Bees steal MK’s thunder to end in seventh heaven
Milton Keynes Thunder 5 Bracknell Bees 7
FRANKIE BAKRLIK and Shaun Thompson both bagged hattricks as Bracknell produced a storming comeback to kickoff their league campaign in style.
Bees looked in trouble at 5-3 down in the third, but they responded with four answered goals to triumph 7-5 in Milton Keynes.
George Norcliffe also found the net in the dramatic victory but new head coach Scott Spearing was quick to praise the work of his hattrick heroes.
“It was a good start to the season,” he told The Wokingham Paper.
“We kind of expected a lot from MK and knew they were going to come hard.
“The NIHL teams from last year, we know they’re going to work hard, try to wear us down and pick up on our mistakes and try and slow the game down a little bit.
“But that’s kind of to be expected.
“I thought we played OK for the first two periods but when we went down 5-3 in the third I had a chat with the boys and we turned it on and pulled back the win.
“It was a lot of character shown to be able to pull back from 5-3 to 7-5, four unanswered goals and I was really pleased with Thommo (Thompson), a proper leader on the team, scoring the goals.
“And obviously Frankie Bakrlik as well scoring the three goals on the PP, so a good performance from our key guys.”
It was a step into the unknown for Bees, skating out with a new squad and also in a new league after dropping down from the
Elite Premier League after a league reshuffle.
The first period started brightly with both netminders called into action and it was the visitors who took the lead with Thompson teeing up Bakrlik to fire home.
Captain Matt Foord squandered good chances to increase the advantage and MK levelled up on their own powerplay with former Bee Rio Grinell-Parke tucking into an empty net.
Into the second period and Bracknell moved 2-1 up as Thompson again set up Bakrlik.
Five minutes later and Thunder were back among the goals with Gareth O’Flaherty equalising before Grinell-Parke added his second of the evening.
However, Thompson soon found Bakrlik for a third time and he made no mistake in completing his hat-trick to level up at 3-3 heading into the final stanza.
But Thunder opened up a two-goal cushion for the first time with around 10 minutes to play thanks to strikes from Connor Goode and Jamie
Cue a stirring Bees response, pulling one back just 36 seconds later with big Czech Bakrlik this time turning provider, picking out Thompson to make it 5-4.
And minutes later Thompson scored again to level the contest, rounding netminder Tom Annetts.
But Bracknell were not done there, taking the lead again just 23 seconds after the restart as the puck came out to Norcliffe to smash home a fine wrist shot to send the travelling Bees fans wild.
And the win was sealed as Thompson joined Bakrlik on three goals in the closing moments.
“Frankie is a top import in any league,” said Spearing.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to bring him back.
“It does what it says on the tin really, he’s there to score goals and be the leader as an import and lead the way with goals and that’s exactly what he’s done.
“He got five points in the game and that’s exactly what he’s there for and then the same thing with Thommo (Thompson).
“We know he’s not necessarily the leader in the changing room, but he’s 100% a leader on the ice the way he plays.
“He pretty much outworks everyone on every single shift and he puts the puck in the back of the net.
“That’s exactly why I wanted him back this year.”
Bees travel to Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday (7pm) before welcoming Basingstoke
Bison to The Hive on Sunday evening (6pm).
Frankie Bakrlik scored a hat-trick for Bees