29th of September 2019
GAME REPORT: Bison V's Bracknell Bees Saturday 28th September 2019Final Score: Basingstoke Bison 4-2 Bracknell Bees
By Matthew Church
Saturday 28th September
Bison MOM: Ryan Sutton
Bees MOM: Ryan Webb
Bison stats: Tait 2+1, Wilson 0+2, Bordowski 1+0, Norcliffe 1+0, Dewey 0+1, Harding 0+1, Jones 0+1, King 0+1, Sampford 0+1.
Netminder: Mettam 15/2 (86.87%)
Bees stats: Malinik 2+0, Knaggs 0+1, Martin 0+1, Smith 0+1.
Netminder: Goss 33/4 (87.88%)
PIM's: Bison 10 – Bees 8
In a game that many Bison fans would have looked for immediately on 'fixture release day', your Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison faced the Bracknell Bees for the first time this season. A long term rivalry has been reignited over the past 12 to 18 months, against a Bees team which features multiple ex-Bison players including Stuart Mogg, Roman Malinik and Josef Baird, as well as Head Coach Doug Sheppard.
Last season's head-to-head record was 5-1 in favour of the Bison, and a raucous crowd inside Planet Ice Basingstoke were buzzing (pun fully intended) for the opening 'M3 derby' of the 2019/2020 season. In charge of tonight's game were Referee's Hands & Hamilton, assisted by Lino's Sitch-Cunningham and MacPhee, with the new four-official system being used at every game across the NIHL National League season. With Alex Mettam again starting in net for the Herd, young British netminder Adam Goss between the pipes for the Bees, and DJ Bavy on his best behaviour, the battle commenced.
Both teams were impressively well behaved in the opening few minutes and the play was end-to-end, with each side having a couple of half-chances on goal. However, the Bison had looked more threatening and at 5:47 they translated this into a 1-0 lead through Ashley Tait (Wilson, King). Tait drove across the blue line and stepped past the D-man, before sending a laser finish past Goss to the delight of the home crowd.
Quite remarkably it took until 12:12 for the first penalty to be called, Joe Baird of the opposition receiving 2 minutes for Cross Checking. The Bison were unable to convert on their opening powerplay, but Zack Milton soon handed them a second chance, taking a 2 minute Late Hit penalty at 16:05 and the Bison took full advantage through George Norcliffe (Jones, Tait) at 16:56 for 2-0. Adam Jones’ powerful shot was stopped by Goss, but it sat almost directly underneath him and Norcliffe managed to poke the puck in. Jay King took the Herd’s opening penalty of the night, 2 minutes for Hooking at 17:41, but the Bison were able to successfully kill if off and take a well-deserved 2-0 lead into the first period break.
Into the second period and despite being on the bench, netminder Dan Weller-Evans produced the save of the game so far at 22:47, catching an errant puck that had deflected out of play along the benches, and the crowd duly began chanting his name. At 28:18 Roman Malinik (Smith) scored the Bees’ opening goal of the game, controlling a bobbling puck and roofing it behind Mettam. Bracknell had only travelled with a squad of 15 in total but refused to give up without a fight and three minutes later, they levelled the game on the powerplay at 2-2. Ryan Sutton was called for Interference at 30:32, and import forward Malinik (Knaggs, Martin) scored his second goal of the game with a bullet from the blue line at 31:19.
Entering a crucial phase of the game, the Bison needed to re-establish their early dominance by scoring the next goal, and at 33:03 Richard Bordowski (Sampford, Harding) was happy to oblige. Alex Sampford skated into the offensive zone with speed and wrapped around the goal before shooting at Goss who made the save but the puck sat kindly for Bordowski to tap in, putting the Bison 3-2 ahead. Jay King took his second Hooking penalty of the night at 36:22, which was successfully killed off by the Bison as they took a 3-2 lead into the second period break.
As the final period began, Bison fans were hoping the well known mantra of ‘Herd in the Third’ would carry their team towards two points and at 45:23 their prayers were answered in emphatic style by Ashley Tait (Dewey, Wilson). Player/Coach Tait, aka ‘Tait The Great’, skated across the blue line with the puck and toe-dragged beautifully around the Bees D-man, before sending a gorgeous wrist shot into the net, leaving Adam Goss with no chance to save it. Whilst it wasn’t the game winner, it was unquestionably the goal of the night and the home fans stood to applaud its brilliance.
A handful of penalties then followed with Zack Milton being called for Delay of the Game at 46:35 and Adam Jones receiving an Interference penalty a minute later, but both were killed off without much trouble. The Bees then called a time-out at 51:40 when Bison forward Hallam Wilson was called for Tripping, but thankfully the Bison held firm. Zack Milton took a tripping penalty at 56:59 which passed without the Bison adding a fifth goal, and as the game entered the final 30 seconds, Bees pulled netminder Goss in favour of an extra attacker but to no avail. The final buzzer sounded and the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison took the 4-2 victory and 2 hugely satisfying points, much to the delight of the home crowd.
On Sunday 29th September, the Bison travelled to Peterborough to face the Phantoms, the game report from our man at the game Nigel Simmonds will be with us shortly ...