By Simon Church
Week 2’s National League fixtures see the GalxC Cooling Services Basingstoke Bison taking on Raiders IHC at home on Saturday, followed by an away game against the Telford Tigers on Sunday.
On Saturday we welcome Raiders IHC to the Silverdome, face off is as usual, 6.30pm.
This will be the 5th meeting between the teams this season, the previous 4 have all been decided by one goal, the most recent being last Sunday in Romford where the home team prevailed in an 11 goal thriller, fans of both teams will no doubt be expecting another close encounter.
Standout performers for the Raiders in that game, were import Erik Piatak, with 3+3, and of course Captain Connolly, continuing his rich vein of form, chipped in with 2+1.
Plus former Sheffield Steeldogs defender Tom Relf, who contributed a very useful 3 assists, showing what an astute signing Head Coach Sean Easton made in adding him to the Raiders lineup.
The following day a road trip to Shropshire awaits the Bison, where the opponents will be Telford Tigers and the face off 6.00pm.
Tigers Head Coach Tom Watkins, has built a strong roster with a good mix of experience and youth.
Led by Jason Silverthorn, now in his 7th season with Telford, with Rick Plant (8th season) and Jonathon Weaver (7th season) as alternates, the roster contains 13 players aged 24 & under.
Their early season form has been pretty good, 5 wins out of 8 games in the Autumn Cup saw them secure 3rd place in the table.
Telford’s only league game to date was a 3-4 loss after OT & Pen’s at home to Swindon, and featured 8 rounds of penalty shots before the outcome was decided.
The only previous meeting between the teams this season resulted in a 6-3 Autumn Cup away win for the Bison, a game that was closer than the scoreline suggests.
Last weekend saw much improved performances from the Herd, firstly in the home win against the Phantoms, then despite being defeated in Romford the following night, the hard work in training from Ash & the lads showed through on the ice, hopefully another weeks training will see a further step forward for Bison.