In light of the decision that our landlords Planet Ice have taken with regards to the 2020 / 21 season and league play not commencing until at the earliest 1st January 2021, as club we support and respect their decision whole heartedly and confer that in this ever changing landscape we must take every step possible to ensure that the safety of all is paramount be it...
2nd of January 2020

GAME REPORT: Swindon Wildcats V's Bison Wednesday 1st January 2020

Final Score: Swindon Wildcats 3 Trane Basingstoke Bison 4 (After Pen Shots)

MoM Wildcats: Bebris
MoM Bison: Talbot

Refs: Jarvie & Matthews
Lino's: MacPhee & Ormond

Wildcats Stats: Bebris 2+0, Nell 1+0, C Jones 0+2, Bullas 0+1, Godfrey 0+1.

Nets: Marr 36/3 (91.67%)

Bison Stats: Harding 1+0, Jones 1+0, Klejna 1+0, Mettam 0+1, Norris 0+1, Sutton 0+1.

Nets: Mettam 34/3 (91.18%)

PiMs: Wildcats 20 Bison 7
SoG: Wildcats 34 Bison 36

Firstly, I'd like to take this opportunity, to wish everyone connected to the Bison, a very Happy & Prosperous New Year !

The Trane Basingstoke Bison saw in the New Year on the road, with a short trip to Wiltshire, to face the Swindon Wildcats. Wildcats were still minus top import Tomas Malasinski, whilst Bison were still missing George Norcliffe & Oscar Evans and they were joined by Bayley Harewood & Sam Smith.

Mr Jarvie & Mr Matthews were the chosen pair for this game.

Swindon started the stronger and Alex Mettam was tested within the first minute. Wildcats would take full advantage of a couple of Bison defensive errors. Chris Jones intercepted a cross ice pass by Ralph & set up Bebris, who beat Mettam, to opening the scoring (3.58). A few seconds later, Swindon's Neil Liddiard picked up a Tripping call (4.21). From the resulting powerplay, Bison coughed up the puck and Godfrey & Jones combined to set Bebris free up ice. He skated in all alone and despatched the puck past Mettsy, for a short-handed goal (5.54).

It was definitely not the start, the Bison and the large amount of travelling fans were expecting. Thankfully, we managed to stop the onslaught and just get back to playing the puck around. Both netties were called into action, but they kept all the shots out.
Michal Klejna picked up a Slashing penalty (17.11), but Bison would kill the penalty & Klej returned to the ice, where he & Sean Norris combined to get the Bison on the board (19.30). Norris passed to Klejna and he evaded the Wildcats d-man and slotted the puck through Marr's five hole, to send the Bison fans into raptures. It was the perfect time to score, especially as Wildcats had bossed the Bison for most of the opening period.

The 2nd period started, and it would be Wildcats that picked up an early penalty. Bebris got a Holding call (21.56), as he held onto a Bison player a little too long on the boards. Just as this penalty was coming to an end, VanKleef ploughed into Norris on the boards, leaving Sean bloodied. Neither of the officials signalled a penalty, but as the play stopped because of the injury to Norris, the refs & linos all huddled together and decided to hand VanKleef a 2 + 10 Check to Head penalty (23.41). It gave Bison a 15sec 2-man advantage, but Bebris's penalty soon elapsed and he returned to the ice. With Bison still on the powerplay, the puck found its way to Adam Jones on the point, where he found a good shooting lane and wristed an unstoppable shot past Marr to level the score (25.33), Ryan Sutton picking up the only assist.

The Bison would take the next penalty, when Alex Sampford was given a Tripping call (30.49). The Wildcats PP unit came onto the ice, spearheaded by Aaron Nell. Their slick passing had the Bison PK unit toing & froing from side to side. Finally, Sam Bullas picked out Nell by the face-off circle and he unleashed an absolute rocket, that flew past Mettam into the net (32.15).

A minute later, Wildcats Tyler Plews picked up a Cross-Checking penalty (33.34), but Swindon were successful in killing it. The rest of the period went by without any incidents or penalties and at the second interval, the score line was 3-2 in Wildcats favour.

The 3rd period started and to be fair it was anybody's game. Swindon without Malasinski are quite ordinary and with the Bison still creating chances, the next goal would probably decide which way this game was going to go.

Wildcats Neil Liddiard picked up his second penalty of the afternoon, when he was given a Holding call (45.23), meaning Bison had an early chance to get back into the game.
A couple of shifts went by, but the Bison couldn't create a good scoring chance. Then, Adam Harding jumped back onto the ice, skated behind the Bison net to pick up the puck. He set off up ice, beating one, then two, then a third Wildcats player, before letting rip with a blistering slapshot, that beat Marr over his glove hand before rippling the net. Alex Mettam picking up a deserved assist on the powerplay goal (47.15).

A minute later (48.15) and Bison's Ollie Stone was called for Slashing, which left Stone a little bemused by the call, as he didn't appear to have been guilty. Thankfully, it wouldn't cost the Bison and they returned to full strength.

Entering the final 10 minutes and with both teams still trying to create that all important chance, that would give them the go-ahead goal. Both netties were seeing a bit more rubber, but it would be Mettam that came up big with a couple of beautiful saves, keeping out Bebris & Birbraer respectively. The final 2 minutes ran down and as the buzzer sounded for the end of the period, we were heading for another period of overtime, our 4th in our last 5 games!!
Obviously, it is a well-earned point for us & had it been offered to us it at the start of the game, Iím pretty sure we would've taken it.

As overtime started, Bison sent out Harding, Bordowski & Jones, to try and find a quick winner. Both teams play it a bit cagey in OT, which is understandable. Klejna, Norris & Morris were the 2nd threesome to hit the ice for the Bison. Klejna almost won it, but he saw his effort come back off the bar, with Marr beaten. Then a chance for Wildcats to win it. Birbraer was set free up ice and as he skated in alone, it looked like he would get a shot away, but then from nowhere, Adam Jones managed to get enough of his stick on the puck and the chance was gone. Obviously, Swindon fans weren't happy and they appealed for a penalty shot, but both officials arms stayed down and that's how the extra period ended.

Still all level after 65 mins, that only meant one thing, the ominous and dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Up first for the Wildcats was Chris Jones. He skated in, switching the puck from forehand to backhand, then he went for deke that would get Mettsy out of position, but Alex read it well and he stopped Jones from stuffing the puck in. SAVE!

First up for Bison, the reliable Michal Klejna. He set off up ice and as he closed in on Marr, got his shot off, which beat Marr gloveside. GOAL!

Next up for Swindon was Tyler VanKleef. He, like Jones before him, came in and tried to get Mettsy to move first. Again, Alex was quick to react and denied VanKleef with his pad. SAVE!

Up next for Bison was Sean Norris. Showing no ill effect from his earlier incident, he skated in, picked his spot and fired the puck through Marr's pads to win the game for the Bison. All his teammates fled the bench to meet him at centre ice and the travelling Bison fans made themselves heard, with whooping & hollering at their teams great result against Swindon.

It certainly was a great way to get the New Year of to a start. 2 points on the road and against a very offensively minded Wildcats team.

We now have a couple of days wait before the next game. A home match up against Peterborough Phantoms. I know Bison will be anxious to get another victory and of course, get quick revenge for the 5-2 loss that suffered last Sunday.

My young Media padawan Matthew Church, who has been impressing with his reports, will provide his report of all the incidents that may occur in the game and knowing how these teams usually fair, it might be a longer report than normal !!

Look forward to seeing you all on Saturday in Bisonland !!