BASINGSTOKE, UK – The Bison signed off 2013 on a winning note as they beat the visiting Sheffield Steeldogs 5-4 after a shootout.
The Herd certainly did not win easily on Sunday night, as they trailed 2-0 and 3-1, before taking the victory.
Sheffield’s very impressive import Lubomir Korhon opened the scoring with the first shot of the game at 63 seconds.
The visitors then added a second when Andrew Hirst was left unmarked in the slot.
The Bison already minus one of their five defenseman, then lost another as their import Miroslav Vantroba was dismissed.
The Slovak who had only taken 36 minutes in penalties so far this season added 32 minutes (2+10+game) to his tally after being incensed when called for tripping after he hip checked Korhon, by referee Dave Cloutman.
So, this was meant that Michael Wales had to move from forward and defense and ended the game plus one.
The Herd hauled themselves back into game as Aaron Connolly scored before the first break.
However, the Steeldogs extended their lead to 3-1 from Lee Haywood as he scored from the blue line early in the second session.
The Bison’s Andy Melachrino pulled a goal back as Stuart Mogg picked up his first point of the season.
The Herd deserved to be level at the second break, but did early in the final period as it took them four seconds to convert an Andre Payette penalty, as Joe Greener scored.
Back came the Steeldogs to take the lead again from Ben Morgan, but the Bison were not finished and Ciaran Long levelled the scores again.
The home side continued to dominate the final 10 minutes as the 15-3 shot count demonstrated.
Overtime also failed to split the teams, so the game was decided by a shoot-out and after five shooters had failed to hit the target.
Joe Miller in his final home game before his move to Telford fired home the winner to give the Herd a well-deserved victory.
“We played Bison hockey which is high energy play with a lot of intensity. When we play like that the bounces will end up coming your way and we are a match for any team,” said Basingstoke player/coach Doug Sheppard.
The previous night, Aaron Nell scored a hat-trick on his return to the Swindon Wildcats from the Sheffield Steelers as they beat the Bison 7-5 as Long and Miller scored braces for the losers and Vantroba netted the other.
The Bison now have two crunch games in the space of four days as they are on the road to title rivals Guildford Flames on New Year’s Day and then face leaders Manchester Phoenix on home ice.
Contact the author Graham.Merry@Prohockeynews.com