3rd of February 2020
GAME REPORT: BISON V's Raiders Saturday 1st February 2020Final score: Basingstoke Bison 4-3 Raiders IHC (after Overtime)
Saturday 1st February 2020
Bison MOM: Ashley Tait – Raiders MOM: Ethan James
Bison stats: Tait 2+2, Bordowski 1+1, Harding 0+1, Jones 0+1, King 1+0, Morris 0+1, Norcliffe 0+1, Sutton 0+1
Netminder: Alex Mettam 32/3 (90.63%)
Raiders stats: Ayliffe 3+0, A.Connolly 0+1, Lascenko 0+1, Piatak 0+1, Pitchley 0+1
Netminder: Ethan James 45/4 (91.11%)
PIM: Bison 51 – 63 Raiders.
SOG: Bison 45 – 32 Raiders.
Refs: Belfitt and Stephenson – Lino’s: Andersson and Sitch-Cunningham
With the month of January finally behind us, the first of four home games in February saw the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison welcome the Raiders of Romford to Hampshire for the final time in regular season action.
The home side looked to assert themselves early on with their customary high-tempo and pressing game, but this would prove to be their downfall for the opening goal as Brandon Ayliffe (A. Connolly) took a stretch pass from ex-Bison captain Aaron Connolly and skated in alone before slotting the puck past Alex Mettam at 7:59 for a 0-1 lead on a delayed penalty against the Herd. Penalty trouble would prevent the Bison from restoring parity soon after as Tom Ralph and Ryan Sutton were called for Slashing infringements one after the other, although the Herd’s PK units kept the Raiders from extending their lead. As the period grew older the Bison turned the screw but found netminder Ethan James in scintillating form, with smart saves on shots from Sean Norris and Sam Talbot the pick of the bunch, leaving the visitors 0-1 ahead after 20 minutes.
An early Tripping penalty against Jacob Ranson at 22:30 gave the Bison their first powerplay opportunity of the night and despite moving the puck around well, they could not find a way past the Raiders’ netminder. In contrast to the previous home game against Peterborough, tonight’s contest was wide open and full of action at either end with the Bison pressing hard for an equaliser, whilst the visitors were hoping to break on the counter and extend their lead.
A fairly well-mannered contest suddenly erupted at 35:06 after Callum Wells took exception to a hit from Michal Klejna by the Bison bench and chaos ensued, with Josh Kelly stepping in to defend his team mate and Mason Webster of the opposition doing the same. As a result, Wells was handed a 2+10 penalty for Checking to the Head plus a Match penalty for Fighting, with Mason Webster receiving 2+2 for Fighting and Jack Flynn being given a 10 minute Misconduct penalty, where as Michal Klejna was somehow assessed a 2+2 Fighting penalty and a Match penalty for Slew Footing.
Despite Klejna protesting his innocence, he was forced to leave the game and although the Bison emerged from the drama with a 2 minute powerplay, they were unable to capitalise and soon after were punished as Brandon Ayliffe (Piatak, Pitchley) put the Raiders 0-2 ahead at 37:47 after his shot took an unfortunate deflection off Bison d-man Jay King, a lead which remained unchanged heading into the second break.
Left with a mountain to climb in the final frame, the home side were put on the powerplay at 45:12 as Daniel Fuller was called for High Sticks but once again Ethan James produced heroics to keep the Bison at bay, desperately scrambling to stop Ashley Tait’s effort. Disaster struck shortly after as Alex Sampford took a 2+10 Checking from Behind penalty at 48:13 and Brandon Ayliffe (Lascenko) completed his fantastic hatrick in style at 49:43 on the powerplay, scoring with a spinning move on the backhand to move the Raiders 0-3 ahead.
As the contest entered its final stages, the home crowd continued to urge their team forwards and when Oliver Baldock took an Interference penalty at 54:43, they dreamt of an unlikely comeback. What followed, however, almost defied belief. The Bison finally opened their account at 56:32 as ‘the man with the plan’ Ashley Tait (Norcliffe, Sutton) took a pass from George down the left wing before cutting inside and around Ethan James in net to tuck the puck home on the powerplay, making the score 1-3. DJ Bavy had barely finished announcing the Herd’s first goal when birthday boy Jay King (Morris, Tait) was left with acres of space to slam home from between the hash marks at 57:08 on a delayed penalty call, sending the crowd wild and bringing the Bison to within one goal of the visitors. With just over 30 seconds left and in one final roll of the dice, Alex Mettam was pulled from net for the extra skater and with only 2.9 seconds remaining the gamble miraculously paid off as ‘Tait the Great’, aka Ashley Tait (Bordowski, Harding) found the puck amongst a scramble around the Raiders net and poked it over the line to scenes of ecstasy in the crowd, somehow levelling the scores at 3-3 and sending us yet again into overtime!
The trio of Richard Bordowski, Adam Jones and Ashley Tait were sent out to begin the overtime period for the home side and went close almost immediately as Bordowski sped forward, only to be denied by Ethan James. To the confusion of many, the Czech forward was called for Interference on the Raiders netminder and was therefore sent to the penalty box. Luckily, the Bison would kill off the penalty and then be given a golden opportunity of their own at 63:25 as Blahoslav Novak was penalised for Cross Checking.
Desperate to make the man advantage count, the Herd set up camp in the Raiders zone and went close numerous times but could not find a moment of magic, until with only 1.6 seconds left Richard ‘Bordo’ Bordowski (Tait, Jones) collected the puck in close after a save by James and slotted it home to cause pandemonium both on the ice and in the stands!
Somehow, the Bison had fought back from a seemingly impossible situation to rescue two valuable points with an epic 4-3 OT win, against a Raiders side that battled valiantly and had helped to produce a classic.
The following night brought an M3 derby against the Bracknell Bees, where Nigel Simmonds will soon report back from.