Game two of three in the weekend saw the Basingstoke Bison on home ice to tackle the Telford Tigers. Bison had welcomed back Joe Baird the previous evening but were without Derek Roehl who was serving a match penalty from the previous evening. Tigers were without their numerous midweek departures and also Jonathan Weaver who is out injured.
Stephen Matthews was the man in charge accompanied by Nathan Ormond and James Ions on the lines for the tilt.
Basingstoke Bison 6 Telford Tigers 2
Bison enjoyed a quick start to the game, they built pressure around Tigers newly promoted starter Sam Gospel. Vanya Antonov fired high, he then fed Ciaran Long who shot but found the netminder had moved to narrow his angles. Tigers were desperate for a break so iced the puck.
It was however the Tigers that would score the opening goal against momentum. After a dominant Bison opening Tigers gained the zone and shot at Hiadlovsky. He was out to make the first save but the rebound fell nicely for Matty Davies who fed to Milan Kolena to tap into the open net.
As the Tigers celebrated their goal Nathan Ormond left the ice with an injury to his hand. The referee and remaining linesman combined to make a make shift two man system, although there were no arm bands for James Ions.
As Tigers moved into the zone Jason Silverthorn came up the boards but was taken out by a huge hit by Declan Balmer. With the puck free Tomas Karpov raced off breaking down the ice but Gospel made the save. Aaron Connolly worked hard to get his shot off as he was impeded by the defending Tigers then Dan Lackey gave the Tigers a huge break as he bore the full brunt of a Jan Jarabek blue line blast.
As play stopped Nathan Ormond returned with his hand bandaged and a three man system returned.
As Bison continued to pressure Tigers were caught out on their own with a too many men call at 10.00 offering up the game’s first powerplay.
Jan Jarabek fed the puck across the crease but play stopped with the Tigers net free from its moorings. There was no such let off at 11.03 as some beautiful finishing from Ciaran Long saw the Bison pull level. It was a text book powerplay as the puck was passed around, getting closer and closer to the net when it landed for Ciaran Long he waited and shot top corner leaving Gospel no hope at all.
Milan Kolena got in on net as he rounded the Bison defence but despite a quality back hand he couldn’t add to their tally as Hiadlovsky flashed the glove. A marginal off side call at the other end saw Aaron Connolly whistled as he crossed the line in the just starting his shot. He apologised straight away to Gospel for the shot.
Tigers first powerplay came about at 14.37 as Joe Baird was called for slashing on Corey McEwen. The first significant chance on the powerplay came shorthanded as Karpov broke after Kolena over skated and missed a feed but Gospel denied the Bison attempt. Bison put in a decent penalty kill and Joe Baird returned with the score still 1-1 at 16.37.
Stuart Mogg shot in as he scrambled to keep a clearance in but Gospel’s rebound sat agonisingly in front but just out of reach for Vanya Antonov.
As the first period came towards it’s close a similar situation occurred with Jan Jarabek providing the opening shot but this time it was Gospel himself who got there. The first period went on to close at 1-1.
The second period started well again for the Bison with Dan Davies forcing a turnover and quickly feeding Vanya Antonov but his shot was dealt with by a pad save.
Tomas Hiadlovsky showed his worth as he resolved a Stuart Mogg turn over by racing out to clear the puck then racing back to make the save. He cleared the puck away from the danger zone out to Matty Davies at the blue line then made a composed glove save as the shot came in.
Mogg was soon off to offer the Tigers their second powerplay when he took a tripping call at 23.19, taking down McEwen. Tigers looked to capitalise but their best effort was dealt with easily by Hiadlovsky who made the save then deflected the rebound out to Rene Jarolin who cleared the zone.
As Bison returned to full strength it was an immediate return to the play for Stuart Mogg who led the way for Aaron Connolly to come in and shoot but a deflection dealt with the danger.
At 25.54 pressure round the net led to the Bison second goal. Bison were in control, Antonov sent in the shot, Dan Davies tried the rebound but the second rebound fell for Jarolin who was away and netted with a nice wrap around. Gospel had taken one post for the Davies rebound but Jarolin sensed the open net at the other side and did the business.
It was nearly 3-1 soon after when Tomas Karpov combined with Grand Rounding but Rounding couldn’t finish the feed. Tigers transitioned quickly but the danger ended when Clarkson mis-handled the pass. Hiadlovsky did have to produce a sharp save when he kicked away a chance from Matty Davies but soon after Tigers were on the back foot when Clarkson took a roughing penalty at 31.30
It took 1.02 of the powerplay for the Bison to add to their score line as good special teams puck movement saw Jarolin find Balmer who slotted across to Long and Long’s blast went screeching into the back of the net.
Corey McEwen fed an opportunity in front of the net to Jason Silverthorn but a sharp pad save from Tomas Hiadlovksy denied Clarkson. Tigers resurgence continued when they got a powerplay as Rene Jarolin was called for hooking at 36.42. Other than a shot from Clarkson there wasn’t much of note on the powerplay but with 50 seconds left in the period Jarolin had returned to the play and again made his presence felt.
Balmer fed the puck to Long who moved into place and fired but a Gospel save left the rebound sat right next to his left pad. Jarolin pounced and tapped in near side.
21 seconds later, with 29 seconds left in the period Telford snuck back a late goal as Kolena and Clarkson combined to feed Silverthorn who fired in providing a slightly disappointing end to a period which had otherwise belonged to the home team.
