BASINGSTOKE, UK – The Bison’s reign at the top of the EPL was ended after 12 days on Sunday night as the Herd’s third defeat on the trot saw them slide to third spot.
The home loss to the Telford Tigers ended a run of seven straight wins in Basingstoke.
The first two sessions saw just one goal from the visitors scored by Nathan Salem.
The final 20 minute period saw a goal rush early on as Telford’s Miika Kivranta scored and 12 seconds later Nicky Chinn got the Bison on the board.
Three goals in just over 60 seconds saw flying Finn Kivranta grabbed another to make it 3-1, before Andy Melachrino replied for the Herd.
It stayed a one goal game until the final minute, when Scott McKenzie fired into the empty net to make the final score 4-2, which was the same margin the Bison won the league series over the Tigers.
The following night, the Bison travelled north to face a Manchester Phoenix side with the best home record in the league of just one defeat in 16 matches.
Melachrino gave the Herd an early lead, but two quick goals from Ben Wood and Frankie Bakrlik put the Phoenix ahead at the first buzzer.
Two goals from defenseman Luke Boothroyd extended the advantage and the home side scored a fifth, but Bakrlik’s effort was washed out as Basingstoke’s goalie Dean Skinns was injured in the build-up to the goal.
Having been helped off the ice and the second period suspended with 77 seconds left, the Bison shot stopper returned and Tomas Karpov netted which gave the visitors some hope.
However, despite out shooting the home side in the last 20 minutes the only goal came from the Phoenix as James Archer added a fifth.
“It was a disappointing weekend and we are now on our worst run of the season.
“I have ever confidence in the players in the room, that we can bounce back starting with our game against Peterborough on Saturday,” said Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard.
This Saturday with both the Bison’s title rivals not in action they have the chance once again to move into pole position in the EPL, as long as they take a point from their home game with the Peterborough Phantoms.
The Herd will be hoping for two points and looking at the history books they should do this as Peterborough have lost on their last five visits and in total have only won three times in 26 trips to Basingstoke.
Contact the author Graham.Merry@Prohockeynews.com