Final score: Basingstoke Bison 5-7 Swindon Wildcats (League)
by Matthew Church
Saturday 13th November 2021
Bison MOM: Liam Morris – Wildcats MOM: Emil Svec
Bison stats: Jones 0+2, Milton 2+0, Norcliffe 1+1, Roberts 1+1, Doughty 0+1, Morris 1+0, Tait 0+1
Netminder: Alex Mettam 33/7 (78.79%)
Wildcats stats: Svec 3+1, Jones 1+2, Malasinski 2+1, Bebris 0+2, Bullas 1+0, Liddiard 0+1, Nethersell 0+1, Plews 0+1
Netminder: Renny Marr 37/5 (86.49%)
PIM: Bison 4 – Wildcats 10 . SOG: Bison 37 – Wildcats 33
Refs: Jarvie and Poulton – Linos: Edwards and MacPhee
A week on from the thrilling victory over their arch rivals Bees IHC, the GalxC Cooling Services sponsored Basingstoke Bison were back in action at home, this time taking on the Swindon Wildcats. With the visitors sat 3rd in the league heading into the contest, the Herd would need to begin positively and at just 5:30 into the game, they made a perfect start. Hard work in the offensive zone left Liam Morris (assisted by Doughty and Norcliffe) with space and time to fire over netminder Renny Marr’s left shoulder for a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats would fire back almost immediately through Chris Jones (Nethersell, Svec) and a long range effort at 6:19.
Thankfully, the Bison maintained momentum and re-took the lead at 8:50, when Zack Milton (Roberts) was perfectly placed to tap home after Alex Roberts had drawn Marr out of position, putting the Herd 2-1 up. The offensive qualities of the away side, however, are never too far away and they managed to restore parity late on in the opening frame, when import Tomasz Malasinski (unassisted) fired home at 18:32 to send the teams into the break level at 2-2.
(C) Jo Loat
An early penalty on the Wildcats for Too Many Men on the ice handed the Herd a glorious opportunity to go ahead once again and at 23:36, they duly obliged. A long range shot rebounded off Renny Marr into the path of crowd favourite Zack Milton (Jones, Tait) who wasted no time in slotting home for a 3-2 advantage to the delight of the home fans. Just like buses, you wait ages for one powerplay goal and then two come along in quick succession! With Neil Liddiard in the penalty box, the Bison were able to double their advantage at 28:16 when import Alex Roberts (Jones) finished off a move which saw the home side fight hard to keep the puck in the offensive zone, before Adam Jones put the puck on a plate for Roberts to fire home.
A penalty shot, which was seen as questionable by the Bison faithful, was awarded to the Wildcats at 30:59 and Tomasz Malasinki stepped home to slip the puck past Mettam in net for his second goal of the game. Not to be left out of the action, the Wildcats’ other import would score the 1st goal of his hat trick at 36:18 to level the scores at 4-4. Emil Svec (Bebris, Jones) fired in from a wide angle and the puck somehow slipped through Mettam at the near post.
With the Wiltshire-based side in the ascendency, the Herd were working hard to keep them at bay and at 37:58, they found the ideal solution as George Norcliffe (unassisted) forced a turnover and raced in to snipe home, handing the Bison a 5-4 lead and sending the crowd (particularly one fan in Block E) wild, as the home side went into the second break ahead.
(C) Jo Loat
Having played excellently through 40 minutes, the home team were looking to finish off in style but it would be the visitors who came out firing and levelled the game with the first of 3 unanswered goals at 43:19. A fierce shot crept through Alex Mettam and Emil Svec (Liddiard, Jones) was on hand to poke the puck home for a 5-5 scoreline.
Disaster struck just 18 seconds later as the Herd lost concentration for a brief moment and were made to pay when Emil Svec (Jones, Bebris) completed his hat trick in style at 43:37, finishing with ease after pressure handed his team the puck in the Bison zone, a goal which left the visitors 5-6 in front. Searching hard for an equaliser, the home side were attacking at every opportunity but could not find a way through the Wildcats’ defence and the result was sealed at 58:44 when Sam Bullas (Malasinski, Plews) was found in space in front of goal and calmly fired home to give his team a 5-7 lead, which would remain unchanged as the final buzzer sounded.
Next weekend sees the Herd on the road twice, before returning home on November 27th to face Milton Keynes Lightning.