Running with the Herd – Bison vs Streatham IHC 08/12/18

NIHL 1 South

Basingstoke Bison 5-1 Streatham IHC “Redhawks”

Klejna x2 (1pp, 1sh)     Wood

Jones

Ralph pp

Bordowski

Up through the gears: After a couple of highly emotional games recently, it was good for the Bison to get back to something resembling normality. Streatham are obviously a good side but there isn’t that history between the two sides (at least yet) but a game that was just a game and didn’t have much in the way of any attachment to it as well as a game that allowed the Bison to just work through their game plan rather than needing to make an epic comeback was also good for the team.

After a slow start and the opposition dominating the early stages of the game, the Herd took control of the game from around the ten minute mark and despite being behind at the end of the first period, it felt like if the Bison got one goal then they would get two.

As it turned out, they got the one very quickly into the second period with Michal Klejna scoring in a small 10 second window where the Herd would have a man advantage and the Herd kicked on from there. They managed to outplay Streatham in most facets of the game for the remainder of the encounter, frustrating their visitors in the process even during an extended period of 5 on 3 penalty kill in the third period when the Bison managed to get into some penalty trouble. A short handed goal as well as playing an out of sorts of opponent made it easy for the Herd to close out the game.

Michal Klejna got the man of the match and the plaudits for two very nice and well taken goals. The first on that very short powerplay was the sort of sniping shot you expect from your import forward and a player of Klejna’s quality with the second being the sort of opportunity that the Slovak relishes. Ashley Tait did a superb job of tying up the point man on the powerplay and with the visitors flat footed, Adam Jones released Klejna into the space to race in and fire past Damien King in the Redhawks’ goal. It was one of Klejna’s better games this season where he managed to get himself enough space and that little extra second to do something with. Ashley Tait and Paul Petts (deputising on the second line for the suspended Liam Morris) did what they could to give him the puck and some space and it clearly showed.

For all of Klejna’s skill, the other big story of the night was the Bison’s third line. Danny Ingoldsby, George Norcliffe and Hallam Wilson have formed a particularly effective third unit which really shone on this occasion. At the start of this season one of the big issues for the Herd was going to be where they could get some depth from. In Ingoldsby, Norcliffe and Wilson they have found a line of young British players who have the ability to provide a bit of additional offence as well as combine to provide energy when required or be an old fashioned checking line when the Bison just need to make sure that the other side don’t score. Paul Petts and Oscar Evans rotated onto the line as well to give people a rest given that all three have proven themselves so capable that they get powerplay time and they too also provided some good value for money here.

It was also a good game from Alex Mettam. Whilst Dan Weller-Evans appears to be being given a chance to flex his netminding muscles on occasion, Mettam appears to be in a good vein of form with a well performing defence in front of him. His netminding numbers in the Autumn Cup damage the overall save percentage but his recent form has seen his numbers in league play hit 91.8% and his overall hit 89.9%. In some ways, the Bison’s Autumn Cup failure proved incredibly useful for a Bison roster with a new netminder and a new defence to warm up to each other. The roster have hit their stride. This bodes well.

This piece comes out with the added context of the win over Invicta from Sunday night where the Bison cruised past Invicta. With a tough fixture against Peterborough coming on Saturday, that momentum will be vital.

A word on our opponents: The way Streatham try to play appeals to me. There’s an honesty to it. It’s a compliment I’ve paid to teams over the years; minimal off the puck nonsense, hard nosed, head down, stick to the systems and try to win. It’s becoming a hallmark of Jeremy Cornish’s coaching style. The problem on this night was that Streatham needed someone to be a gamebreaker and they didn’t have one. That gritty, “all for one, one for all” mentality works on some nights but against a team in a decent bit of form who managed to frustrate them, it didn’t work here.

It’s no hyperbole to say that the Redhawks bossed the first 10 minutes of the game and their effort over the 60 minutes definitely deserved a goal. They were rewarded with a beautiful shot from Adam Wood who saw the gap over Alex Mettam’s shoulder on the short side. The issue for the visitors was even though the got the first goal, the tide of the game was turning against them.

