28th of December 2019
GAME REPORT: Bison V's Swindon Wildcats Sunday 26th December 2019Final score: Basingstoke Bison 3-2 Swindon Wildcats (After penalty shots)
Thursday 26th December 2019
Bison MOM: Sean Norris – Wildcats MOM: Chris
Bison stats: Harding 1+0, Klejna 0+1, Morris 0+1, Norris 1+0, Stone 0+1, Tait 0+1.
Netminder: Alex Mettam 30/2 (93.33%)
Wildcats stats: Nell 1+1, VanKleef 0+2, Jones 0+1, Plews 1+0
Netminder: Renny Marr 36/2 (94.44%)
PIM: Bison 4 – Wildcats 8.
SOG: Bison 36 – Wildcats 30.
Refs: Hands and Matthews – Lino’s: Earl and Macphee
Looking for their first win in 5 games, the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison welcomed the Swindon Wildcats to town for a Boxing Day battle, with the Wiltshire side hoping to halt their own losing streak. So far this season, the away side has emerged victorious in each of the two games, therefore the Herd were aiming to end this pattern and return to winning ways. Aside from George Norcliffe, the Bison were at full strength heading into a clash against the Wildcats who were missing multiple skaters including the prolific-Pole Tomasz Malasinski.
With DJ Bavy taking a well-earned break, Mr Mark Denholm filled in and the home crowd were hoping that with a change in DJ, a change in fortune would follow. The Bison were keen to test a short-benched Wildcats squad early on and when Loris Taylor took a Hooking penalty at 5:31, the home side went to work on the powerplay but could not find a way past Renny Marr in net. A further two opportunities on the man advantage would come and go before the Bison scored the first goal of the game, with a goalmouth scramble at 16:31 ending in Adam Harding (Morris, Stone) stuffing the puck home against his former team for a 1-0 lead. Shortly after, goal scorer Harding would be called for Cross Checking but the Wildcats were unable to pounce and this kept the Herd ahead going into the first break.
Young prospect’s Sam Talbot and Bayley Harewood have been showcasing their talents with regularity so far this season, much to the excitement of the Bison faithful, however, it was the turn of another young sensation to shine tonight. Number 69 Sean Norris who made his debut with the Bison last weekend and sent the home crowd delirious in this game at 25:23. Norris (Tait, Klejna) took a stretch pass and broke past the Wildcats defence with speed before sending the puck through Marr on the backhand, putting the Herd 2-0 up with a sublime finish. Despite being short on numbers, the opposition were most certainly not short on spirit and after staving off multiple further attacks by the Bison, eventually scored their first goal of the game at 31:39 when D-man Tyler Plews (VanKleef, Nell) snuck the puck over the line after being left with acres of space, leaving the home side 2-1 ahead with one period to play.
Just as in last Sunday’s game against the MK Lightning, the Bison began the final period with a slender one goal advantage and knowing that failure to extend the lead could ultimately prove costly. When import Richard Bordowski was called for Tripping at 45:21, the Wildcats sent their powerplay unit to work in the hope of equalising but thankfully the Herd held firm. Even though the home side had a larger squad, the away side looked arguably the fresher and more threatening as the third period ticked on. The final two minutes of the game had begun and after taking their timeout, the Wildcats pulled netminder Marr in favour of an extra skater and in a sickening sense of déjà vu, the Herd conceded a late goal yet again. Aaron Nell (VanKleef, Jones) sent the away fans into raptures at 58:54 after a bullet of a shot levelled the scores at 2-2, meaning for the third consecutive game at Planet Ice Basingstoke, we were heading for overtime.
With teams only having 3 skaters plus a netminder on the ice in overtime, it almost always provides heart-stopping action and tonight was no different. The play was end-to-end with both sides having near-perfect opportunities to steal the extra point, Michal Klejna going wide on a breakaway for the Bison and then Chris Jones seeing his shot smartly stopped by Alex Mettam in the Bison goal. Ultimately neither side could break the deadlock, which meant a best-of-3 penalty shoot out would decide the game.
The Wildcats would shoot first with Aaron Nell sending a hard, low shot past Mettam to take the lead before Michal Klejna saw the home side’s first attempt saved by Marr. Loris Taylor stepped up next for the away side but was denied by Mettam, before Bison
Man of the Match Sean Norris sent a laser past Marr to level the scores at 1-1. Import forward Tyler VanKleef volunteered to take the Wildcats’ third shot but saw his effort blocked by Mettam, leaving Adam Harding with the chance to be a hero for the Herd. Harding made his way forward before sniping the puck into the top shelf with an absolute peach to give the home side an epic 3-2 win, as the Bison faithful in the stands celebrated with delight (and relief)!
The Bison are back at home again this Saturday (December 28th) against the Raiders of Romford, before heading to Peterborough for a game against the Phantoms on Sunday 29th December.