As exclusively revealed this morning in the Basingstoke Gazette, the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison are pleased to announce the return of British forward Sam Talbot for the 2020/21 season.

Having originally signed for the Herd last season on a 2-way contract while playing for the Slough Jets in NIHL 1, Talbot joined the Bison full time in January this year. In...
23rd of December 2019

GAME REPORT: MK Lightning V's Bison Saturday 21st December 2019

Final Score: MK Lightning 5 Trane Basingstoke Bison 3

MoM Lightning: Skinns
MoM Bison : Mettam

Refs : Ms Cuglietta and Mr Matthews
Lino's : Mr Kowal and Ms Lack

Lightning Stats : Cowley 2+1, Stewart 2+1, Kovar 1+0, Kana 0+2, Grinnell-Parke 0+1, Jamieson 0+1, McPherson 0+1, Tanaka 0+1.

Nets : Skinns 31/3 (90.32%)

Bison Stats : Tait 2+1, Klejna 1+1, Harding 0+1, Jones 0+1.

Nets : Mettam 30/5 (83.33%)

PiMs : Lightning 22 Bison 20
SoG : Lightning 30 Bison 31

Hoping to put last weekend’s poor results behind us, the Trane Basingstoke Bison travelled to Milton Keynes, to face a resurgent Lightning team. When we faced them in Basingstoke earlier in the season, we snatched an OT win, but it was against a very depleted MK team ravaged by injury.
They now have all their key players back and have recently, also added to their firepower, by getting the talented Liam Stewart to sign on the dotted line. For Bison, it was really good to see Sean Norris finally don a Bison jersey, after recovering from the horrific injury he suffered earlier in the season whilst with Slough Jets. He's now a full-time Bison player, since leaving Jets last week.

Mr Matthews was on hand to drop the puck for the start of the game and it was a very fast and furious paced opening few minutes, with ex-Bison favourite Dean Skinns definitely being the busier of the netties, Deano being called upon to make big early saves, from Tait, Ralph and Norris. Bison would take the first penalty of the game, when Adam Harding was called for Slashing (6.54). The Lightning PP unit came out and set about opening the scoring, which they did at 7.30. Kana and Jamieson both combining, to find Stewart to the left of Mettam and he wristed a shot past Mettsy for 1-nil.

Bison had a PP chance at 9.31, when Harry Ferguson was given a Roughing call. Unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage and MK killed the penalty. However, on the 12 min mark, Bison equalised from a face-off won by Michal Klejna and Ashley Tait snapped home an unstoppable shot past Skinns, from the top of the circle.

Lightning weren't behind for long, 39secs to be exact. Cale Tanaka creating a space for Russ Cowley and he skated in and slotted the puck past Mettam. A few minutes later, it would get worse for the Bison and their big number of travelling fans, when Robin Kovar finished a move involving Stewart and Cowley (15.07).

Then Miss Cuglietta decided that she couldn't see a clear slewfoot incident, which happened right in front of her, but she could see an offence, over 100 feet away, when she called an Elbows penalty on Klejna. I was made aware of a stat regarding Cuglietta.... apparently, we have NEVER won a game that she has officiated us. I can totally understand why!! Thankfully Bison killed the penalty successfully and returned to full strength. That's how the period ended and at the first break, MK lead 3-1.

Going into the 2nd period and Bison would suffer an early penalty call (20.34). Adam Jones being assessed a Roughing call, Richard Bordowski had been taken out by a low hit, Matthew’s hand went up, so we thought MK had got a penalty. However, Bordo reacted and squared up to the MK player, Jonesy then waded in to help out and somehow, he was the only player to get a penalty, which I don't understand, because the ref’s hand was already up before Jones stepped in. I think in all the melee afterwards, Matthew’s had forgotten what he'd called and just penalised Adam!

The Bison PK unit came out and were soon taking advantage of a turnover by MK. Tait raced away, with Klejna to his left and only one Lightning player in front of them. Liam Stewart made up a lot of ground on Ash and just as he was about to shoot, Stewart appeared to hook Tait and the puck became loose. It appeared to create a little havoc in the MK defence, as Klej skated around the back of the net, picked up the puck and had enough time to make his way back in front of net and backhand the puck past Skinns, who was laying prone on the ice, that didn't matter one jot to the big number of travelling Bison fans, who celebrated the shorthanded goal (20.58). Tait collecting an assist.