Even with their loss on Sunday at home against Milton Keynes, Streatham didn’t come into the game with the best of form and this defeat reflected a team that is getting easily frustrated when things are not going their way. Adam Carr; quiet. Leigh Jamieson, got frustrated and his biggest contribution was chirping Hallam Wilson. Alex Roberts; tried to do too much himself and made poor choices. Michael Farn; got frustrated and didn’t have the impact we’ve come to expect of the league’s player of the season. The roster as a whole didn’t play terribly but they didn’t play well enough.

It happens to all teams; you don’t play well enough, you get outplayed and you lose. That’s hockey, that’s life. I don’t think even the most ardent Streatham fan will feel that they were the better team here but with the addition of the loss on Sunday, we have two teams travelling in opposite directions. There may well be changes coming to South London.

Lowlight of the night: The first ten minutes weren’t great.

Highlight of the night: It’s either Klejna’s shorthanded goal or Alex Mettam’s reaction to Alex Roberts missing the net and the plexi from the top of the crease, “faceoff’s outside, mate”.

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Running with the Herd – Bison vs Bracknell Bees 01/12/18

NIHL 1 South

Basingstoke Bison 3-1 Bracknell Bees

Bordowski pp               Antonov

Cowley pp

Sandford

Heart in to it: Before the game as the Bison lined up to be announced onto the ice, the players got themselves into their customary positions. Some stay in the tunnel and some crowd by the bench door. The build up to this game at times felt like it was more with the fanbases than the players, especially with both coaches in the build up trying to make the point that it was just one game and just two points. However as the Bison readied themselves to hit the ice Jay King, bobbing his head to the music, looked at Adam Jones with a big smile on his face and shouted “let’s (expletive) go!” If the players were saying it was just another game, they clearly had bought into the hype by faceoff time.

Let’s make no bones about this, that was not a pretty game of hockey however from how the Bison approached it I don’t think that was the intention. The top two lines were shuffled as Russ Cowley moved to playing with Ashley Tait and Michal Klejna with Liam Morris paying with Alex Sampford and Richard Bordowski and where the Bison have always had a bit of physicality to their game, stylistically they moved from being more pass orientated to upping the physicality and disrupting the Bees’ passing game by closing down the space. It meant at times that the Bison looked a bit uninspiring, almost like they were playing a road game at home but it worked. The Bees were unable to get much going through the game (we’ll touch more on that a bit later) and the Bison used some of the plethora of chances that were given and made them count.

The one big issue that appeared out of this game was that the Bison powerplay at times lurched from being effective to at times almost being a power kill. That inability to do much when being given that many chances to do something is a concern and you assume that has to be a big part of what’s being worked on in training this upcoming week. The Bison spent around half the period on the powerplay and were credited with one shot.

Russ Cowley earned the beers and given his performance it was a fair reward for the captain’s performance on this night. He took his goal well. This was the sort of game that needed a steady head from a veteran and Cowley, who has consistently been one of the Bison’s better performers this season, did all the little things well which is what the Bison needed in a game of small margins like this.

It was an overall team performance as we’ve said though again the team defence, which was a bit wobbly at the start of the season, has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of weeks. Bar the second period of the Romford game where the entire roster forgot how to play the game, everyone from Alex Mettam outwards just seem to be getting their defensive systems in a much better shape and that’s encouraging. The defensive pairings were slightly changed up for the game as part of Tait’s plans for the encounter but the Herd didn’t seem to suffer as a result. Alex Mettam also now appears to have his eye well and truly in when it comes to seeing the puck and this is also hugely important.

The incident with Liam Morris and Josh Martin was certainly unsavoury and both players should expect suspensions from it in spite of the on ice calls. Aside from whether Josh Martin should expect retribution for slashing the opposition netminder, he cannot throw off a linesman (an act that seemingly received no penalty) to get into a fight. Whether unintentional or not, and he maintains he’s not done it deliberately, Liam Morris can’t be seen to headbutt people. Morris’ match penalty will likely see him get a bigger suspension but the EIHA disciplinary committee can only expect more ridicule after the decision surrounding Roman Malinik if Martin sees no sanction following his actions either.

