Slovakian overseas player Michal Klejna returns for a second season in the Herd uniform as exclusively revealed earlier today in the Basingstoke Gazette.

Klejna completes the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison overseas roster for the 2019 / 20 season and will once again ice alongside Richard Bordowski as our two overseas players.

31 year old, 6’1” tall Michal...
Basingstoke Bison - EPL Champions
16th of December 2018

GAME REPORT: Bison V's Peterborough Phantoms Saturday 15th December

Final Score: Trane Basingstoke Bison 4 Peterborough Phantoms 3 (APS)

Ref: Matthews
Lino’s: Eliasson & Sitch-Cunningham

MoM Phantoms: Susters
MoM Bison: Sampford

Bison Stats: Cowley 1+0, Norcliffe 1+0, Sampford 1+0, Evans 0+1, Klejna 0+1, Tait 0+1, Wilson 0+1

Nets: Mettam 23/3 (86.96%)

Phantoms Stats: Pollard 1+0, Stepanek 1+0, Whyte 1+0, Norton 0+2, Susters 0+2, R. Ferrara 0+1, McEwan 0+1

Nets: Marr 33/4 (87.88%)

On a dismal Winters evening (weather wise!), the Bison entertained the newly crowned Autumn Trophy Winners & current NIHL S1 League leaders, the Peterborough Phantoms into town, for which would turn out to be another game to remember, for the proud, loud & loyal Bison fans.

Mr Matthews dropped the puck and it was the Bison that were quick off the mark, almost scoring on their first attack from Michal Klejna. Soon after, Alex Sampford went close and it all looked very promising, but that would soon change. Phantoms went up the other end and scored against the run of play. Martins Susters getting behind the Bison defence and getting a shot off, Alex Mettam saved, but James Whyte was on hand, to fire home the rebound. Time of the goal was 1.30. Tom Norton also collecting an assist.

Bison then got an early penalty, when Paul Petts was given a Tripping penalty at 3.07. It didn't appear to matter, because Bison almost scored shorthanded, with Jordan Marr saving well from Russ Cowley on a 2-on-1. But just like before, Phantoms went up the other end and scored on the powerplay, Petr Stepanek unleashing an unstoppable shot from close range at 3.50. McEwan & Susters with the assists. Think Mettam may have been screened, but it was a vicious shot.

This prompted the Bison bench to call their Time Out, so early in the game, but it needed to be done. Phantoms were cruising and the game was only just over 3 minutes old.

After the small break, Bison created some good scoring chances. Norcliffe, Sampford, Cowley again & Wilson all went close, but Marr was in no mood to concede, turning away chance after chance. Then it was Alex Mettam to come up with a couple of big saves, firstly from Ales Padelek, then at 14.43 Tom Norton was called for Interference. From the resulting powerplay, Bison almost gifted Phantoms another goal. Tommy Ralph poorly turning the puck over at the point, allowing Weldon to skate away up the ice all alone. He tried to go backhand on Mettam, but Alex denied him.

Entering the final minute of the period & Bison's Michal Klejna flipped the puck over the glass, for a Delay of Game penalty at 19.41.

The remaining seconds on the clock ran down and the period ended 2-0 to the visitors. Phantoms players were heard to have said, "Well, that was easy" and they were quite right, it was, despite the home team outshooting the opposition 15-10.

Phantoms started the 2nd period still on the Powerplay, with 1.42 remaining on the Klejna minor penalty. Bison returned to full strength after killing it off.

Bison youngster Oscar Evans, was getting some shifts and almost got some reward, when he had a good shot on goal, but again Marr was not allowing anything by him.

Phantoms import Stepanek, was called for Holding the Stick at 30.24, but Bison wouldn't take advantage, as Adam Jones was called for Tripping at 31.18. From the resulting 4-on-4, another poor turnover allowed Phantoms a scoring chance. Mettam saved but was a little slow getting back to his feet. After a little attention, thankfully he was back up & ready to go again. Both teams killing their respected penalties and both teams returned to full strength.

