Leeds Chiefs 5 Bracknell Bees 2 - Adam Barnes double throws Chiefs welcome lifeline

HOW sweet such swift revenge must have tasted for Sam Zajac and his Leeds Chiefs players in Blackburn on Saturday night.

Sunday, 5th January 2020, 4:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th January 2020, 4:43 pm
DOUBLE DELIGHT: Forward Adam Barnes struck twice in Saturday night's 5-2 win over Bracknell Bees. Picture courtesy of Kevin Slyfield.

Just six days after being hammered 11-1 by Bracknell Bees for their heaviest defeat of the season which was then followed by a 9-2 slump at Sheffield Steeldogs, the NIHL National's bottom club posted the perfect response.

Having found it so comfortable against the West Yorkshire club on home ice last week, Doug Sheppard's Bees must have been feeling pretty confident about their chances after travelling north for a first 'visit' to the UK sport's newest franchise.

But they were in for something of a surprise, welcomed by a Chiefs team clearly galvanised through having had to battle through yet another dose of adversity in a never-ending stream of debut season issues which had seen some observers - not the YEP we hasten to add - write off their chances.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Richard Bentham struck on the power play for a 2-1 Chiefs lead late in the first period. Picture courtesy of gw-images.com

Having gone behind to a 13th-minute power play effort from Bracknell's Josh Smith, there will have been some in the borrowed building fearing the worst.

But once Lewis Houston levelled just over four minutes later with his second goal in a Chiefs shirt, the hosts got a foothold they were determined never to let go of.

Crucially, they got ahead just before the first break when Richard Bentham struck on the power play, with man-of-the-match Adam Barnes doubling the lead at 25.44.

Barnes got his second and the Chiefs' fourth just under six minutes later, while at the other end, goaltender Sam Gospel - so badly exposed in the previous meeting between the two down in Berkshire - excelled throughout, turning away 39 of 41 shots on his goal.

There were a few nerves around the building when the visitors reduced the deficit to 4-2 through William Stead at 52.42 but, as they pressed further and pulled netminder Adam Goss with just under a minute remaining, Andres Kopstals was on hand with an empty-net strike - his sixth goal of the season.