30th of October 2019
WEEKEND PREVIEW: Lightning & Phantoms Up Next for BisonIt’s back to a 2 game NIHL National League weekend for the Trane Basingstoke Bison, with a visit from the Milton Keynes Lightning and a road trip to Peterborough.
Saturday’s game which has a 6.30pm face off, sees MKL make their first trip to Basingstoke since the 2016/17 season following their EIHL sabbatical. Head coach Lewis Clifford’s roster includes former Bison favourites Russell ‘Doc’ Cowley, and Dean Skinns who is providing net minding injury cover for Jordan Lawday.
A number of the 2018/19 MK Thunder team made the step up this season with Clifford, the most notable of these is the long serving Ross Bowers. Bowers suffered an horrific injury last season and originally took on the role of assistant coach for the Lightning this season, but has recently returned to the ice to help cover a mounting injury list.
Leading the goal scoring is Rio Grinell-Parke with 8, closely followed on 7 by Czech import Tomas Kana who had a brief spell with Swindon during the 14/15 season. Filling the 2nd import slot is 28 year old Ari Närhi, who is playing outside of his native Finland for the first time.
Lightning have racked up 288 PIM’s in 11 games, Harry Ferguson leading the way with 59 minutes.
Sunday’s game which has a 5.30pm face off, will see the Bison and Phantoms meeting for the 5th time this season, both teams winning their home league game. The Herd will certainly be looking to improve on their recent record in the Bretton rink.
Head coach Slava Koulikov retained almost all of last seasons roster, and much like the Bison they have a number of highly promising young Brits as part of that roster, including Jarvis Hunt,Bradley Bowering and Ross Clarke, all aged just 17.
Phantoms currently sit in 3rd spot on 15 points, with 7 wins from 12 games and one OT loss. Imports Ales Padelek and Petr Stepanek are their leading scorers with 7 each, Will Weldon heads the PIM’s column with 30.
Peterborough have the joint tightest defence in the league, along with Swindon, much of this is down to net minder Jordan Marr and the experienced pair of Tom Norton and Robert Ferrera, who together form the backbone of a well drilled defence.