The Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison hosted the first game of their two game weekend with the Hull Pirates making a trip to Hampshire ahead of their second being a trip to Peterborough.
The Bison were without Joe Miller and Aaron Connolly both missing through injury and Stuart Mogg and Vanya Antonov were both away playing University Hockey.
Basingstoke Bison 6 Hull Pirates 1
Stephen Matthews, Justin Lalonde and Amy Lack were the officials for the game and after a delay the game finally got underway. Derek Roehl set the tone early as he forced Vlastimil Lakosil into a sharp save in what would go on to be a busy night for the Pirates goaltender.
Dan Scott tried soon after and was offered his own rebound back, then it was Tomas Karpov who sent a backhand pass to Matt Towalski but Lakosil made another save. Andrej Themar then attempted to test out Tomas Hiadlovsky but a defenceman’s stick deflected Themar’s shot up into the ceiling and drew a whistle.
Good play saw Grant Rounding fed on the doorstep but he couldn’t finish. A shoulder save denied Dan Davies after he rushed up centre ice. Tomas Karpov got the puck to Matt Towalski who’s off balance shot hit the outside netting. Kurt Reynolds shot in as the whistle blew when Stephen Matthews called Towalski for interference at 5.55
James Chilcott laid off a great centring pass but none of his team mates connected and that was the best chance the Pirates had on the powerplay. Tomas Karpov was free shorthanded but the whistle blew with a Pirates player down on the ice.
Matt Towalski returned after his penalty and shortly after Kurt Reynolds used the traffic to screen his shot but Lakosil saw enough of it. Derek Roehl was next to test the Pirates net but Lakosil denied Roehl and covered up with Rene Jarolin and Grant Rounding looking for a rebound attempt.
End to end attempts came as Declan Balmer sent in a feed from the blue line but a sprawling Lakosil just managed to somehow keep out Rene Jarolin from poking it in. A quick pass to Andrej Themar saw him stood up by Dan Scott then it was Joe Baird who raced into the zone and fed Tomas Karpov in front but he couldn’t find a way in. Grant Rounding was back in front and was checked to the floor as he tried to score, Derek Roehl and Ryan Watt exchanged words but nothing further happened in the incident.
Joe Rand had two goes and both were saved by the Pirates netminder, who was at this stage single handedly keeping his team in the game. Ciaran Long and Dan Davies went together, Davies got off a back hand shot but Lakosil denied another chance. Rounding hit the outside of the net and then Joe Rand found a wrap around attempt closed off by Lakosil’s positioning and then he was shoved off the puck.
With it looking like the first period would end level Kurt Reynolds found Ciaran Long who stepped into his shot and despite Lakosil getting a piece he couldn’t keep the puck out and the Bison were celebrating at 19.36
The home team had dominated the opening period, but for the Pirates netminder the game would have been over, and the shot count favoured the Bison 23-5.
Period two got no easier for the visitors as the home team didn’t relent. Once again they dominated the offence and shut down their opponents forcing them onto the back foot.
It was Derek Roehl who got the first chance of the second period as he embarrassed the Pirates defence on his way in but Lakosil’s net was loose behind him by the time Roehl had reached the net.
With 1.04 played in the middle frame Pirates were heading back to the powerplay with Dan Scott taking a holding call. Ciaran Long stole the puck and fed Tomas Karpov who, as he advanced to the net, had Andrej Themar hitching a ride which would see the referee’s arm raise for a hooking call. Despite the blatant impedance Karpov continued to the net and shot high for the second Stampede goal at 22.53.
Dan Scott returned at 23.04 and straight into action as he was fed for a breakaway but he fired wide. Rene Jarolin worked the puck out the corner and round to Joe Baird who shot from the blue line with Grant Rounding waiting for a deflection. The deflection did come but took the puck safely over the crossbar.
A rare Pirates chance came as Dominic Osman crossed the blue line and fired but fired wide. Soon after Bison would get a powerplay of their own when Lee Haywood took a holding call at 26.54. A shorthanded breakaway by Lee Bonner was swifly ended when Ciaran Long laid a lovely hit to take him out the play. With Haywood still sat out Tomas Karpov netted his second at 28.29 to make it 3-0. The original shot came from Declan Balmer but Lakosil offered a rebound which Karpov wristed home.
Grant Rounding made a play up the wing before finding Rene Jarolin who laid it off for Derek Roehl but he was just across the goal line when he released and his shot hit the side netting. Bison continued to dominate the period, with occasional chances coming for the Pirates it was mainly the home team that were getting the chances. Dan Scott shot from the blue line but it went wide, Kurt Reynolds shot in with Tomas Karpov on the tip but Lakosil saved.
Tomas Hiadlovsky was sharp when Natham Salem got a rare chance but his shot met with a kick save from Hiadlovsky. With 4.41 left in the middle frame Bison were on the powerplay again as Jordan Fisher hauled down Grant Rounding in open neutral zone ice.
Tomas Karpov would hit the post before Fisher returned and as the Pirates were back at full strength they had a 2 on 1, Fisher ended up going alone and taking out Hiadlosky as he shot. Derek Roehl stepped forward and had words.