Tigers were clearly buoyed on by their late second period goal as both Doug Clarkson and Dan Scott tried their luck early in the third, Clarkson with a blast and Scott with a blast that Matty Davies tried to deflect in.
Dan Rose got the puck from a face off and shot high over the target before Clarkson pounced on a Rounding turnover and shot on target but Hiadlovksy made the save. As the whistle went Clarkson then seemed to ask Jarabek for a dance but he declined.
At 43.58 Tigers got their best chance to come back when they got a powerplay after a tripping call on Karpov. Silverthorn tried twice with the man advantage, both times denied by Hiadlovsky.
At 45.30 Hiadlovksy steadied the puck and passed it on to Long who broke shorthanded. He advanced, waited and out-waited Gospel before backhanding the puck into the net for his hat trick goal.
Tigers didn’t help their cause at 47.13 when Dan Scott took a hooking penalty at 47.13 as he hauled back Rounding. It took just 14 seconds of powerplay time for the scoreboard to show 6-2 as Rene Jarolin became the second player in the same game to complete a hat trick. Karpov fed Long and selflessly Long fed Jarolin, sitting on 2 goals and Rene barrelled down before releasing a nice shot that was too good for the Tigers netminder and the crowd stood to celebrate the second hat trick of the game.
With Bison four to the good Silverthorn came racing down towards Hiadlovksy, shot and saw another one saved. At the other end after Connolly got the puck on net but Rounding’s tip went wide. Oakford teamed up with Davies to try a similar move but the tip went high over the goal and into the back netting.
With the final 10 minutes underway fractions saved the Tigers from going 7-2 down when Jan Jarabek left a beautiful drop pass for Aaron Connolly but the Bison captain’s shot rung off the metal work.
Clarkson lined up Jarabek for a hit and ended up totally missing. He then fell foul of the referee as he made up for missing his hit by taking an ill tempered whack at Jarabek earning a cross checking minor.
Gospel kept out the Bison powerplay chances and Clarkson returned. Silverthorn was again denied by the Hiadlovsky glove then Matt Towlaski found himself kept out by a Gospel save. With time closing out Tigers worked hard behind the Bison net to feed Rose on the doorstep but Hiadlovsky deflected his attempt away.
Long looked for his fourth of the night as he went looking for a wrap around but but Kolena took him down and with it offered Bison the chance to end the game with powerplay time.
With just 9 seconds left in the game Tom Watkins took the Tigers time out and swapped goalies with Ted Thompson taking the final 9 seconds which went without him seeing a shot.
The three game weekend would have been considered tough up to this week when the Tigers announced an enforced clear out! The Milton Keynes Lightning game was the toughest of the weekend, the end of game celebrations by their coach showing what it meant to them to finally get a win over the Bison this season. The season series still stands at 2-1 in favour of the Bison.
The knock on effect of the Friday game was that Derek Roehl was missing from Saturday’s clash against the Tigers. He picked up a match penalty at 60.00 in the previous night’s game and every match penalty carries with it a minimum mandatory one game suspension.
Following the much publicised Tigers financial woes new contracts were being negotiated with the Tigers players. Their Polish netminder had already left the club to take an offer back home. Slovak Michal Satek also departed, followed by Brits Phil Hill and then Joe Miller. A media release announced that the majority of the team had agreed terms. When I used to write media releases in Slough we never announced a player on “agreed terms”, we announced a player when their signature was on the contract!
Tigers started the game with Gospel in net. He had been the back up to Tom Murdy in the previous season and was the back up to Ondrej Raszka who left last weekend. He’s a decent netminder, he’s proven that but when he proved that he was behind a better defence. It’s tougher for the goalie when the team in front of them is weaker. Not only is his defence now not as strong as it was but up front has suffered losses too so their ability to score is also down. This means that his goals against average will be crucial as shots may well increase.
The Bison were good. Even without Derek Roehl they were good. Hiadlovsky pulled off some big saves again. It seems strange to say in a game where all 6 goals were shared between two players each with 3+2 but it was a great all round team performance.
Off the top of my head I don’t remember the last time I saw two players score a hat trick in the same game. I remember in my early days in Slough the Stefan brothers both got a hat trick in a game and a third player did the same. If memory serves me right it was Derek Higdon who got the third hat trick but British ice hockey was different back then.
I think the team spirit showed through on three specific occasions last night. When Ciaran Long scored his hat trick a hat appeared on the ice from the crowd as suspended Bison Derek Roehl celebrated the triple goal mile stone. Moments later when Ciaran had the chance to make his tally 4 he selflessly passed across the Rene to allow him the opportunity for his hat trick. Out came the Roehl cap again to celebrate the second hat trick. Even though he was blocked from taking part in the game while serving his suspension Roehl showed how much of a team guy he is.
Since the game changes have happened at the Bison. The sad news is that Jan Jarabek has departed. The media release states it’s for disciplinary reasons which is a shame as his performances were good. He came in and made an immediate impact but now his slot is up for grabs.
The good news is that Joe Miller has been added to the squad. Bison fans will know what they’ll get from him and he gives Shep extra depth up front. With the departure of Shaun Thompson the addition of Joe Miller balances up the forward lines again.
It’ll be a busy week in Basingstoke.