That unpleasantness aside, this game proved to be what many hoped it would be. Yes, a Bison win is nice but there’s some spice back in this rivalry. The rink was full, the fans kept is good natured for the most part and there was an entertaining albeit somewhat ugly game of hockey. We’ll all have worse Saturday nights.

A word on our opponents: There was an odd moment just before this game where I was unsure of what to expect from the Bracknell Bees before I realised that I knew exactly what I was getting after 6 years of it here. Doug Sheppard didn’t become a poor coach when he moved his services up the M3 and for all the jokes about ex-Bison, this is a very Doug Sheppard roster.

It also showed some of the weaknesses of a Doug Sheppard roster that I spent 6 years writing about. They needed the space to pass round their opposition, they didn’t get it and struggled. They needed Dean Skinns to have some time to see the shot, he didn’t get the time to react and conceded three goals. They went for skill and finesse (with all due respect, Scott Spearing and James Galazzi are never going to win awards for finesse) over physicality and got outmuscled on the night in the key situations.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t a physical element to the Bees game but the issue was that they made poor decisions with it. The Bees took far too many penalties which given that Mr Matthews is an official who likes to let the game flow shows how obvious some of the calls are. Yes, the Bison powerplay had a poor night but it was always going to be something of an uphill struggle when the team spent so much time shorthanded. However this was the criticism of the Bison during Sheppard’s time; his roster was overly physical in the wrong ways and it cost them on occasions.

Roman Malinik got the man of the match beers for the Bees and to be honest, I’m not sure that was the correct call. Malinik was certainly the major attacking conduit for the Bees and he certainly put the effort in but I do that the execution left something to be desired.

If I was to choose for the Bees then the one player who looked head and shoulders above the rest of the roster was Ed Knaggs. The young defenceman appears to have come on massively since I last saw him and whilst the increased ice time in the NIHL will certainly be a boon for him, this writer feels that a longer term EIHL career beckons if he chooses that direction.

This wasn’t a good night for the Bees. They got knocked off their game, struggled to get anything really going and looked second best on the reflection of the 60 minutes. It’s been an interesting season for them so far and games that they arguably should have won, haven’t. On this week’s BOTW Podcast, Bees TV voice Graham Bell said that this year was about changing the culture and rebuilding for the Bees. I’m inclined to agree as Rome wasn’t built in a day but if the Bees are wanting to build on a decent start then games like this need to be few and far between.

Lowlight of the night: The Martin/Morris incident

Highlight of the night: An entertaining and emotional derby game that was decently officiated for the most part that the Bison won. I’ll take that.


The BOTW Podcast – episode 79

It’s been hotting up this week as we’ve been getting closer to Doug Sheppard’s return to Basingstoke with the Bees. It’s all been getting a bit tense so what does the BOTW Podcast do? Anthony gets the voice of Bees TV and former Bison head of media Graham Bell on the show to be silly (and a bit serious too) as they chat over why Graham joined the Bees, the new order of things at Bracknell and a host of other stuff.

Remember to subscribe to The BOTW Podcast on iTunes HERE (go on, leave us 5 stars) and make sure you let us know what you like on Twitter or the BOTW Facebook page once you’ve listened.

The BOTW Podcast in association with Victory Hockey UK; the news, action and views from the NIHL and all levels above, below and in between.


Running with the Herd – Bison vs Romford Raiders 24/11/18

NIHL 1 South

Basingstoke Bison 6-5 Romford Raiders after OT

Tait                               Chong

Bordowski x4 (1pp)      Huska

Sampford (6on5)          Wells

                                     Scott pp

                                     Ayliffe

Speechless: Though we should say dear reader, not totally devoid of words. Just before this game, I tweeted that I was looking forward to it as I like the way that both sides play hockey. We got this and everyone woke up off of the back of one of the craziest games in recent Bison history.

We’ll get into the good stuff in a bit but we do need to address a second period that might rank as one of the worst periods of hockey that this site has ever covered. Off the back of a first period where the Bison were leading 1-0, the Herd fell asleep and were stung by two very well worked goals. In essence the Bison did all the little things wrong; they gave a gritty side space to work in, didn’t offer Alex Mettam support and got rightly punished. After that and finding themselves 2-1 down, the Herd lost their heads. Rather than getting into the ins and outs of Mr Belfitt’s decisions that I agreed and disagreed with, the focus has to go on how the Bison responded to them. It’s annoying to hear but people need to remember that officials do not win or lose hockey games, players do. Yes, passion is important in games and there are even moments in the second period that we can understand why they would have reacted that way but it didn’t help. Poor decision making in their minds and on the ice is what saw the Bison in such a big hole at the end of the second period. That was on all of them.

