8th of April 2017
Bison season ends in the semi-finalAll eyes from the EPL turned their attentions to Coventry where the Play-off Finals weekend took place at the Skydome Arena.
Group B Winners, The Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison, met the Telford Tigers in the day’s second semi-final match. Both teams took to the ice with their full rosters available.
Referee Dave Cloutman was the man in charge of the game with Mr Cook and Miss Stanley on the lines. As Group winners the Bison held home advantage.
Basingstoke Bison 2 Telford Tigers 3
The “home” team were off to a dream start when Derek Roehl blasted in at 3.56 while Jason Silverthorn was sitting out a goaltender interference call. Back at full strength Doug Clarkson equalised at 4.56 and despite one further powerplay each in the first period no further scoring happened before the end of period buzzer.
The middle period was more to and fro with Rene Jarolin beating Jon Baston at 31.54 but Bison couldn’t get further than a single goal ahead before Adam Jones scored with 3.55 left in the middle period to level the game at 2-2. At 37.51 Bison Captain Aaron Connolly checked Tigers Milan Kolena and the Tigers player went down. After a small scrum had ensued the Bison Captain was awarded a 5+game for boarding leaving the Stampede to kill a 5 minute penalty and to play without their captain for the rest of the game.
With under 30 seconds left in the penalty kill Doug Clarkson netted his second of the night for the Tigers at 42.26 put the “visitors” ahead for the first time in the night. Bison set about fighting back straight after the return to full strength with chances coming from Derek Roehl, Joe Miller and Dan Davies all in quick succession. With the lead, Tigers could concentrate on sitting back to kill off the game and soaked up the pressure the Bison were generating. Tomas Hiadlovsky headed to the bench for the extra skater with 49 seconds to play, Doug Sheppard taking the time out at the next stoppage with 39 seconds left. Hiadlovsky remained on the bench but Tigers killed the 39 seconds and took the second place in the semi-final.
Basingstoke: Miller 0+2; Roehl, Jarolin 1+0; Antonov, Balmer 0+1. Net: Hiadlovsky (59.11) 24/3 & Empty Net (0.49) 0/0
Telford: Davies 0+3; Clarkson 2+0; Jones 1+0; Weaver, Davies, McEwen 0+1. Net: Baston (60.00) 33/2
Period Scores: 1-1/1-1/0-1
Shots On Goal: 33-24
Penalty Minutes: 31-6
Referee: D Cloutman. Linesmen: Cook & Stanley
After the game the disappointed Bison head Coach, Doug Sheppard, shared his thoughts
“I am absolutely gutted but we left nothing in the tank and gave everything we had on the ice. I thought we were taking the ascendancy in the game and I felt we had the depth to utilise that and go on to win the game. The 5 minute major penalty was unfortunate in a game of that magnitude, we almost killed it but not quite. From that point on, with Telford scoring on the powerplay, they were content to suck up everything we threw at them and we just couldn’t quite get it back. Hats off to Telford who secured the second play-off spot.”
“I want to thank all of my guys for their efforts across the season. I’m proud to have coached this team all season long. I’m gutted we went out in the semi-final again this year but I can still say I’m proud of my team.”
Sheppard concluded; “We’re hurting right now but I want to say, from myself and the entire team, a huge thanks to our wonderful fan base. We heard you cheering for us tonight and we’ve heard that all season long. Just as I’m proud of my team, I’m proud of our fans. I’m gutted we couldn’t reward you with a win tomorrow but we gave our all every time we hit the ice this season with you right there behind us.”
In the earlier semi-final a clinical third period from the Milton Keynes Lightning saw them dispatch Guildford Flames 3-8 meaning tomorrow’s final will be Lightning and Tigers.