Pirates would be given 37 second of powerplay at the end of second period when Joe Baird got called for roughing. Two sharp Hiadlovsky saves ended the second period with the Herd 3-0 to the good. This period had seen the Bison outshoot the Pirates 25-8 and continue their complete dominance of the game.
It was Ryan Watt who got the first chance of the final period as the Pirates resumed on the powerplay. His first shot came from in front of the team benches and soon after he forced another save as Hiadlovsky came out to take away the angles. Just inside the Pirates powerplay Ciaran Long nearly added another as he shot five hole but an uncertain Lakosil somehow made the save even if he did have to look behind himself to confirm.
Joe Baird returned and Kurt Reynolds started the breakout. He fed Rene Jarolin who found Matt Towalski and when he fed it back to Reynolds his quick released sneaked by outside the post. A couple of chances came at the other end for Andrej Themar but both were denied by the Bison shotstopper.
With Bison back in control Rene Jarolin centred to Derek Roehl but Lakosil made a pad save. Off the next face off Kurt Reynolds floated the puck to the net, Joe Rand looking for a deflection but Lakosil was proactive and made the save before the deflection.
A careless Bison play allowed Hull to finally break the shut out as Joe Baird lost the puck to Josh Gent, a poke check from Tomas Hiadlovsky stopped the immediate danger but Bison couldn’t regain control and Andrej Themar bundled the puck over the net after a couple of good Hiadlovsky saves on the play at 48.14
Buoyed on by being given a golden opportunity to fight back into a game they’d previously not been in Pirates came at the Bison hard. With that storm weathered Tomas Karpov backhanded the puck to the net and Derek Roehl looked to play it in but it was immediately whistled for the high stick.
Ciaran Long shot up the middle, fired and Lakosil made the save, the rebound fell to Roehl who was denied by what was possibly the save of the night.
Declan Balmer looked visibly shaken when he took a high hit from Dominic Osman with no call on the play.
Bison strung together three quickfire goals to put the game beyond doubt. Rene Jarolin scored as Dan Davies and Tomas Karpov gave a control master class they found Jarolin who fired in at 54.22
1.05 later Ciaran Long made it 5-1 when Rene Jarolin set Long free he skated in, and in a trademark #89 move, he waited and waited and waited until the netminder was committed and drawn down and then roofed the puck for the perfect finish.
With 1.34 left Rene Jarolin chipped in again with his second to make the game very safe at 6-1. Good passing from Dan Scott and Derek Roehl set up Rene Jarolin who’s classy finish was too good for a tiring Lakosil and Bison were celebrating again.
Basingstoke Bison were short benched through injury and the University Hockey. It meant extra responsibility for the rest of the team and additional shifts for some players. Scoring was shared equally among Ciaran Long, Rene Jarolin and Tomas Karpov but play making was shared well. Ciaran Long’s second of the night was a joy to watch, probably for all except the goalie it was scored on.
There’s still Joe Miller and Aaron Connolly to return from injury and the two university players to come back into the line up too so the Bison keep travelling the positive journey with the promise of greater resources to come.
I was disappointed in the Pirates. For a team that was top 3 earlier in the season and contending I was shocked at how little offence they generated and how their defence did nothing to support their goaltender. The departure of Marr and arrival of Lakosil was highly publicised but it’s not a one-off either. It was clear to all but Osman that Marr wasn’t the issue but still he released his young Brit goaltender and replaced him with an aging import. This happened last season as well when Jon Baston was released for another import when it was clear last season that Baston wasn’t the problem.
Lakosil has taken a lot of criticism since his arrival in Hull. Tonight he wasn’t the problem. Despite shipping six goals he put up a save percentage over 91%. The problem was the defence that allowed 70 shots! If you concede high shot counts then unless you have a goaltender with an amazing near 100% save percentage you’ll concede lots of goals!
Because the defence is so leaky at the back this puts extra pressure on the forwards to play with a defensive mind set. That combined with the much stronger Bison defence restricted the Pirates to just 21 shots.
Speaking of goaltenders I feel for Tomas Hiadlovsky who was on for, and deserved, back to back shut-outs. He did everything right and the shut-out was only broken after an horrendous turn over by Joe Baird. Bison Twitter feed describes it as “Gent forces the turnover but an outstanding pokecheck by Hiadlovsky denies him” which is understandably kind. What actually happened is Joe Baird walked out from behind the net and under no pressure at all handed the puck over to Gent. Despite an excellent poke check by Hiadlovsky Bison didn’t regain control and Pirates made the most of their generous gift from Joe Baird. Hiadlovsky made a couple of saves before the goal but the pressure could have been avoided by not making that one turnover.
Earlier in the season the Pirates must have done something right to get to third in the table. Their results a couple of weeks ago initially came as a shock. Losing 2-7 at home to Bracknell and then going down 13-1 at Peterborough were seen as shock results. On last night’s showing it’s much easier to see how that happened.
It’s almost hard to judge the Bison from that performance. They played the team put in front of them well, but for the Pirates netminder it would have easily been a score similar to the Phantoms vs Pirates score. With key players missing the roster coped well. The losses from the roster may be more exposed at Peterborough but two points were earned and a good test.