Then a minute later, Klej would get himself in trouble. He reacted badly to another of Cuglietta's strange calls (2 mins Hooking) and because he fired the puck away in anger, also picked up a 10 min Abuse of Official misconduct penalty. Thankfully, Bison saw off the penalty and returned to full strength, once the penalty had expired.

I have to say it was a good competitive game, but occasionally, there would be a late hit or a sure penalty, that didn't get called, so it just added to the intensity of the game.

With Bison trailing by just one goal now and our promising youngsters.... Talbot, Norris and Harewood all creating chances for themselves or teammates, we were still looking good going forward, it was just the final execution that let us down at times.

At 30.58, Jordan Stokes picked up a Roughing call and Bison were back on the PP. We passed the puck around trying to create a good shooting lane. Harding passed to Jones, who fed Tait on the point and he let a shot go on net and it found its target...... the back of the net!! Goal timed at 31.11.

We were all square again and looking comfortable, but as sometimes happens in hockey, you score and then the opponents come back and sucker punch you, by replying straight away. Cowley winning a face-off in our zone, Kana getting a shot off, which Mettam saved, but gave up a rebound and Russ Cowley was quickest to react, skated in and coolly slotted the puck under Mettsys pads to give MK the slender one goal lead again (31.57).

At 32.29, I must've missed the offence, but Tanaka was given a Delay of Game penalty. Matthews signalled that it was Puck Over the Glass, but he was in our zone at the time, so I really don't know where that came from. MK killed the penalty, so it didn't matter. Soon as one penalty ended another was called. This time Jamieson (Tripping) being penalised for hauling down Klejna (34.33), much to his disapproval, of course! Again, the Bison PP units came out and tried to breach the MK net, but unfortunately to no avail.

The remaining couple of minutes ran down and at the end of 2nd Period, it was MK 4 Bison 3, with all to play for in the 3rd.

The 3td period started and it would be another strange call that would be called first. Grant McPherson cross checked a Bison player behind the goal, Cuglietta's arm went up and when the puck was touched, play stopped. After a few moments, Logan Prince was led to the box and given a 2 + 10 Boarding call (43.02). Now, baffled is an understatement, to be honest. It was definitely McPherson that committed the offence and it was a Cross Check call at best. I really do wonder if we were at the same game! Lightning killed the penalty and returned to full strength.

Jay King was next to take a penalty. A Tripping call (45.38), but like MK, Bison killed it off successfully. Then, James Griffin was called for Kneeing (47.46), when he felled Michal Klejna. It looked worrying for a few moments, as Klej took a while to get back to his feet. But eventually he did, much to our relief. Lightning again were successful in killing the penalty. As the period went on, you felt it was anybody's game and the next goal, if there was one, would be very important.

The minutes went by and both teams were still creating chances, but both netties were keeping their teams in the game. 7 mins became, 6, then 5, then 4 and still no goal to cheer. Into the final 2 minutes and it was now on Bison fans’ mind, if and when would Bison risk swapping Mettam for an extra attacker....

Unfortunately, it didn't matter in the end. MK created a chance that would kill off any hopes of Bison getting the result they wanted. McPherson created a chance with a rink wide pass, which Stewart picked up, managed to escape past the last Bison d-man and skated in alone, he out deked Mettsy and scored 5-hole, much to his and the Lightning fans delight, including one very special fan, Liam's Dad, rock star Rod Stewart, who was in attendance. Goal timed at 58.20. Rio Grinnell-Parke also awarded an assist.

The final moments ran down, with the MK Lightning fans pretty much counting down every second to the buzzer.

It was a good performance by the Bison, who will probably think they deserved much more from the game, but you must take your chances when they offer themselves, especially on the powerplay. Anyways, it was a great atmosphere in there, created by both sets of fans, Well done one and all. At least we don't have long to gain revenge, as it's the Bison will entertain the Lightning and their fans in our barn tonight.

My co-media colleague Matthew Church, will provide all his musings from that game, so keep an eye out on the website for that.

I know I did it last week, but I want to again just take this opportunity, to wish EVERYONE connected to the Bison (Ash, Tosh, all the players, Management and all the fans) a very Merry Christmas and here's to a very hopeful 2020, with whatever that brings to us....... oh, hopefully, a new rink, fingers crossed !!