With a win at Swindon already adding two points to the Basingstoke Bank Account the Bison were in home action on Sunday night against fellow Planet Ice rivals Milton Keynes Lightning.
Lightning were icing without Farn, Chamberlain, Billings and Lupouski while Bison were missing their Captain following a match penalty from the previous night. Stef Hogarth was the man in charge accompanied by James Ions and Charlie West were on the lines.
Basingstoke Bison 4 Milton Keynes Lightning 0
Bison rushed to the net off the opening faceoff forcing a save from Przemyslaw Odrobny. Players engaged in some afters with pushing and shoving happening at the top of the crease. Derek Roehl had the next chance, he couldn’t get the shot the first time so sped round the net but couldn’t quite work the angle for the rebound. At the other end Lewis Christie’s first attempt for the Lightning hit the lighting rig above Hiadlovsky causing a stop in play.
With 3.15 played a racing Frankie Bakrlik was stood up at the blue line by Kurt Reynolds who quickly dispossessed him. 31 seconds later Bison got their first powerplay of the night when Luc Johnson picked up a tripping call.
Bison powerplay looked good but couldn’t quite finish. It was as the man advantage expired that the puck entered the net for the first time in the game. With Lightning still at 4 skaters Derek Roehl danced his way through the Lightning zone and a sweet finish beat Odrobny as the penalty expired at 5.46 and Johnson set foot back on the ice.
Lightning were down to 4 skaters again at 6.55 when Jordan Cownie picked up a cross checking penalty after a blatant check in front of the referee.
Bison again put together a good powerplay but the first shot left a rebound which fell for the visitors and they cleared the zone. Ciaran Long shot from the point but his shot deflected up and out of play. Face-off stayed in the zone and Roehl eventually got the puck to the net, Long had two attempts at the rebound but even though his chances were taken high Odrobny made both saves as the penalty expired.
Even strength didn’t last long before James Griffin took a kneeing penalty after a collision with Tomas Karpov in the neutral zone at 10.33. Bison were again looking promising on the powerplay until a turnover saw Lewis Hook away up the ice on a breakaway. Jan Jarabek managed to pick up a slashing call on his way back to catch him at 11.26 and 4 on 4 was order of the day.
Tomas Karpov made use of the space and skated to the high slot but his wrist shot was met with a save. Soon after Lightning returned to full strength giving them a short powerplay. As Lightning forced their way forward Declan Balmer got a cross checking penalty at 12.47 which gave Milton Keynes a 39 second 5 on 3 advantage. Bakrlik and Jamieson passed back and forth near the blue line ahead of Bakrlik firing wide. As his shot sailed safely by Jarabek returned for the Herd.
It was soon 5 on 3 again in favour of the Lightning when Joe Baird was called for charging at 13.50, the advantage this time being 58 seconds. Hiadlovsky denied Carr with a huge save, as the puck flashed across the front of the net Hiadlovsky raced it and won to ensure Carr’s attempt from the back door was denied. Lightning tried repeating the move another couple of times but both times Hiadlovksy was quick.
Balmer returned for the Bison making it 5 on 4 and as he did Blaz Emersic skated from behind the Bison goal and tried to squeeze home a tight angle shot but Hiadlovsky made the save and forced a whistle at 15.15.
Bakrlik shot from the blue line but Emersic’s tip went wide. Hook tried his luck too as Baird returned and finally Bison were back at even strength. It was Bakrlik who came steaming in for a big hit on Jarabek but the Bison defenceman took a step backward to safety leaving Bakrlik to collide with the boards.
Craig Scott rushed the Bison net but despite getting his shot high Hiadlovksy made the save. As the whistle blew at 18.31 referee Hogarth skated to the penalty box to award Matt Towalski a cross checking penalty.
As the first period came towards its close Baird lined up Bakrlik and took him out and Lewis Hook down in his follow through with two beautiful open ice hits. Soon after the buzzer sounded and Bison led by 1-0 but with the continuation of Towalski’s penalty to kill on the resumption.
