25th of December 2019
GAME REPORT: Bison V's MK Lightning Sunday 22nd December 2019Final score: Basingstoke Bison 2-3 Milton Keynes Lightning (after Overtime)
Sunday 22nd December 2019
Bison MOM: Tait – Lightning MOM: Lawday
Bison stats: Bordowski 0+1, Harding 1+0, Klejna 0+1, Norris 1+0, Sampford 0+1, Tait 0+1
Netminder: Alex Mettam 31/3 (90.32%)
Lightning stats: Kana 0+2, Cowley 0+1, Griffin 1+0, Jamieson 0+1, Kovar 0+1, Stewart 1+0, Stokes 1+0, Tanaka 0+1
Netminder: Jordan Lawday 25/2 (92.00%)
PIM: Bison 14 – Lightning 24. SOG: Bison 25 – Lightning 31.
Refs: Brooks and Matthews – Lino’s: MacPhee and Sitch-Cunningham
The Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison took to home ice for the final time before Christmas as they welcomed the Milton Keynes Lightning to Hampshire for the second of two league visits this season. The Herd were looking for instant revenge having lost 5-3 away in Milton Keynes the previous night and were boosted by the return of Alex Sampford this weekend, alongside the exciting young forward Sean Norris who made his home debut for the Herd.
The opening minutes were fast flowing and physical, immediately the game had a sense of the old EPL (English Premier League) days, where the two sides had previously battled for many years. Both netminders were called into action early and despite the hard-hitting nature of the game, the officials were keen to let the game flow and it took until 13:36 for the first penalty of the night to be called, James Griffin of the opposition penalised for Cross-Checking. He was quickly followed by Leigh Jamieson who received a 2+10 penalty for Checking to the Head, however, the Herd were unable to make their opening powerplay opportunity count and despite both sides having decent chances, the score remained 0-0 heading into the first break.
Early in the second period and having just killed off a misconduct penalty on Cale Tanaka, the away side fell into penalty trouble again with Tomas Kana called for Roughing at 21:03 and Jordan Stokes called for Delay of the Game at 22:22. Unlike the 5-on-3 chance in the first period, the Bison took full advantage of this powerplay to go 1-0 up at 22:54 with debut boy Sean Norris (Tait, Klejna) calmly putting home a rebound from in close and wildly celebrating his first Bison goal.
A few minutes later and it was the home side falling foul of the officials with Tom Ralph and Sam Smith both serving time in the penalty box and although the Herd’s PK unit stood strong, the Lightning would manage to equalise at 29:47 through Jordan Stokes (Kana, Tanaka) after neat work by the import Tomas Kana, to the delight of the raucous MKL travelling fans. The Bison would only have to wait four minutes before taking the lead once again as Adam Harding (Sampford, Bordowski) reacted quickly at 33:24 to put home a rebound in close, following a sweeping move behind the net from import Richard Bordowski which forced the save from Lawday in the Lightning net. The home side conceded a couple of penalties late on in the second period but held firm, taking a 2-1 lead into the second break.
A tense final period awaited both sets of fans, with plenty of physical action on show and at 45:08 Liam Morris and James Griffin decided to drop the gloves in an effort to swing momentum in favour of their respective teams. The Herd were searching hard to put the game to bed but found netminder Lawday in inspired form, with the Lightning looking to counter-attack and rescue at least a point for their side.
Cue, Great Britain star Liam Stewart. With the Bison in sight of victory, Stewart (Kovar, Jamieson) stuck a dagger into the hearts of the home fans at 59:29 to level the scores at 2-2, whilst MKL had pulled goalie Jordan Lawday for the extra skater, by pinching in and connecting with a pass from behind the net.
The final few seconds counted down and once again, the Bison were heading into Overtime.
Unfortunately for the home faithful, last weekend’s heartbreaking loss in the ‘away game’ to Leeds Chiefs would repeat itself, as James Griffin (Cowley, Kana) ghosted past his man inside the offensive zone and skated in unopposed to neatly tuck home the puck at 61:29 to the delight of the ecstatic travelling supporters, giving the Milton Keynes Lightning a 3-2 win and leaving the home fans in shock.
Despite another loss, the weekend appeared to be a vast improvement on the previous one and kept the Bison in the top half of the table heading into Christmas.
Next up for the Herd are home games on Thursday 26th and Saturday 28th December, against the Swindon Wildcats and Raiders IHC respectively.
Until then, Merry Christmas everyone :)