27th of March 2018
Weekend Review - Semi-Finals, job doneThe Southern Play-off Semi-Finals saw the Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison starting on the road against the London Raiders with a weekend win seeing them not only qualify for the Southern Finals but also guarantee themselves a place in Coventry for the National final four.
London Raiders 4 Basingstoke Bison 7
It was a dream start for the Herd when Josh Smith found the back of the net just 38 seconds into the game but JJ Pitchley levelled the game at 19.59 to end the first period all square.
The lead went to the Raiders at 21.03 thanks to an unassisted goal from Olegs Lascenko but a Grant Rounding powerplay strike levelled the game again. Tomas Karpov assisted Dan Davies for the go ahead goal at 27.34 but Lascenko netted his second at 28.22 to pull the Raiders back level. Two quick goals gave the Bison the advantage as Aaron Connolly’s goal at 37.07 was followed quickly by Tomas Karpov scoring 39 seconds later for 3-5 but Marek Nahlik pulled a goal back with 1.40 left to play in the middle period with the teams heading off 3-4.
Bison turned up a gear for the final period and Roman Malinik put in an individual performance as he scored a delayed penalty goal at 50.52 and an even strength goal at 54.20 to end the game 4-7 and earn a 3 goal advantage for the Herd to take home.
Romford: Lascenko 2+0; Pitchley, Nahlik 1+0; Turner, Munroe 0+1. Net: Gray (59.58) 44/7 & Empty Net (0.00) 0/0
Basingstoke: Karpov 1+2; Malinik 2+0; Rounding, Smith, Davies 1+1; Mogg, Antonov 0+2; Connolly 1+0; Dewey 0+1. Net: Skinns (60.00) 34/3
Period Scores: 1-1/3-4/0-2
Shots On Goal: 44-34
Penalty Minutes: 12-37
Referee: W Hewitt. Linesmen: F Sytch-Cunningham & P O’Neill
With business taken care of on the road the Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison returned home to play the second leg of the Southern Semi-Final in front of a packed Basingstoke Arena.
Basingstoke Bison 3 London Raiders 0
Tim Pickett took charge of the second semi-final as the Bison lined up short on defence with Dan Scott and Joe Baird both missing from the lineup.
Both teams started tentatively and the game got an early stoppage while the linesmen tended to the Raiders’ net. Play stopped again soon after when an Aaron Connolly shot struck Michael Grey on the shoulders and the Raiders’ goaltender took a moment.
After a scrappy first period it was the second period where the game came to life. Raiders upped the physical stakes but they also started the period well with chances for both Sylvester and Nahlik but then Bison came into their own. Tomas Karpov rounded the net before firing just wide and Vanya Antonov picked up the puck but missed. Tomas Karpov then found Dan Davies who drew a huge pad save.
Bison got the period’s first powerplay at 24.43 but were delayed as Michael Gray cleared the net from it’s moorings. Aaron Connolly took a shot in the league and limped off and soon after on the re-start Raiders returned to full strength.
Michael Gray went on to deny Vanya Antonov and Grant Rounding ahead of another Bison powerplay at 28.52 as Wells sat out a slashing penalty. Soon after 5 on 5 Raiders were back penalised again when Barry took a holding penalty as he hauled down Grant Rounding at 31.54
With 19 seconds left on the powerplay Bison edged ahead with a sense of inevitability when a Roman Malinik blue line blast took a handy deflection from Josh Smith for the opening goal after a good period of sustained pressure.
Hallam Wilson got called for hooking at 34.21 but a good penalty kill from the outskaters combined with a couple of good saves from Dean Skinns saw off the danger.
There was more powerplay action for the Herd when Raiders’ John Connolly got an interference call after a tangle with Vanya Antonov with 53 seconds left in the period and with 2 seconds left in the middle period Josh Smith netted the second. A deft bit of footwork deflected the puck onto stick and into the goal. After deliberation with both linesmen Tim Pickett awarded the goal and after 2 more seconds of play Bison took the interval 2 goals clear.
Aaron Connolly started the third period with a great run which drew a big save but 6.24 into the period the Herd were shorthanded as Tomas Karpov took a boarding penalty. Grant Rounding tried his luck shorthanded but Karpov returned with no change to the score.
With 10.48 to play Raiders were down by three goals when Roman Malinik provided the shot for Paul Petts to tip in past Michael Gray to give the Bison a six goal aggregate lead.
Bison continued to hustle as Raiders upped the physicality in the final stages of the game and held on for the shut-out win and to book a place at Coventry in two weeks and before that in the Southern final against the Phantoms in a week.
Basingstoke: Smith 2+0; Malinik, Reynolds 0+2; Petts 1+0; Wilson 0+1. Net: Skinns (60.00) 23/0
Raiders: Net Gray (60.00) 30/3
Period Scores: 0-0/2-0/1-0
Shots On Goal: 30-23
Penalty Minutes: 6-8
Referee: T Pickett. Linesmen: O’Neill & Cook
After the weekend Head Coach Doug Sheppard said; “We’re excited to be playing for southern championship next weekend. This weekend again the guys got job done and especially proud tonight to have secured a shut out despite being short in defence.
“Moving on Peterborough and us were so evenly matched in the league it’ll be a great challenge to win another trophy. Going to Peterborough on Saturday is a tough place to go but we’re on home ice on Sunday with our fans behind us.”