3rd of March 2020
GAME REPORT: Leeds Chiefs V's BISON Sunday 1st March 2020Final Score: Leeds Chiefs 4 Trane Basingstoke Bison 8
MoM Chiefs : Moore
MoM Bison : Tait
Refs : Mr Good & Mr Hands
Lino's : Mr Farren & Mr Smith
Chiefs Stats : Hehir 1+1, Charnock 1+0, Kopstals 1+0, Moore 1+0, Robertson 0+3, Bentham 0+1, Coulter 0+1, Houston 0+1, Zajac 0+1
Nets : Walker 42/8 (80.95%)
Bison Stats : Klejna 2+0, Sampford 2+0, Tait 1+3, Harding 1+2, Norris 1+2, Talbot 1+0, Morris 0+2, Jones 0+1, Mettam 0+1, Norcliffe 0+1, Ralph 0+1
Nets : Mettam 39/4 (89.74%)
PiM : Chiefs 18 Bison 10
SoG : Chiefs 39 Bison 42
After a hard earned, but deserved home win, against a strong Sheffield Steeldogs side, your Trane Basingstoke Bison made the long overdue, but eagerly anticipated long trip 'up North', to take on the Leeds Chiefs in their new rink. First impressions are usually quite important, and I have to say, it looks very nice indeed and from outside, it looks really good (just wish it was in Basingstoke !!). Once you get inside, it's much more of still "Work in Progress". The far end of the rink pretty much has the foundations in place, they just need to add the rest of the seats and make it look a lot more homely.
Anyways, on to the game... Chiefs were missing Sam Gospel, the goalie that made incredible saves last week in Basingstoke, which earned him a standing ovation from the Bison fans, so Chiefs gave a debut to 17yr old nettie Harrison Walker.
Refs Good & Hands were assigned for this game and from the drop of the first puck it was Bison that looked the livelier of the teams and it would be the visitors that took an early lead. The ever-impressive Sam Talbot credited with the goal (2.19), although I believe his shot went in off a Chiefs skate. Tommy Ralph back on the line-up, credited with the assist.
A few minutes on and Leeds drew level. Liam Charnock wristing a shot past Mettam (6.02) with Robertson & Coulter assisting. Bison wouldn't be behind for long though. Adam Harding setting up Liam Morris on the point and his fierce shot was spilled by Walker, but Alex Sampford was on hand for an easy tap-in to put the puck into the net (6.31). A few minutes later and the Bison extended their lead. Harding found George Norcliffe, who cut inside the Chiefs d-man to get his shot away, which Walker spilled again (can imagine how nervous he was) and Sampford was again on hand for the tap-in (10.14), but this time he did it whilst laying on the ice, but being free enough to swing his stick onto the loose puck, whilst having a Chiefs d-man in close attention.
Bison's Paul Petts would take the first penalty of the game (11.42) when he was called for Hooking. From the resulting powerplay, Leeds got a goal back (13.24) when Chiefs MoM Steven Moore slotted the puck five-hole on Mettsy, with assists going to Houston & Bentham.
The rest of the period played itself out and at the first buzzer, the scoreline read : Chiefs 2 Bison 3
Shots on Goal were 11 on Bison & 13 on Chiefs.
Into the 2nd period and Chiefs would get an early penalty, as Robert Streetly picked up a Hooking call (22.46), but the Chiefs PK unit would kill the penalty. Then Bison scored a couple of quick goals to open the gap in the scoreline. Firstly, Bison Coach Ashley Tait fired an unstoppable shot past Walker (25.52) with Norris & Jones assisting. Then just 14secs later, Tait turned provider, as he set up Sean Norris (26.06) for another close-range finish past Walker.
Tommy Ralph would get called for Holding (29.19) but Bison would kill it off successfully and returned to full strength. Then Chiefs would get themselves into penalty trouble again. Connor Henderson this time getting called for Hooking (33.07) and it brought out the Bison PP unit, which has recently been quite successful. Alex Mettam started the play, with a long pass to Liam Morris, whilst Leeds were making a line change. Morris skated in and found Harding behind the net. He tried to set up an on-rushing George Norcliffe, but the puck didn't get through to its target and it found its way back onto Harding’s stick and with one quick shot, he managed to fire the puck, which banked in off the goalies pads and into the net (34.33).
Into the final seconds of the period and there would be a coming together by the side of Mettam's net. Charnock taking a whack at the puck, just as Mettsy’ s glove covered it. Liam Morris took exception and waded in for his teammate and the pair ended up wrestling on the floor. Charnock picked up 2 for Slashing & a further 2 for Roughing, whilst Morris just got a minor for Roughing (39.59). The period ended and Bison went into the last period, with a healthy 6-3 lead and they would be straight on the powerplay. The SoG count was 16 on Bison & 13 on Chiefs, tying it at 26 shots on each net.
The final period started and Chiefs would kill off the penalty that carried over from the 2nd period. Then Leeds cut the deficit back to 2 goals, when import Andres Kopstals finished neatly, after good work from the impressive Caly Robertson & Ethan Hehir (44.05).
Bison certainly weren't going easy on young debutant Harrison Walker, as they peppered him with shots on pretty much every foray up ice. Then Bison scored a real pretty goal as Tait & Norris combined with great skill/speed and the final pass found a unmarked Michal Klejna, who nonchalantly slotted home to get the very well supported Bison fans (mainly down to Graeme Peers for organizing a coach - Well Done G !!) on their feet again (47.08).
A couple of minutes later and that man Klejna would show his skill in outdeking the young netminder, as he latched onto a through pass by Coach Tait and Klej skated in all alone and with a drop of the shoulder fooled Walker and roofed the puck (51.31).
That would be Bison's last goal on the night but was still time for a little fisticuffs down the far end of the rink from us, so not 100% what started it. Adam Harding swapped punches with Ethan Hehir, with both guys picking up 2 + 2 for Fighting & then Robertson also picked up a minor Roughing penalty (52.45). With Bison on the PP, Chiefs would get called again, as Lewis Baldwin blatantly stopped Alex Sampford in his tracks in front of the Chiefs net. Interference the call (53.50), but unfortunately Bison couldn't take advantage of the two man advantage. Leeds returned to full strength and soon after we entered the final 2 mins of the game. Chiefs would finish the scoring, when Hehir scored past Mettam, with assists going to Robertson & Zajac (59.33)
With the Great Escape theme tune ringing out amongst the Bison fans, the final buzzer sounded and it capped off another 4pt Weekend, the 2nd successive for the recent impressive Bison team. To make things better, our closest rivals, the Phantoms & the Pirates lost BOTH games over the weekend, so we opened a gap on Hull below us & closed the gap to 1pt on Peterborough, who sit just above us. Going to make for a really tight run-in with only 6 games to go in the League season, before the Play-Offs start.
Nathan Hehir was named MoM for the Chiefs, with our 'Man with the Plan', Coach Ashley Tait collecting the beers for the Bison. He really is a joy to watch and even now two years on, I still can't quite believe, we attracted such a huge name in British Ice Hockey to take charge of our humble little team. Let's hope we're still saying that in the next few years to come........
We have a Friday evening match to look forward to this week, as we have a double-header against the Swindon Wildcats. Wildcats are only 3pts clear of us, so these could be very important games leading up to the final table placings.
BRING IT ON !!!