By Simon Church

The GalxC Cooling Services Basingstoke Bison will be clocking up the miles this weekend, road trips to Wiltshire and Yorkshire await the Herd, as they face the 1st and 3rd placed teams in National League action.

Saturday will be the Bison’s first visit of the season to the Link Centre, home of the Swindon Wildcats, face off is 6.30pm. The game will give the Herd an early opportunity to reverse last weekends 5-7 defeat at home to the Cats.

Although Swindon currently have the leagues best defence in terms of goals conceded, they further strengthened their defensive options during the week, signing former Bison favourite Declan Balmer from NIHL2 North team, Hull Jets.

Their roster contains some of the leagues top points scorers namely Aaron Nell, Tomasz Malasinski, Edgars Bebris and Chris Jones, and they appear to have uncovered another player with a keen eye for a goal, Emil Svec, who impressed with a hat-trick against the Bison last Saturday.

Sunday’s game takes the Bison to South Yorkshire to face league leaders Sheffield Steeldogs, face off at the Ice Sheffield arena is 4.30pm.

Steeldogs sit top of the table with 8 wins from 10 games, a point ahead of Telford Tigers, although Tigers have played one game less.

While much of Sheffield’s success this season will understandably be attributed to their attacking prowess, in particular the line of Hewitt (12+11), Bissonnette (4+15) and Spurr (3+10), their defence’s contribution is proving every bit as important, a fact highlighted not only with them having conceded the 2nd fewest number of goals, but also the save percentage of both net minders, Dimitri Zimozdra (91.3) and Miles Finney (94.1).

So, another tough weekend of hockey lies ahead for Coach Tait and the team, hopefully the injury list will have shortened, training has gone well and the bounce of the puck goes in our favour, not the oppositions.

Now is the time for positivity both on the ice and in the stands, to emphasise this point, the last line of this preview is taken from the Herd in the Fourth posted earlier this week,  “you don’t give up on your family if they falter or fail once in a while”.

The Herd are back at home next Saturday evening (27th November) when the Milton Keynes Lightning will be in town.

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