Last night the EIHA shared some great news for our plans to return to competitive play, when they announced that they had successfully secured from the government £1.2m for the three NIHL divisions.

This has been down to the determined efforts of the EIHA Board, and in particular board member Andrew Miller who has worked tirelessly as our NIHL National liaison...
8th of March 2020

GAME REPORT: Bison V's Swindon Wildcats Friday 6th March 2020

Final score: Basingstoke Bison 3-4 Swindon Wildcats

Friday 6th March 2020

Bison MOM: Alex Sampford – Wildcats MOM: Renny Marr

Bison stats: Bordowski 1+0, Dewey 0+1, King 0+1, Morris 0+1, Norris 1+0, Sampford 1+0, Sutton 0+1, Tait 0+1

Netminder: Alex Mettam 28/4 (85.71%)

Wildcats stats: Malasinski 0+3, Bebris 1+1, Nell 2+0, Bullas 0+1, Godfrey 1+0, Jones 0+1

Netminder: Renny Marr 31/3 (90.32%)

PIM: Bison 14 – 30 Wildcats. SOG: Bison 31 – 28 Wildcats.

Refs: Matthews and Rose – Lino’s: Lack and MacPhee

Looking for a fifth consecutive victory, the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison welcomed the Swindon Wildcats to town in the first half of a double-header weekend against the Wiltshire-based team. The Herd were without d-man Josh Kelly and forward Oscar Evans for the Friday night battle, where as Max Birbraer was absent for the visitors.

Still harbouring hopes of a last minute title charge, the Wildcats made a dream start to the game as Edgars Bebris (Malasinski, Jones) took a huge swing at a loose puck which flew past Alex Mettam in net, putting the visitors 0-1 ahead at 3:54. The Bison quickly settled themselves and went on the attack in search of an equaliser, but even with Stephen Whitfield in the penalty box for Slashing, they remained a goal down.

The home side’s despair doubled at 14:06 as Aaron Nell was awarded a penalty shot whilst shorthanded, as Luc Johnson was serving a Tripping penalty, and the Wildcats’ player/coach neatly slipped the puck through Mettam’s 5-hole to put his side 0-2.

Thankfully for the Bison faithful this woke their team up as they opened their account less than two minutes later, Alex Sampford (King, Morris) took a speculative long range effort which was going wide of the net, until netminder Renny Marr went to deflect the puck away but instead knocked it into his own net, with the goal timed at 15:38.

Momentum was visibly on the side of the Bison and at 22:35 they levelled the score at 2-2 thanks to import forward Richard Bordowski (Sutton). A shot whistled past Renny Marr’s right post but bounced back perfectly for ‘Bordo’ to tuck the puck home from a tight angle, just before the net was knocked off its moorings. Games between the two sides are typically physical yet clean affairs with fisticuffs often seen as a last resort.

However the rest of the middle period tried to dispel that notion as multiple scraps broke out. Firstly, Bison captain Elliott Dewey and Wildcats captain Sam Bullas had a disagreement at 29:12 which turned into a tussle and both were given 2+2 minute penalties for Fighting, then a few minutes later at 32:52 Liam Morris and Floyd Taylor decided to drop the gloves behind the play for a decent fight, both receiving 2+2 for Fighting.

Just when fans thought they had seen the last of any ‘dancing’ between players, Sam Godfrey took exception to a huge but clean hit from Alex Sampford on Tyler VanKleef at 33:51, storming in to defend his team mate but only earning himself a 2+2 Roughing penalty plus a 10 minute Misconduct. Unfortunately, the Bison were unable to take advantage of their 4 minute powerplay and the game remained 2-2 as the second period buzzer sounded.

Early in the final period and whilst both sides were creating chances, it was the home side who looked the more threatening and forced Renny Marr into several smart stops to keep his side level. Disaster struck at 49:21 as the visitors regained a 2-3 lead through Sam Godfrey (Bebris, Malasinski), who had made himself into the night’s pantomime villain thanks to his early exchange with Alex Sampford, as he was left with plenty of room to put a one-timer shot past Mettam. As the game entered the final five minutes, the Herd surged forward in search of a late equaliser and boy-wonder Sean Norris (Tait, Dewey) stepped up at 55:27 to level the game at 3-3, being quickest to react after Marr had spilled a tight-angled shot and poking the puck over the line.

With less than two minutes left on the clock, both teams were looking for a hero to score a last-gasp winner and sadly for the Herd faithful, it would be the Wildcats’ goal machine Aaron Nell (Malasinski, Bullas) who took advantage of the home sides’ inability to clear the zone and fired home at 58:44, sinking a dagger into the hearts of the Bison crowd. A Hooking penalty against Bison forward Adam Harding at 59:04 all but ended their chances of pulling netminder Mettam for the extra skater, leaving the clock to wind down and give the away side a highly valuable 3-4 win.

Saturday 7th March provided a chance of immediate redemption for the Herd as they travelled to Swindon to once again face the Wildcats, before returning home next Saturday to host the Peterborough Phantoms.