical advantage paid off with Antonov tucking in after Roman Malinik’s shot had struck a post.
And Bracknell pushed on in overtime to claim victory through Thompson.
Bees were forced to battle back from behind again when they travelled to struggling MK.
Mogg did put Bracknell ahead, but Hallden Barnes-Garner soon equalised.
And Thunder turned the tables to go 2-1 up by the end of the first period with Alex Whyte firing in.
Sheppard’s men responded during the second to get back in front, peppering 25 shots on Jordan Lawday’s goal with two finding their way in through Antonov and Doughty.
Bees controlled the third period as it passed goalless to give the visitors victory.
The four points see Bracknell move up to third in the table, just two points off top spot.
For more Bracknell Bees news, including an exclusive column from Sheppard, see this week’s Wokingham Paper.