19th of February 2017
No Lightning strike as the Herd stampede on home iceThe Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison played on home ice for the only game of their weekend. Following the demise of the Phoenix Bison re-jigged their fixtures resulting in Milton Keynes visiting Hampshire for their final visit.
Basingstoke Bison 3 Milton Keynes Lightning 2
Stephen Matthews was the referee with Liv Andersson and Justin Lalonde on the lines.
While Ciaran Long got to test the Lightning netminder early on it was at the other end where the first goal happened after just 1.51 when Lewis Hook bagged the game’s opener. He skated round the zone and slotted the puck glove side for the first goal of the night.
Back at the other end Bison won a faceoff back to Stuart Mogg who blasted in but Przemyslaw Odrobny made the save and the puck stayed wedged under his arm. As the game went on play was hard and skilled but neither team gave an inch. Chances were created by the Bison and Lightning but neither had the finish.
Dan Davies raced away down the ice and left a nice drop pass for Ciaran Long but Long was undone by good positioning by Odrobny and he made the save. End to end hockey followed as Holli shot wide, Roehl was denied by Odrobny then Holli tried to play provider but his feed flashed through the crease and safely away. Bison were given a powerplay when Tom Carlon took the game’s first penalty at 8.16 for holding the stick.
Bison generated some good puck movement on the powerplay but Lightning defended well and deep. As a blast from the blue line got intercepted by Lewis Hook he moved away shorthanded but Hiadlovsky kept him out. Tom Carlon’s penalty expired but Lightning were at full strength for just 14 seconds when Frankie Bakrlik offered an easy hooking call and put Bison back on the powerplay.
Declan Balmer fed a shot in from near the boards but a tip from Aaron Connolly couldn’t get past Odrobny. Despite an excellent shift from the first powerplay line and plenty of action in front of the net nobody could get a stick on the puck and direct it home. Long headed in and shot but Odrobny produced a glove save and Bakrlik returned.
It was Bakrlik who stole a puck and released quickly but Hiadlovsky denied him. Then Dan Davies was fed by Vanya Antonov but the Lightning netminder kicked the pad and made a save. Antonov slotted across for Aaron Connolly but Odrobny saved again.
With 2.45 left to play in the first Bison pulled the game level as Kurt Reynolds slotted across to Vanya Antonov who blasted in from the point and Dan Davies got the tip on it to get sufficient re-direction past Odrobny.
On the very next play Bison set the cross bar ringing with a shot that beat Odrobny all up but then Frankie Bakrlik worked himself into space but his shot was an easy save for Hiadlovksy.
Derek Roehl fed in a blast which Rene Jarolin got the tip on but the first period ran out with the teams locked at 1-1. It was a close period with both teams scrapping hard but level was probably how it deserved to end.
A swift start to the second period saw the Bison creating pressure around the net but the pipe work found its way lose. With the pegs replaced Joe Miller fired a shot coming down the wing but Odrobny saw it all the way for another save. Odrobny found himself busy as Ciaran Long went solo, then Declan Balmer shot in for a Vanya Antonov tip, Odrobny’s save falling for Long but he couldn’t get it in.
The second period had been a good start for the Bison but eventually Jordan Cownie was away with the puck but his shot was hampered by good defensive pressure from Stuart Mogg. As Lightning looked to retain control Derek Roehl became entangled with Lewis Christie and ended up with a holding the stick penalty at 24.52.
The was an early alert for the Bison as a chance flashed through the top of Hiadlovsky’s crease but other than that the Herd put together a good defensive penalty kill. Drama happened at the other end of the penalty too as Dan Davies and Matt Towalski were away shorthanded, the latter getting the shot off but Odrobny made another save.
Blaz Emersic caught Joe Rand with a high stick at 27.13 earning him a 2 minute minor penalty. The Bison man advantage lasted just 10 seconds before Ciaran Long levelled up the strength at 4 on 4 with a tripping call as Lewis Hook fell down.
Joe Rand returned to the bench during the 4 on 4 spell as Derek Roehl gave a display of sheer skill, dancing to the net with the puck never leaving his stick despite the back checking Milton Keynes defenders pressuring him.
Emersic and Long returned in quick succession but it wasn’t back at 5 on 5 long when Milton Keynes took the lead as Frankie Bakrlik finished a passage of good play and good passes firing home for 1-2 at 29.35.
Aaron Connolly nearly bagged the equaliser through a bit of good fortune when his centring feed was intercepted by James Griffin who nearly netted in his own goal. Milton Keynes were soon benefitting from a 2 on 1 but over ran their chance and ran out of options. Antii Holli rounded the net and fed Griffin but Hiadlovsky kicked a pad and made the save.