This has been the issue for the Bison so far this season is getting that consistency, getting that 60 minute game from the Herd. The Bison didn’t turn up in the middle period. If they’re 5-1 down against Swindon do they come back to win? What about Peterborough? The Bison have decent systems but they need to apply them for the duration of the game and not phase in and out.

Then there was the third period. It doesn’t erase the second period from our memories and in some ways it makes the third period that bit more frustrating because they had this in them and seemingly lost their ability to even pass straight for 20 minutes but this comeback will live long in the memory of Bison fans who were there. It was one for the ages.

The Bison’s first goal was arguably the prettiest of the night as Michal Klejna and Paul Petts set up Ashley Tait but Richard Bordowski’s 4 goal effort was a thing of beauty to watch. The Czech forward put the team on his back in the third period and dragged the Bison back into the game and kept exposing a weakness in the Raiders’ defence and kept finding the five hole of Clements. By the time that the Bison made overtime off of the back of Alex Sampford’s late heroics, it seemed that there would only be one winner and there would only be one person to score it. As soon as Tait’s feed came from behind the net, the Hollywood ending was already written.

This game saw a productive return to the ice for Liam Morris. Back from his injury in a full visor, Morris returned to his usual antics of flying around like a pinball. When he got stood up at the blueline, he got back up and laid a big hit on someone else. He drove the net, got into the corners and tried to make things happen setting up two of Bordowski’s goals in the process.

The game was terrible for Alex Mettam’s stats line but the Bison’s netminder made a string of good saves whilst getting little support from his team mates at times. They thankfully came back into it and repaid some of the heroics of earlier in the game even if the Yorkshireman needs to be more subtle about slashing the backs of forwards’ knees.

Can the Bison play like this every game? Well, they certainly can’t repeat this game verbatim or they’ll be in a lot of trouble. That or there will be loads of insurance claims for the multiple heart attacks they’ll cause. The quality and consistency of play might be an issue at times but the heart of this team cannot be questioned.

A word on our opponents: This is a surreal enough piece at the moment without having to look at the other side of the equation but given this isn’t the first time that this has happened to the Raiders this season, you have to start wondering what is happening with Romford here.

Yes, the Bison were the masters of their own demise in the second period but the Raiders had to take the chances they were handed and did so. They finished the first strongly and carried that momentum into the second where they just ran roughshod over the Bison. It wasn’t even that the Raiders were needing to use lots of fancy moves but were causing issues with good old fashioned, straight to the net hockey and it proved effective. A static Bison defence meant that there was a free man at the back door on multiple occasions or just enough chaos in front to do the damage.

Then there was the third period and I’m betting that Raiders fans wished I would stop there. The visitors didn’t play badly in the third but they got put on the back foot and just couldn’t find a way to stem the tide. The vuvuzelas from the away end went quiet, the heads dropped both on and off the ice and there was nothing that could be done.

Blahoslav Novak was announced as man of the match but it was actually Juraj Huska and that was a fair result. Huska has always had a good write up but has never made a massive impact when I’ve seen him though he managed so on this night. His goal to put the Raiders in front was a particularly impressive shot through a crowd of players as Mettam was screened by his own defenceman.

During the week, Raiders’ coach Sean Easton said that the Raiders would beat the Bison during the season. I can only feel that Easton was sat at home after this game wondering how this wasn’t that occasion.

Lowlight of the night: The second period

Highlight of the night: The third period and watching Tony Redmond make Liam Morris take a seat so he could yell at Mr Belfitt then sending Morris to the box to sit his abuse of official penalty.


The BOTW Podcast – episode 78

To say it’s been a tough season for the Invicta Dynamos would be an understatement of some size. Anthony speaks to netminder Conor Morris about his career, the Dynamos’ winless season so far, the money issues and the successful crowdfunding campaign. It’s a good chat with a fascinating young man.