At 35.39 Phantoms took full advantage of a poor Bison line change. Nathan Pollard, who had seconds earlier had an altercation with Bison's Josh Kelly (that went uncalled), wheeled away up ice on a 3 & 0. He didn't need any help though, as he buried his shot past Mettam to increase Phantoms stranglehold on the Bison. Norton & Robbie Ferrara assisting on the goal. The remaining time elapsed and the scoreline at end 2nd read, Bison 0 Phantoms 3.
It was so frustrating to watch Bison creating many goal scoring chances, but allowing the opposition to run away with the scoreline, that didn't really reflect how it should've been.

Just before the 3rd period started, I had commented on social media that we needed another "Herd in the 3rd" showing from the guys. Over the last few seasons, we have come to live by this saying, because of the way the team never appears to know when they're beaten. They somehow dig so deep, to pull off incredible feats of comebacks, never imagined by the Bison faithful. So, could they do it again?

Somehow, even at 3-nil down you just felt, if Bison could just get the next goal, who knows what could happen. But to be fair, the way Marr was playing, it didn't look great for them. He is definitely one of the main reasons, Phantoms sit atop of the league.

A few minutes into the period, he would break Bison fans hearts again, with another great save from Russ Cowley, after a good move involving Ashley Tait & Richard Bordowski. It looked like Coach Tait had shuffled his lines, just trying anything different, to create more scoring chances. Entering the last 10 minutes and Phantoms looked like they were happy to just run the clock down and walk away with the 2pts and however hard they tried, Bison just couldn't break Marr's shut-out.

But then, like anyone knows, you never mention the 'S' word, because almost instantly, Bison finally lit the lamp. At 53.15, Michal Klejna & Oscar Evans combined well, Klejna shot the puck, which hit Alex Sampford in front of Marr, no matter though, because in one quick motion, he swivelled and fired the puck between Marr's pads to score.

Bison had finally got on the board.

Would this spur them on or was it just a consolation goal?

There's another saying about Buses......... in which you wait for ages & then two come along together..... Well, just 49 secs later, Bison scored again. This time it was George Norcliffe who scored. Hallam Wilson managed to get by Calum Buglass on the right wing, before getting a good shot off, with the puck dropping just to the side of the crease. Marr dived out to try to cover the puck, but Norcliffe was on hand to take it away and with his back to the goal, managed to somehow fire the puck back in and into the goal to really fire up the team & crowd alike. This prompted Phantoms to call their Time Out, as they looked completely rattled.

One thing was for sure, it was going to be a tense final few minutes and that would be increased even more, by Phantoms taking a penalty in the final 2mins. James Ferrara called for Tripping at 58.13. So, it was all or nothing for the Bison.

They just needed to get the puck in the Phantoms zone, so they could allow Mettam to get to the bench for the 2-man advantage. They did this and now it was just a case of moving the puck around and getting good shots on net. Ashley Tait standing on the point received the puck and let rip, Russ Cowley, standing in front of net, got a tip and the puck bulged the net. The place erupted again. Somehow, from looking like a defeat, the guys had managed to tie the scores. It was a powerplay goal, timed at 59.11.

The final seconds run down and it was 5mins sudden overtime to follow.

The teams started OT, with Tait, Cowley & Jones for Bison and Stepanek, Weldon & R. Ferrara for Peterborough. Like previous games in overtime, with all that extra space out there, teams tentatively move the puck around, trying not to make and mistake and turn the puck over, that could lead to a game ending goal. Marr would be called upon to make a big save from Sampford & then the other way, Mettam would deny J. Ferrara. OT ended all square still, so it was going to a shoot-out to decide the extra point.

Bison shoot first, this is how they went:

Bas - Bordowski.......... SAVED
Pet - Stepanek.......... SAVED
Bas - Klejna.......... GOAL
Pet - Padelek.......... MISSES
Bas - Tait.......... GOAL

The Comeback Kings did it again!!

I still have no idea how they did that, but as fans, we can't ask any more of the guys, than giving everything & NEVER giving up!