LEAGUE FORMAT CONFIRMED FOR 2019 / 20 SEASON

The clubs and management of the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) held their annual section meetings this past weekend and agreed the format of competitions for the 2019/20 season starting in September.

A new ten team national division, NIHL National, comes into existence to sit above the long-standing Division 1 and 2 which are both regionalised into North and...
Basingstoke Bison - EPL Champions
1st of April 2019

GAME REPORT: Peterborough Phantoms v's Bison Sunday 31st|March 2019

Final Score: Peterborough Phantoms 5 Trane Basingstoke Bison 3

Phantoms win 8 - 5 on aggregate

By Nigel Simmonds

Ref: Belfitt
Lino’s: Kowal & Sitch-Cunningham

MoM Bison: Cowley
MoM Phantoms: McEwan

Phantoms Stats: J Ferrara 1+1, Weldon 1+1, Robson 1+0, Stepenak 1+0, White 1+0, Padelek 0+2, Billing 0+1, McEwan 0+1, Norton 0+1.

Nets: Marr 33/3 (90.91%)

Bison Stats: Bordowski 2+1, Norcliffe 1+0, Harding 0+2, Cowley 0+1, Morris 0+1.

Nets: Mettam 31/4 (87.10%) Empty Net : 0.08 1/1

PiMs: Phantoms 22 Bison 20

Following Saturday evenings narrow one goal defeat on home ice, the Trane Basingstoke Bison travelled up to Peterborough, to face the Phantoms in the 2nd Leg of the Britton Conference Semi Final.

Mr Belfitt dropped the puck for this game and within the first few seconds, Alex Mettam made his first save. Ales Padelek picked up the puck from the face-off and let fly with a shot, but Mettsy gloved and chose to freeze it.

Just 59 secs in and Chris Cooke would be off to the sinbin. Belfitt failing to see Susters, Cross Check Cookie twice, but as soon as Chris retaliated with a punch, his arm went up!! A minor for Roughing, the call, and unfortunately, it would cost the Bison a PP goal against them. A nice passing move started by Padelek, finding James Ferrara at back post and he set up Will Weldon in front to fire past Mettam.

Not the start the guys wanted, but there was still loads of time, to turn it around.

A quick reply was needed by the Bison and at 5.13, they got it. Richard Bordowski & Russ Cowley combining well, Cowley took the shot, which appeared to be a knuckle puck shot, but it floated past Marr and into the net. George Norcliffe was credited the goal, as he managed to get the slightest tip.

At 9.27, Glenn Billing was given a Cross-Check penalty. Marr proved as tough to beat, as he was the previous evening, making two good saves. Phantoms killed the penalty.

But it wouldn't be long before Phantoms would hit penalty trouble again. Whilst play went on, the Bison bench were going crazy.... as they had noticed that both Phantoms imports were on the ice at same time. A Bench minor for Too Many Men was called (11.56). Again, they would kill it off successfully.

Still 1-1 on the night and entering the final few mins of the period, Phantoms struck again (18.17). A loose puck finding its way to Scott Robson on the point and he fired in a speculative shot, which Mettam by his reaction, didn't see and lit the lamp. The goal was unassisted.

Into the last minute now and after another big stop by Marr, Bison Coach Ashley Tait, picked up a Hooking penalty at 19.56, much to his annoyance. The period ended with Phantoms leading 2-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.

As the 2nd period started, Phantoms still had lengthy time on the PP left but Bison would get back to full strength.

It really was a heated, full on battle out there. Challenges going in left, right & centre, some borderline ones, but I don't think Belfitt wanted to get involved too much.

Another quick sortie up ice and Phantoms pretty much killed off the game with another goal (26.14). Padelek skilfully beating the Bison defence, before setting up James Ferrara with a tap in at the back post. It just wasn't what the Bison needed right then. The overall scoreline was now a 3-goal swing. Billing was also given an assist.

There was a coming together between Weldon & Ingoldsby on way back to the bench. Weldon coming off the worst, but no penalty was called. Soon after, Stepenak & Josh Kelly exchanged blows. Stepenak was given Roughing call & Josh received a Holding call (timed at 27.49) Both teams returned to full strength.