Remember to subscribe to The BOTW Podcast on iTunes HERE (go on, leave us 5 stars) and make sure you let us know what you like on Twitter or the BOTW Facebook page once you’ve listened.

The BOTW Podcast in association with Victory Hockey UK; the news, action and views from the NIHL and all levels above, below and in between.


Running with the Herd – Bison vs Swindon Wildcats 10/11/18

NIHL 1 South

Basingstoke Bison 3-2 Swindon Wildcats after penalty shots

Bordowski pp               Nell pp

Cowley                         Bullas

Penalty shots (Widcats shoot first)

Klejna – goal                Kostal – saved

Cowley – miss              C. Jones – miss

                                     Nell – miss

Enjoyment and surprise: Before this game, a few people that I spoke to were honest in their predictions; they thought that the Bison would lose this game. Instead they were treated to a victory; one that lurched from passages of play that were the most complete we’ve seen the Herd to looking downright disjointed but it was a superb game of hockey, generally played in the right spirit that both teams arguably deserved something from.

Still without Liam Morris due to his shoulder injury, the Bison were forced to experiment. With Oxford’s game meaning Lee Richardson was not available, Paul Petts stepped onto the second line with Ashley Tait and Michal Klejna. It was something of an unusual combination and at times it seemed that Petts wasn’t given the puck in positions where he could have done some damage but to Petts’ credit, he didn’t embarrass himself. Clearly being used to make space for his coach and one off the imports, Petts could have been something of a shrinking violet but instead got stuck in with all facets of the play. He did have slightly shorter shifts than Tait and Klejna but as a covering option, the former Bison junior gave a good account of himself.

Slovakian Klejna had another unusual evening. Seemingly in the wars again, Klejna drew penalty after penalty from the visitors and arguably should have had one penalty shot. The first instant definitely wasn’t but the second penalty he drew was much closer to the line for that. Either way, Klejna put in another industrious performance and scored a superb penalty shot to get the Herd the extra point.

It was also a good game for Richard Bordowski. Whilst the Czech man’s performance waned a bit in the final period, the Wildcats struggled to deal with Bordowski for the first two periods. His physicality and skill caused an array for problems for Aaron Nell’s side. He took his goal well but it was his pressure and build up play for the Bison’s second was what really caught the eye. It also helped that both Renny Marr and Stephen Whitfield had a moment where both they forgot how their hands worked as both missed the puck skimming across the crease, tried to grab it, missed and left Russ Cowley to tap in at the back door. Bordowski was unfortunate to miss out on taking a shot in the shootout after being called for netminder interference when he was steered into Marr by a Wildcats defender. Ashley Tait’s outburst at this after that saw him thrown out of the game

Whilst there were some inopportune moments that the Bison will have to work on, this was possibly the most complete performance so far from the Herd. It does fall under that category of a team playing better against a “better quality opponent” but the overall team work ethic was superb from the Bison. It kept the fans in the game which is important at home and combined with periods where they bossed the Wildcats meant that it always looked like the Herd would get something from the game.

The issue for the Bison has been that consistency and they need to press on against the Thunder to keep in the title race. A 4 point weekend is needed.

A word on our opponents: When the season kicked off two months ago I think many of us, including this writer, were of the opinion that Swindon would be a top team in this league. After their two trophy haul last season many people felt that Swindon had to be contenders in the title race. However the schedule has meant that it’s taken two months to get to the point where we’ve gotten to see them play in Basingstoke. On the balance of the 60 minutes it was a very Swindon like performance albeit one that I don’t think that Aaron Nell would be 100% satisfied with.

The Wildcats had the better of the early going in this game but after that 5on3 that saw the Bison take the lead, they found themselves on the back foot until the later stages of the game when at 2-1 they forced the issue and levelled the tie through a very well worked move that was finished by Sam Bullas.

The issue for Swindon here was whilst they were missing a couple of players in Adam Harding and Floyd Taylor who have been important cogs in the roster, there wasn’t enough on display from the top end players. Renny Marr made some decent saves that deserved commendation and got him man of the match but there were stretches when the guys who you expect to make waves didn’t. Despite going 1+1 on the night even Aaron Nell looked slightly off colour, hitting more iron than a gym obsessive.

