Final score: Basingstoke Bison 7-4 Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL National League & National Cup)
By Matthew Church
Saturday 16th October 2021
Bison MOM: Elliott Dewey – Phantoms MOM: Glenn Billing
Bison stats: Dewey 1+2, Harding 2+0, Martinec 1+1, Tait 0+2, Wilson 1+1, Norcliffe 0+1, Petts 0+1, Roberts 1+0 Sampford 1+0
Netminder: Alex Mettam 29/4 (86.21%)
Phantoms stats: Billing 2+1, Johnson 0+2, Speirs 0+2, Buglass 0+1, Hunt 1+0, Norton 0+1, Padelek 0+1, Weldon 1+0
Netminder: Jordan Marr 20/6 (70.00%)
PIM: Bison 14 – Phantoms 2. SOG: Bison 21 – Phantoms 29
Refs: Belfitt and Hands – Linos: MacPhee and O’Neill
With the Autumn Cup group stage essentially completed, the GalxC Cooling Services Basingstoke Bison began their 2021/2022 league season on home ice with a visit from old rivals, the Peterborough Phantoms. Following on from a weekend which saw two contrasting losses, the Herd were keen to begin their assault on the league title with a confidence-boosting victory against a team which they had already beaten 6-0 during Autumn Cup duty. Just as the doctor ordered, it was a dream start for the Bison as they took a 1-0 lead with a goal timed at 8:09, import Alex Roberts landed a huge hit on a Phantoms defenceman near the blue line, which left a stray puck for Welsh wizard Adam Harding (unassisted) to fire home past Jordan Marr in net. Soon afterwards, the home side would kill off a Holding penalty on Ollie Stone and spend the rest of the opening period dominating their opponents as Doughty, Roberts and Norcliffe all went close but not close enough, leaving the Herd one goal ahead after 20 minutes.
(C) Jo Loat
Less than three minutes into the middle frame and the home crowd were left ecstatic once again as the Bison doubled their lead with a beautiful goal at 22:52 from Alex Sampford (Norcliffe), who slammed home the puck from close range after George had whistled down the right wing and behind the net, before laying off a great pass to Alex to put his team 2-0 up. The Herd would send their faithful fans wild a few minutes later with a hard working short-handed goal at 27:43. With Brendan Baird in the penalty box for Interference, Ashley Tait and new import Filip Martinec chased down the puck in the corner and fed it to captain Elliott Dewey (Martinec, Tait) in acres of space before he rifled it past Marr for a 3-0 lead.
The Phantoms, however, were determined not to suffer another shut out here in Basingstoke and they finally made their breakthrough at 31:45, as Glenn Billing (Speirs, Padelek) polished off an odd-man rush to make the score 3-1. With Zack Milton in the penalty box for Roughing, the visitors would bring themselves to within one goal at 35:46 when Glenn Billing (Speirs, Johnson) continued to run hot and scored his second of the game, leaving the Herd needing to stem the flow somewhat.
Unfortunately, less than 60 seconds later the Phantoms completed their single-period comeback and tied the contest at 3-3, as Jarvis Hunt (Johnson, Buglass) sent a nice shot past Mettam at 36:24 to the anguish of the Bison faithful, a scoreline which would remain unchanged as the second period ended.
(C) Jo Loat
Having seen their three goal lead evaporate, it was imperative that the Bison began the final period with the same purpose as they did in the middle frame and fortunately for the home crowd, they did just that. Forward Adam Harding (Dewey) was waiting at the back post and managed to deflect home a pass from captain Dewey at 42:59 for a 4-3 lead. The home side were in the ascendancy and extended their advantage once again to 5-3, less than two minutes later, with Hallam Wilson (Petts, Tait) taking a neat pass from Petts behind the net and slamming the puck past Marr in goal.
As the final frame passed the halfway point, it was clear the next goal would prove crucial and thankfully it went the way of the Herd, Filip Martinec (Dewey, Wilson) found himself in the perfect place to deflect a long range effort from Dewey into the net at 51:11, handing his new team a 6-3 lead.
The Phantoms were fast running out of options and with two minutes remaining, pulled netminder Jordan Marr for the extra attacker. At 58:10 their gamble briefly paid off as captain Will Weldon (Billing, Norton) tipped in a shot from the blue line to bring his team back within two goals, however, the comeback would be short lived. Canadian forward Alex Roberts rushed up ice with the Phantoms net once again empty, took his time and fired the puck home with less than 1 second left on the clock, meaning that as the buzzer sounded, the Bison had earned themselves a hard-fought 7-4 victory!
A trip to Romford on Sunday night to face the Raiders was next up for the Herd, before welcoming the Essex side to Basingstoke once again next Saturday. See you all there!