Alex Sampford would pick up a 2 + 10 minute 'Check from Behind' penalty (35.34), which was a tad generous, as I don't think Alex hit with intent. Only a few seconds of the penalty had passed, before Phantoms evened up the numbers on the ice, as Weldon was given a Tripping call (35.56). Now both teams at 4-on-4, there was a little more space out there (if that's possible, as it seems such a small playing surface) but Ashley Tait would be set clear on the left wing, he cut inside and rifled a shot which Marr got fully behind. A few seconds more and Bison managed to get a goal back (37.25). Richard Bordowski, who appeared frustrated at times, picked up the puck, stole inside the defender and before you could blink, it was behind Marr. What a release on his shot. Bison returned to full strength and then Phantoms did also.

Now with the game at just a two-goal deficit, Bison needed to just calm down and try and hold out until the end of the period, so they could regroup, ready for the 3rd period. But alas, that wasn't on the Phantoms game plan. James White picking up the puck from Tom Norton and he let rip with an unstoppable shot past Mettam (38.43). The Peterborough fans celebrated that one really loudly and rightly so, it was a lovely shot.

Bison managed to get to the end of the 2nd period and with the scoreline now reading 4-2 (7-4 on Agg), it was going to need one hell of a 3rd period turnaround from the guys to pull this one off.

There was a lot of chatting amongst the travelling Bison fans between the periods, on if/how/could they get it back. As much as we love these guys wearing the Bison logo on their jerseys, I think the overall view was it was a big ask, but as we have seen before this season (do you all recall London at Home, 5-1 down, going into the 3rd?) it wasn't completely impossible.

We were all geared up for the biggest fight back they could muster. It didn't start all that great, when Josh Kelly was called for Hooking (41.51), but Bison saw it off successfully. Then a mix up on defence allowed Nathan Pollard to skate away up ice unchallenged. He made a brief move to his left, but Mettsy had already read it and denied Pollards shot. Living a bit on the edge and knowing that at some stage they might possibly have to take a gamble, Bison carried on setting about reducing the score.

They got a perfect opportunity, when Robbie Ferrara was given an Interference call (46.40). If we could get another goal, it would give the impetuous going forward onto the remaining time. Unfortunately, like Saturday’s game, Marr had the puck deffo on his side. If there was a loose puck or a rebound, it would always fall favourably to one of the Phantoms players and not ours.

Peterborough returned to full strength and we were now down to final 11 minutes. That soon became, 9 minutes, then 7 minutes........ Time was not on our side, but the guys kept plugging away, just trying anything to get another goal on the board. With just over 5 mins to go, we called our Time Out. Lots of talking, pointing, explaining of what they wanted to achieve.

Into the final 5 minutes now and it was really tense all around. That was ever so slightly relieved, when that man, Richard Bordowski scored his second of the game (56.18). Harding & Morris assisting. 2 goals down and plenty of time (well, in hockey terms!) left. "C'mon You Bison" were the travelling fans cries.

Almost immediately, Phantoms got another penalty call against them. Robbie Ferrara the guilty party again, this time it was a more severe 2 + 10 Check from Behind penalty. With Bison already using their Time Out, it was now just a little group huddle before the face-off in Phantoms zone.

Bison needed to win the puck, which they did, but the tight Phantoms PK were not allowing any room for any Bison player to get a clean shot off. The 2 mins went really quick and with Bison unsuccessful, it was all or nothing time.

Into the final minute and with play up the other end, Bison signalled for Mettam to get off. Agonizingly, we lost control of the puck and it came out up ice. McEwan skated onto it and with only 2 Bison players to beat, he fired the puck at the empty net. It was stopped by George Norcliffe, but it fell kindly to Petr Stepenak, who took a step to the left and fired into the empty net (59.21) to hammer that final nail into our coffin to kill off any aspirations of ours on reaching the Coventry Weekend again.

Trust me, had we pulled off this win over Peterborough, we would've been big contenders for repeating last season’s victory in the Final Four Play-Offs.

So, at 60mins played the Final Score was Peterborough Phantoms 5 Basingstoke Bison 3 (8-5 On Agg)

The guys gave it EVERYTHING, week in week out, it's just a shame they couldn't get more reward for all their efforts over the season. We look forward to doing it all again next season, especially with the new League format and new venues (Leeds) to visit!

A big thank you to our roving reporter Nigel for his excellent reports during the course of the season it's very appreciated.