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Ice Hockey: Busy Bees disappointed

Bracknell Bees, second from bottom in the Superleague with eight wins from 24 starts, came desperately close to a four-pointer weekend, losing by just one goal in both games, writes Steve Pinder.

Up first were Nottingham Panthers, who took a two-goal lead in just four minutes through Neil Morgan and Randall Weber. However, Dale Junkin and Chris Brant equalised and another goal apiece saw the first period end 3-3. Panthers, scoring three without reply in the second, should have sealed matters but, in the third, Bees came out fired up, with Brant pulling one back in the first minute.

And, with seven minutes remaining, Mike Ellis was left free to make it 6-5 and Panthers could defend a lead. Bees' minder Mark Bernard foiled three attacks and, with a minute left, he was pulled for the extra player, but Panthers hung on.

Sheffield Steelers, having had a hard match against Basingstoke, winning 4-3 in overtime, must have hoped for easier pickings after the short journey to Bracknell. No such luck as Dean Richards opened the scoring for Bees, leaving Steelers to play catch-up hockey until, with the score 3-3 and 10 minutes to go, Nicky Chinn saved Steelers' blushes with the winner. But the hero of the match was Mark Bernard again, facing a shot a minute and just conceding the three.