At 34.41 Bison were back on the powerplay when Lewis Christie was called for a blatant roughing penalty in his attempts to stop the Bison captain.
Lewis Hook had a chance shorthanded when he blocked a point shot and raced down the middle but Hiadlovsky made the save of the night to deny him. Bison put together a great powerplay but were missing the final touch until Derek Roehl levelled the game at 36.37. Miller found Roehl and Roehl fired in a pin point shot with laser accuracy through traffic bagging the bottom corner all for his own.
With 3.09 left to play in the period Declan Balmer was floored by a hit from Frankie Bakrlik. Balmer took a while to get up and the officials deliberated the possibility of a call with Stephen Matthews calling 2+10 for check to the head.
Ciaran Long sent in a powerplay boomer forcing another save from the Polish National Team goalie in the Lightning net, Vanya Antonov couldn’t quite settle the puck on his back hand to get the rebound him.
Milton Keynes returned to full strength before any further changes could be made to the scoreboard and the second period finished with 2-2 still on the board and an exciting third period ahead.
There were frantic chances at the start of the third period, Dan Davies getting a backhand on a bobbling puck and a sharp save from Tomas Hiadlovsky against a Blaz Emersic snap shot. Hiadlovsky had to make two more saves from Emersic and Billing before the defence could get a handle on the puck and clear to safety. With Bison on the transition Ciaran Long slotted forward to Vanya Antonov and he in turn found Rene Jarolin who’s shot was tracked by Odrobny straight into his glove.
The Bison performance was growing stronger and stronger as they continued to generate quality scoring chances. Hiadlovsky was in top form in the Bison net and the team going forward fed from this.
Matt Towalski and Grant Rounding forced a turnover but Odrobny denied Tomas Karpov. Declan Balmer blasted in from the blue line but the puck disappeared somewhere in front of a goal mouth scramble and the whistle blew. Aaron Connolly’s back hand was swallowed up by the netminder’s glove as he took a tighter and tighter grip on the man of the match award.
Ciaran Long eventually beat Przemyslaw Odrobny for the game winning goal with 4.54 to play. Bison had been dominant through the period and in yet another prolonged spell in the attacking zone Declan Balmer fed Ciaran Long who stepped in to the shot and blasted into the middle of the net.
Dropping behind spurred on the Lightning who started to generate a bit of pressure on the Bison but a composed performance saw the home team defend well. The forwards back checked with their defensive colleagues but still took the opportunities to advance carefully forward when they arose.
Odrobny advanced towards his bench, keeping an eye on the coach for the call but his team mates couldn’t gain and retain possession long enough for him to leave until there was just 12 seconds go. Just after Odrobny had left the ice Hiadlovsky tried to find the target at the other end but an icing call was made.
Peter Russell took the MK time out at 59.51 and then, as play was about to resume, Doug Sheppard called his players back for the Bison time-out. With 9 seconds left to play, play did get back underway after the two time outs with Bison controlling the play and Kurt Reynolds cleared the puck down the ice on the buzzer to seal the win.
Basingstoke: Antonov 0+2; Roehl, Davies, Long 1+0; Reynolds, Miller, Balmer 0+1. Net: Hiadlovsky (60.00) 24/2
Milton Keynes: Hook, Bakrlik 1+0; Johnson, Griffin, Jamieson, Cownie 0+1. Net: Odrobny (59.48) 39/3 & Empty Net (0.12) 0/0
Period Scores: 1-1/1-1/1-0
Shots On Goal: 39-24
Penalty Minutes: 4-20
Referee: S Matthews. Linesmen: J Lalonde and L Andersson
After his team secured maximum points Bison Head Coach Doug Sheppard said; “I’m really happy with how we played. It was a great team effort and I couldn’t ask any more from my players. We fell behind twice in the game but we discovered our inner strength and fought back twice. The game could have gone either way but I liked the way we pushed for the win in the third period and think we got the points we deserved.”
Speaking after the game he wanted to reassure supporters on the status of defenceman Dan Scott; “Dan came to the rink tonight and watched most of the first period. He’s progressing well after the hit to the head last weekend and we’re pleased with the progress he’s making. His recovery will take time, as a club we’ll support him and won’t rush him back but it’s good to know he’s making good progress in the right direction.”
Bison now have time to regroup ahead of next week’s game against the NIHL select team on Saturday evening at the usual time.