Milton Keynes resumed with 1.04 left on the Towalski penalty but despite generating some pressure around the zone it looked like they wouldn’t convert. Their big chance did come right at the end of the powerplay but a diving Hiadlovsky made the save as the penalised player returned.
With the Bison back at full strength they looked to double their advantage and Jarabek shot from the blue line but Odrobny went down quick and closed the five hole to deny him, also controlling the rebound nicely to ensure no further chance on the play.
Moments later Towalski led a rush into the zone and laid off a drop pass for Rene Jarolin who’s shot was saved. With the puck falling to the Bison Roehl tried his luck only to be saved too.
Sam Jones took a roughing penalty at 22.33 and the Herd got to roll out their powerplay again. Ciaran Long generated two notable chances on the man advantage, the first was off the face-off, the puck was drawn back to Long who skated to the high slot and let off a wrister that Odrobny saved. Shortly after he shot in from the right side but the Milton Keynes goalie denied another attempt and the Lightning soon were back at full strength.
Quick end to end stuff followed as a Bison turnover fell to Tom Carlon who sent Scott away but his journey ended at the blue line. Karpov then worked himself into the zone at the other end before passing back to Mogg at the blue line who shot but wide.
At 27.26 the whistle blew for off side on a Lightning play and after the whistle Cownie continued with his play releasing the shot. This angered Declan Balmer who stood up for his netminder. Cownie managed to avoid the scuffle and it was a double minor for Balmer, 2 for cross checking and 2 four roughing while Jones got a 2 minute cross checking penalty leaving the Lightning with the powerplay.
Milton Keynes took, and kept the zone, Jamieson and Bakrlik passed side to side but Bakrlik mis-handled the puck. They regained control but were whistled down for an off-side and the face-off came outside the zone.
At the 29 minute mark Hiadlovsky offered a rebound which fell straight to a Lightning stick but then more than made up for the rebound with a save at point blank range.
With the Bison back in possession Rene Jarolin went off on a shorthanded run but having gained the zone and heading for the corner he looked to find he was alone so was out of options. The Bison penalty expired, then Karpov got the puck behind the net, despite the forward being taken out behind the net his pass still found Lackey in front but he was also taken out before he could get the shot off.
Bison were on the powerplay soon after when Griffiths was assessed a boarding call at 30.33. Jarolin got the first shot, Odrobny saved and then Antonov was in front and his effort was cleared from the line by Jones. Another shot came in front for a waiting for Shaun Thompson tip, just waiting for his tip in but he didn’t get the connection and despite a good powerplay the Lightning escaped with no further scoreboard damage.
It wasn’t 5 on 5 for Long as after a Reynolds shot was stopped for off-side Mogg shot wide of the net on the re-start and as Derek Roehl held the puck in at the boards he was taken out by Bakrlik who was called for cross checking at 33.31
It didn’t take long for the Bison to convert this powerplay. A clinical powerplay worked for the Bison as after gaining control of the zone Jarolin found Long, Long shot from the blue line and Dan Davies tipped in from in front at 34.42
Spurred on by the goal Bison kept pressure on, they rushed into the zone but the Lightning defence managed to sneak the puck and clear but not for long. Antonov was back soon after and his shot sailed just wide of the net, rebounding off the back boards onto the net, Davies worked it free and fed Lackey in front but Odrobny slid across his goal to close the angle down. Towalski then chased in his own shot looking for a rebound but none was offered.
With 2.06 left to play in the second period Hiadlovsky was tested by Hook but he went down into textbook butterfly position and denied the Lightning forward.
The second period closed out with Bison holding a 2-0 lead.
The third period started end to end, but neither team really testing the other’s goaltender. After the opening couple of minutes Reynolds forced Odrobny into the period’s first save but then on the bounce Emersic was down the other end and made Hiadlovsky make a save.
