Photo (C) Jo Loat

Final Score : Bees 1  Bison 3

Refs : Mr Matthews & Mr Poulton
Lino’s : Mr O’Neill & Mrs Prior

First off, can I take this opportunity to wish everyone, a very Happy New Year… Let’s hope 2022, will be a really good & healthy one for everybody !!

Following Saturday nights really exciting match, which ended with a penalty shoot-out win & a much deserved 2pts for the home side over the MK Lightning, your GalxC Cooling Services sponsored Basingstoke Bison, made the short trip to Slough, to face the Bees IHC, for what usually is a feisty encounter, between these old enemies ….

Already missing Alex Sampford, Tom Banner & Coach Tony Redmond through Covid, Bison would add another name to that list, when Jordan Lawday tested positive on the morning of the game. This meant Dan Weller-Evans would dress as cover… we’re grateful to have such a good replacement at hand.. and Elliot Lewis, was also in the line-up again.
Bees also had a depleted squad and had to call up a few youngsters to fill the gaps.

The puck dropped for this one and it would be Bees that had an early chance, when import Dominik Gabaj stickhandled his way into a good position, but then saw his shot come off the post and go to safety.

For the next few minutes, it was pretty uneventful, with both teams cancelling each other out, through the neutral zone and there weren’t that many shots on goal added. Bees would take the first penalty, when Ed Bradley was awarded a Hooking call (10.05), to send the Bison onto the powerplay. They had a couple of shots, but Goss saved them. But just as the penalty ended, Bison took the lead.. Paul Petts & Adam Harding setting up, in form Alex Roberts and he saw his shot saved by Goss, but a big rebound came back to him and he fired the puck past Goss, to open the scoring for the visitors (12.06).

A minute later and it would be Bison’s Adam Harding taking a trip to the sinbin, when he was also called for Hooking (13.21), but Bison penalty killers saw off the penalty and returned to full strength. That was pretty much all the action for 1st period and at the buzzer, the Bison went in 1-0 up.

The 2nd period started and again it would be a bit tentative between the teams. Bison had a great chance to increase their lead, when Zack Milton dipsy-doodled his way through the Bees defence, but saw his shot well saved by Goss, at his near post. But then, Bison would get the two goal advantage, when the much renewed, nay, even invigorated hot shot Alex Roberts, picked up a loose puck and with space to skate into, he fired a hard low shot, which beat Goss through his five-hole (25.20). This is Roberts 8th goal in 3 games, which is definately what the Bison fans want to see from the Canadian, as he has struggled a little bit to find the net. But it appears now, that he’s very much back to the form, which made Ashley Tait go all out, to get his signature.

Bees antagonist James Galazzi, was called for Hooking (35.16), but Bees would successfully kill the penalty and return to full strength soon after. We entered the final minute of the period and Bison would add another goal. George Norcliffe & Brendan Baird set Aidan Doughty off up ice and as he entered the Bees zone, he let a good wrist shot go, that sailed past Goss, to ripple the twine, oh so fine … Goal was timed at (39.38).

This really took any wind out of Bees sails and it would be a tough period break talk, for Doug Sheppard, to get his team back into this game.

Into the final period we went and it was now a case of, would Bees come out all firing, or would the Bison just continue to play as they have been, to see out the game..

Bees did step up the pressure slightly and had a couple of early chances, but Mettam was equal to anything thrown at him. Bison would get called for another penalty. This time it was Zack Milton, picking up an Interference call (45.06). Bees would send out their Top PP line and they almost got on the board, had it not been for Mettam making an incredible double save, to deny Gabaj and then Galazzi. Mettsy was proving to be hard to beat. Bison returned to full strength, when penalty expired.

Tempers were slightly rising now and Liam Morris & Will Stead both took a trip to the penalty box (52.56), when they exchanged slashes after a close Bees attack.

This left both teams with 4 skaters on the ice, as the penalties were being served. With a bit more space on the ice, both teams have the opportunity to use it to their best ability.. Bees did and finally broke the shut-out of Mettam. Gabaj made a good move into the Bison and got his shot off, which Mettam saved, but Ryan Webb was quickest to the puck and with a lovely drop pass, he found Harvey Stead all alone and he fired the puck past a diving Alex Mettam (54.27).

Bison’s speedster George Norcliffe was clearly tripped, right in front of Mr Matthews, but he didn’t feel it was a enough to make the call, so unfortunately, George made his feelings clear as he got up and with a tap of his hips, Matthews had handed him a 10min Misconduct penalty .. really feel it was harsh on George..

Then another baffling call, this time by Mr Poulton… Paul Petts appeared to be tripped down the other end of the rink,with both players ending up on the ice, but it would be actually Pettsy, that would get called (56.39). The Bees powerplay unit came out again and they would have to take advantage of the extra man, if they wanted anything from the game. However, the Bison defence stood firm and cleared the zone when they could and it was enough to see penalty expire.

Into the final two minutes now and Goss was pulled for the extra attacker, but Bison couldn’t get a clean shot on the empty net.

Into the final few seconds now and there appeared to be a coming together involving Galazzi, Morris & Mettam and words were exchanged. Nothing was called and the buzzer sounded. However… afterwards, Liam Morris was handed a 10 min Misconduct for “Abuse of the Official” for obviously airing his thoughts to the refs.

Anyways, Bison had ran out worthy winners, much to the approval of the good number of their travelling fans. That’s now richly deserved, back to back 4 point weekends for ever improving Bison and they are now finally climbing the table, currently up to mid way.

Bees : H Stead 1+0, Gabaj 0+1, Webb 0+1.
Nets : Goss  32/3 (90.63%)

Bison : Roberts 2+0, Doughty 1+0, Baird 0+1, Harding 0+1, Norcliffe 0+1, Petts 0+1.
Nets : Mettam  40/1 (97.50%)

Shots on Goal : Bees 40 Bison 32

Penalties (PiMs) : Bees 6 Bison 28

Man of the Match :
Bess : Harvey Stead
Bison : Alex Mettam

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