WEEKEND PREVIEW: BIG WEEKEND FOR THE HERD AS THE RACE FOR PLAY OFF PLACES HOTS UP

This weekends NIHL National league action sees the Trane Basingstoke Bison at home to Leeds Chiefs on Saturday, and away to MK Lightning on Sunday.

Saturday’s game at the Silverdome which has a 6.30pm face off, will be the Chiefs 3rd appearance in Basingstoke this season, but only their 2nd as the visiting side.

Leeds recent form shows excellent home wins...
8th of December 2019

GAME REPORT: Bison V's Steeldogs Saturday 7th Decemberember 2019

Final score: Basingstoke Bison 1-2 Sheffield Steeldogs (after Overtime)

Saturday 7th December 2019

Bison MOM: Sutton
Steeldogs MOM: Warburton

Bison stats: King 0+1, Petts 0+1, Sutton 1+0.

Netminder: Alex Mettam 28/2 (92.86%)

Steeldogs stats: Bell 0+1, Danecek 1+0, Graham 1+0, Luka 0+1, Morgan 0+1, Smith 0+1.

Netminder: Curtis Warburton 48/1 (97.92%)

PIM: Bison 16 – Steeldogs 47. SOG: Bison 48 – Steeldogs 28.

Refs: Jarvie and Rose
Lino’s: Lalonde and MacPhee

Our first home game of December saw a South versus North battle as the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison took on the Sheffield Steeldogs, making their way down from Yorkshire to Hampshire for the first time this season. The Herd were full of confidence after a four-point weekend last time out which saw them win away in Swindon before a 6-3 victory at home against the Raiders. Richard Bordowski and George Norcliffe were still not ready to return to the line up, with Bayley Harewood also joining them on the sidelines.

An early Tripping penalty against Tim Smith of the Steeldogs saw the Bison head to the powerplay at 3:12 but the home side were unable to convert and just as the penalty was expiring, Bison import Marek Malinsky took a Tripping penalty himself at 5:07 which handed the visitors a powerplay opportunity of their own. At 6:49 the away side took full advantage by scoring the first goal of the game as import Jan Danecek (Smith, Bell) slipped through the Bison defence before sending a low shot past Mettam in goal.

Thankfully for the Bison, their response would be rapid as they managed to tie the game at 1-1 before DJ Bavy had finished announcing the opening goal of the night. Smart play by the Bison from the restart saw Ryan Sutton (King, Petts) sent forwards on a breakaway and he effortlessly dispatched the puck past Warburton in the Dogs’ net, a mere 16 seconds after the Herd had fallen behind. A mixture of penalties would fill the rest of the period but neither side managed to create any clear scoring chances, leaving the team’s deadlocked heading into the break.

The opening minutes of the second period saw plenty of end to end action with both net minders making smart saves to keep the score at 1-1, Warburton in particular being kept extremely busy. An incident involving Sutton and Jordan Griffin set off a chain of events which would add extra spice to the rest of the affair as Griffin took exception to Ryan poking at the puck after a save and earned himself a 5+game penalty for Checking to the Head, whilst Sutton himself received a 2 minute Slashing penalty. The Dogs valiantly killed off the subsequent three minute powerplay and saw decent chances from imports Luka and Danecek stopped by Mettam in the Bison net. A physical game had turned noticeably chippy, both sides evenly matched and not willing to give an inch, therefore meaning that the game remained level at 1-1 heading into the second period break.

Early in the third period and the Bison saw their PK (penalty kill) unit given a stern workout as Sam Smith was called for Hooking at 41.11, followed by Adam Jones on a Roughing call at 42:48 after stepping in to defend Ashley Tait following a clumsy hit by Craig Elliott, but somehow the home side emerged unscathed. The fans inside the arena had realised the game wasn’t going to be a goal-fest and that with the Bison struggling to convert possession into results, the next goal could prove crucial. At 53:42 Adam Jones was found guilty of Holding and therefore sent to the box for 2 minutes, allowing the Dogs to lay siege to the Bison net with chance after chance. Somehow, Mettam and the Bison PK unit held their ground and kept the scoreboard level. The final minutes ticked down and as the third period ended, each side had guaranteed themselves at least one point heading into Overtime.

The Bison started brightest in the Overtime period and saw multiple chances saved by the impressive Curtis Warburton, including shots from Harding and Klejna. Marek Malinsky, who had made himself a fan favourite in his short but successful spell with the Herd as injury cover, also went close as the home side looked most likely to score until Ashley Tait was called for Tripping at 61:13. This saw the visitors with a 4-on-3 advantage and they immediately set about stretching the Bison apart in search of a winner, with Mettam and the defence desperately scrambling to keep the puck out. Disaster would unfortunately strike at 62:19 when young Steeldogs star Alex Graham (Morgan, Luka) saw his effort down low sneak past Mettam at his near post for the powerplay winner and his teammates poured onto the ice in celebration, leaving the Bison with a solitary point for their night’s hard work.

On Sunday the Herd travelled to Romford to take on divisional rivals the Raiders IHC, where my esteemed colleague Nigel Simmonds will be reporting back from this game, fingers crossed with good news.