Towalski ended up tangle with Jones behind the goal and the Lightning came away with the puck but couldn’t get to a shooting position. Then Cownie got in deep and fired a pass to Griffiths that was way off the mark and ended up back down behind his own goal line. As the visitors travelled back up Adam Carr held on to the puck a fraction of a second too long and got stood up by Mogg as he shot, forcing the shot wide.
Cownie then attempted the same move he’d made earlier and this time his pass did find Griffiths but the shot was straight at the goaltender.
Roehl shot from the blue line, Lighting iced the puck to clear. From the face-off they got the puck back and Luc Johnson came into the zone and shot with Hiadlovsky catching the puck in his glove, calmly dropping it and covering quickly.
Karpov centred for Antonov with 11.50 left to play but Odrobny saved the chance. With 10.02 to play Lightning got a powerplay as Long was held up along the boards but picked up a roughing call trying to break free.
Hiadlovsky made a couple of huge saves to keep his shut-out hopes alive at the start of the powerplay but the Lightning didn’t capitalise on the powerplay and Long returned. It would be him that secured the game at 52.10 when he scored the Bison third. With the puck trickling towards the Lightning net Odrobny came out to the hash marks in a race with Long rushing in, Long won the race and came away with the puck. He moved back and forth as Odrobny tried to obstruct Long while he returned to his net but a patient couple of moves from Long was enough to get round the netminder and fire into the empty net.
Off the very next play Hiadlovsky raced out to play the puck in a similar move to Odrobny but he made contact and no damage was done.
Balmer levelled Christie behind the net in a beautiful clean hit but at 55.39 Rene Jarolin was called for hooking. With a powerplay pending Peter Russell called the Lightning time out, then retained Odrobny on the bench, opting to play 6 on 4 with an empty net.
The face-off was in the Bison defensive zone but the puck fell to Reynolds who could clear it safely down the ice with no fear of an icing call. With the puck back in their possession Cownie shot looking for a deflection from Carlon but the deflection carried the puck to safety.
With 3.50 left to play Balmer and Mogg combined to find Karpov who danced round the defence and slid the puck into the empty net for 4-0.
Odrobny returned to the ice for the restart and the visitors started to accept the points would be staying in the home rink. With 1.17 left to play Odrobny made a save from a Lackey shot and the two ended up having words.
Hiadlovsky protected a late challenge to his shut out and the final buzzer sounded with Bison on the right end of the 4-0 scoreline and Hiadlovsky keeping a 23 shot shut-out.
Basingstoke had to have a good weekend and did. After the Guildford game last Sunday they had to come back and bounce back well to make not on a statement for themselves but also a statement to re-affirm their title defence.
They were up against the Lightning after a tough battle the previous night in Swindon. Lightning had scratches from their roster but equally the Bison were missing Connolly who is an influential player and of course Lack who stepped back.
They played an aggressive, attacking game. They hit the Lightning hard but also, for the most part, protected Hiadlovsky well in the net. 40 shots in favour and 23 shots against is a good ratio for an attacking team, especially against a team that’s running high in the league and preparing for a jump to the Elite league next season.
Doug Sheppard drilled his team well to bounce back from a disappointing performance. They looked sharp, they looked fast and when it came to shooting they executed well.
The fourth goal was a bit of a gift as Peter Russell had taken the gamble to go with an empty net so far out but with a powerplay in his favour, and more importantly a face-off in the attacking zone it was a gamble he felt he had to take. The advantage to the Bison was though, that as Jarabek was sat out serving a penalty they were free to clear the puck with ease, or even shoot at the net from distance with no fear of icing. As it turned out the goal wasn’t from distance at all but the fourth goal going in with 2.50 left to play that sealed the win.
Next weekend is a single game weekend but as it’s against Guildford it’s a chance to test out the fixes put in place following last weekend.