Bison look to end trophy wait with Lightning strike Herd hope for cup final glory

BASINGSTOKE, UK – The Bison will hope to end a 14 year wait and lift their first trophy on Wednesday night, when they face the Milton Keynes Lightning on home ice in the second leg of the EPL Cup final.

The Herd have a three goal cushion going into second game of the series thanks to a 4-1 win in Coventry, which is MK’s home for this season, last week.Bison Logo

The away leg was an even affair in the first 20 minutes as Bison’s Andy Melachrino and Blaz Emersic swapped goals.

The contest was won in the second session as Miroslav Vantroba and Melachrino both scored on the powerplay and then Ciaran Long added a fourth goal to make it 4-1.

So the Herd will start as favourites for the second leg and looking through the history books they will have reason to be hopeful of winning the cup.

In 32 visits to Basingstoke, MK have only once won by more than three goals and that was way back in 1991.

However, it is sure to a tense evening as Basingstoke is a happy hunting ground for the Lightning as they have chalked up five wins on their last eight visits, but in all those games they have never managed to score more than three goals.

The victory in Coventry was the Bison’s seventh win on the trot which was a season’s high, but the winning run came to an end on Saturday night as the Herd lost 5-2 at home to the Swindon Wildcats in the EPL.

Henri Sandvik did most of the damage with a four point haul which included a hat-trick, while Jan Kostal and Floyd Taylor scored the other goals.

The Herd’s brace came from Miroslav Vantroba.

“We are in good position in the final, but know we have to play better than we did against Swindon. It was not a good performance,” said Doug Sheppard.

With Manchester winning twice over the weekend, they are now in the box seat for the championship as they lead Basingstoke by four points with four games to play.

The sides meet in Manchester for the title decider on Sunday night, but ahead of this the Bison have a tough looking home game against the Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday.

Contact the author Graham.Merry@Prohockeynews.com

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