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...
9th of March 2020

GAME REPORT: Swindon Wildcats V's Bison Saturday 7th March 2020

Final Score: Swindon Wildcats 3 Trane Basingstoke Bison 4 (AOT)

MoM Wildcats: Tyler Plews
MoM Bison: Alex Sampford

Refs: Mr Jarvie and Mr Rose
Lino's: Mr Cook and Mr MacPhee

Wildcats Stats: Nell 2+1, Malasinski 1+0, Birbraer 0+2, Bullas 0+2, Jones 0+1.
Nets: Marr 31/4 (87.10%)

Bison Stats: Klejna 1+2, Tait 1+1, Jones 1+0, Sampford 1+0, Bordowski 0+1, Harding 0+1, King 0+1, Morris 0+1, Norris 0+1.
Nets: Mettam 35/3 (91.43%)

PiM: Wildcats 40 Bison 12
SoG: Wildcats 35 Bison 31

Your Trane Basingstoke Bison travelled to Wiltshire on Saturday evening, trying to salvage something from their weekend, after Friday evenings disappointing home loss to the same opponents, the Swindon Wildcats.

Unlike the previous evening, both teams were a little tentative in the opening minutes of the period. Swindon would pick up the first penalty of the game, when Neil Liddiard was given a Holding call (6.24), but the Wildcats would kill the penalty and return to full strength. A minute later and Swindon would take the lead (9.33). Sam Bullas and Max Birbraer combined to find Wildcats Player/Coach Aaron Nell unmarked and he coolly slotted the puck past Mettam through the five-hole.

Adam Jones would pick up Bison's first penalty (12.24) when he was called for Hooking, although Nell did appear to have hold of Adam's stick under his arm. However, Bison would level the score whilst shorthanded. Ashley "The man with the plan" Tait would draw 3 Wildcats players to him, but he still managed to get the puck free and his pass across the ice found Michal Klejna skating in all alone and he buried the puck past Marr with a lovely wrist shot (13.19).

We entered the final minute of the period and with the seconds running down, Wildcats (and Liddiard), would fall foul of the officials again, this time it was a Tripping call (19.51). The buzzer sounded and the period ended with the scores tied at 1 apiece.

The 2nd Period started with Bison still on the powerplay, but unfortunately Wildcats would kill the remaining time and Liddiard returned to the action. A few minutes later and Bison would take the lead through Coach Tait (26.50) with a wonder goal. The Bison broke up a Wildcats advance at neutral ice. Norris found Klejna, who in turn found Tait and he let rip with a slapshot, but Marr spilled the puck and Ash followed up, but was upended in the crease and without even looking, he somehow managed to swing his stick behind him and connect with the puck sending it into the empty net (very Alex Ovechkin like!). This sent the well supported travelling Bison fans (including the Block S Massive!) into raptures.

At the halfway point of the game, Bison would get penalised again, this time Klejna picking up a Tripping call (30.11). Thankfully, the Bison PK units & Mettsy stood firm and stopped every Wildcats attack. Bison returned to full strength, but a couple of moments later, they would get another penalty, when Tommy Ralph picked up a Roughing call (34.27), after he'd tested the ref’s patience, with a couple of previous hits seconds earlier. Again, the Bison PK units would frustrate the Wildcats and see off the penalty.

Then much like the 1st period, we entered the final minute and a penalty was called. This time it would be the Bison that were called. A sloppy line-change would leave us with an extra man on the ice (39.25) and it certainly didn't go down well with the Coach, who was clearly unimpressed. Unfortunately, from the resulting powerplay, his mood wouldn't improve, in fact it got worse. Aaron Nell drew the scores level (39.46), after Bullas tested Mettam, which resulted in Alex losing his stick and scrambling across his crease. Then the puck came to Jones, who fed Nell on the point and he fired the puck past Mettam, who dived across the goal, like a footie goalie, but just couldn't get to it. The period ended and like Friday evening, the scoreline was 2 each after 40mins.

The 3rd period started and quite frankly, it was still anybody's game. The series of games between the teams have been close, tense, physical, but really good clashes, with Wildcats currently leading 4-3, but 3 have gone into OT or Penalty Shots (2 in Bison's favour).

Jay King would get penalised for Tripping (45.16), but felt it was a really soft penalty, as the Swindon player was already on his way down, when Jay challenged him. Once again, the Bison Penalty Killers managed to successfully see off the penalty.

Then, with just under 10mins to play, Swindon would get another penalty, when Sam Bullas was called for Tripping (50.14). The Bison PP unit came out looking for that all-important go-ahead goal. After a couple of chances, we made a line change and with time running down on Bullas's penalty, Bison scored. MoM Alex Sampford swatting a puck out of the air, after it had looped up due to a Marr save. Bordowski and Morris assisting on the goal (52.05).

It was going to be a long, but nervy last few minutes. Swindon pretty much went straight on attack mode. Every venture forward was with intent and somehow, by skill or luck, we managed to break up the play and get the puck out of the zone. Down to the final 2 mins now and another Swindon attack came forth. Mettsy made a save, but Bullas may have left a stick in on him, so Adam Harding confronted him and caught him with a bit of an elbow. Bullas obviously retaliated and both players were sent off to the box, with minor Roughing calls being handed out (58.36).

The stoppage in play gave Wildcats the opportunity to use their 30sec Time Out. As play restarted, Renny Marr was left on the bench for the extra attacker. So, 5-on-4 for Swindon, but obviously running the risk because of the empty net. The Wildcats PP unit, heavy with offensive power came out and won the draw. The puck was passed around just trying to get a good shooting lane, but Bison players were literally throwing themselves in front of the puck. Nell fed Birbraer, who in turn found Malasinski to the left of Mettam. He cocked his stick and let the puck rip, which found its target, as it flew top shelf over Mettsy's shoulder and ripped the water bottle off the net (59.04).
The Bison players were distraught and Adam Jones showed his frustration by slapshotting said water bottle into the plexi behind the goal.

It was such a blow for the guys, but more importantly there was still time enough for either team to actually win it in regulation. And Nell nearly broke Bison fans hearts when he almost scored in the final second of the game, but Alex Mettam came up with an absolute peach of a save to deny him.

So, at 60mins and scores tied, we again faced another 5min sudden death overtime period.
A minute into OT and Malasinski wiped out Ryan Sutton against the boards. A 2 + 10 Check from Behind penalty was given and Bison had a chance to win it. Adam Jones clearly still fired up from the late equaliser, you could tell was determined to get revenge and that's exactly what he did. Harding and Klejna passing to and fro managed to find Jones in space in front of net and he wristed an absolute peach past Marr to light the lamp and seal the win for the visitors, much to every Bison player/fans delight. Powerplay goal timed at 62.14. Sam Bullas, who was sitting out Malasinski's penalty obviously didn't like the outcome and picked up a Game Penalty for Abuse of Official, also at 62.14.

The result was just what we needed heading into the final 2 weekends left of the league season. It keeps us contention with Phantoms and Wildcats for that 2nd place.

Peterborough Phantoms are visitors to Basingstoke next Saturday, so that could be an absolute barnburner !!