Final score: Basingstoke Bison 5-2 Telford Tigers (League)
By Matthew Church
Saturday 15th January 2022
Refs: Brooks and Poulton – Linos: Cook and Sore
Looking to bounce back from a win-less weekend last time out, the GalxC Cooling Services sponsored Basingstoke Bison were back on home ice in a hotly anticipated contest against the league-leading Telford Tigers. Prior to losses against the Phantoms and Lightning over the previous weekend, the home side had been on a four-game winning streak and they were keen to return to winning ways tonight.
Contrary to their league positions at the time, it was the Bison who started the more assured and threatening team as they laid siege to netminder Day’s net early on and although they were kept at bay, a Delay of the Game penalty on the Tigers at 6:56 allowed the Herd a chance to change this.
At 8:01 the home side opened the game’s scoring through Aidan Doughty (assisted by Alex Roberts and Ashley Tait) as he knocked the puck down out of mid-air with his hand, just inside the blue line, before striding forward into space and rifling home with conviction for a 1-0 lead. The visitors grew into the game as the first period progressed with import forward Vladimir Luka appearing to be their most likely source of levelling the game, however, to the delight of the Bison faithful it would be the home team who scored next to double their lead. A solo ‘move of magic’ by in-form forward Alex Roberts (unassisted) saw him collect a loose puck near the blue line, before blasting through the heart of the Tigers’ defence and slotting home through Bradley Day at 15:15 for a 2-0 Bison advantage.
Unfortunately for the Herd, they were unable to keep their two goal lead heading into the first break as the aforementioned danger man Vladimir Luka (McKenzie) pounced on a defensive lapse from the Bison and fired home at 18:49, bringing the Tigers to within one goal after 20 minutes.
The opening minutes of the middle frame were a cagey affair with both sides evenly matched in terms of chances, until Deaken Fielder was called for Roughing at 22:39 which put the Bison on the powerplay. Whilst they were disappointed not to convert on the man advantage, thankfully just after the halfway stage of the game, the Herd made amends. A wonderful move behind the net from Zack Milton saw him cut in from the wing, before passing to a wide open Alex Roberts (Milton) who tapped into an open net at 30:48, for a 3-1 lead.
The home team had momentum on their side and were heavily out-shooting their opponents, which meant that when they extended their lead further, with less than a minute to go before the second intermission, it came as no surprise to the home crowd. A blue line-blast from Adam Jones (Roberts) somehow got deflected high into the air and went over netminder Day, before dropping back down and over the goal line at 39:08, for a goal that almost defied belief but still put the Bison 4-1 in front, after 40 minutes.
The final period saw the inevitable fightback begin by the Tigers as they started to heavily out-shoot the home side, with wave after wave battering the Bison defence but they held firm, thanks in no small part to the fine work of netminder Lawday pulling off a number of fine saves.
It wasn’t until a Tripping penalty on Brendan Baird at 52:45, which somehow was the Herd’s only penalty of the game, that the Tigers were rewarded for their relentless efforts with a goal. A powerplay snipe from young prospect Jack Hopkins (McKenzie, Mitchell-King) brought the away team back to a 4-2 scoreline at 54:36, igniting hopes of a miraculous comeback. That would be, however, the closest that tonight’s opponents would get as with Tigers’ netminder Day pulled from net in the final moments, Aidan Doughty (unassisted) sent a long range effort from his own end down into the visitor’s net at 59:49, putting the finishing touch on an impressive 5-2 victory for the Herd!
This was a hugely enjoyable win for the home crowd (not just because it was my birthday…!), as they had seen their team bounce back with conviction ahead of the next home game against arch rivals, Bees IHC, on January 22nd.
Bison stats: Roberts 2+2, Doughty 2+0, Jones 1+0, Milton 0+1, Tait 0+1
Netminder: Jordan Lawday 23/2 (91.30%)
Tigers stats: McKenzie 0+2, Hopkins 1+0, Luka 1+0, Mitchell-King 0+1
Netminder: Bradley Day 26/4 (84.62%)
PIM: Bison 2 – Tigers 6. SOG: Bison 27 – Tigers 23.
Bison MOM: Aidan Doughty – Tigers MOM: Jack Hopkins
Tickets for Saturday game versus the Bees are available to book in advance online by clicking here.