The Wildcats had really good breakouts and the speed that you expect of an Aaron Nell built roster and those things unnerve any opposition audience but for large stretches of the game Swindon appeared to hit the Bison blueline and their heads went empty as to what they should do. Given their dominance of the play and chances in the first 5 minutes, it appeared that the Bison might be in for a long night. Instead the Wildcats took their foot off of the gas and found themselves in a difficult situation.

Let’s not mince words here though, Swindon are good. The difference between Swindon and Peterborough however is how clinical the Phantoms were compared to the Wildcats. I realise the irony of this statement given that the night before, the Phantoms had knocked the Wildcats out of the Autumn Cup (only in British hockey could a team win a competition named “Autumn Cup” and lose it 6 months later) though it does prove the point. The talent is very much there in this Wildcats roster but if they have too many nights like this then that illusive league title will remain just that. A point was the least they deserved on the quality of their play but not the quality of their execution.

Lowlight of the night: Aside from the Wildcats first goal, Max Birbraer thinking it appropriate to walk onto the Bison bench and swear that loudly with kids nearby.

Highlight of the night: Aside from Dan Weller-Evans pushing Birbraer back towards the Wildcats’ half of the bench, Bordowski in the lead up to the Bison’s second goal was awesome.


Running with the Herd – Bison vs Invicta Dynamos 27/10/18

NIHL 1 South

Basingstoke Bison 5-3 Invicta Dynamos

Norcliffe Miles

Ingoldsby Piačka

Morris Susters

Ralph

Jones pp

However it comes: The Bison’s rotation of youngsters saw Oscar Evans and Sam Brooks sit out in favour of Cameron Buckle and Rhys McCormick with the Buffalo’s Kevin McGurk deputising for Dan Weller-Evans. (Hear Dan talk about his injury and more on the latest BOTW Podcast)

Sometimes you win pretty, sometimes you win ugly and on this occasion the Bison won ugly as it was not a classic performance by any stretch. The first period saw the Herd dominate but in the later two periods were much closer than they had any right to be. The Bison didn’t get out of second gear in the first frame and seemed to get stuck in it for the remaining 40 minutes against a side that set out to disrupt their style of play as well, giving up the neutral zone then clogging all the lanes as soon as the Herd got over the blueline. That’s not to say that the Herd didn’t deserve the win, they did and the scoreline flatters the visitors but this is a trap that Bison rosters under Doug Sheppard fell into as well as teams the the world older where they got sucked into and nearly got caught by a side that didn’t offer much offensively.

If anything for the Herd, it was a night for the depth guys. The top two lines seemed to be the ones that really suffered as the disruption tactics were aimed at their style of play. Michal Klejna spent most of his night wondering what he needed to do to have anything go his way.

Richard Bordowski’s frustrations were also evident and he was lucky to not pick up a penalty when he made contact with Morris in the Invicta net. Dynamos coach Kev Parrish was seen having a very animated discussion with Tom Ralph in the second break about the the two times Morris was collided with. The first saw Dynamos defender Andy Munroe steer Danny Ingoldsby into his own netminder so Parrish’s complaints are unjustified on that occasion but Bordowski, who came to the Bison with an above average penalty minute count needs to avoid incidents like this and the Dynamos were rightly aggrieved at the lack of penalty from Mr Evans on the play.

The third line of Hallam Wilson, George Norcliffe and man of the match Danny Ingoldsby were by far the most effective line for the Bison on this night. Whilst Wilson seems to suffer from some bizarre affliction by where he cannot score at home, where this line succeeded when the top two lines didn’t was they were direct. Where the “skill” players tried to go around, this lot went through and it worked. Ingoldsby in particular had a very good night where he continually caused Conor Morris issues in and around the net. Given the disparity in playing styles that we’re seeing between sides at the top and bottom of the league, this trend is good for the Bison. Secondary scoring is always a massive part of any team’s success but if sides are going to effectively disrupt the passing game of the top two lines then there has to be another option and whilst the third line can’t be relied on to score tons of points, if they can be relied upon to be the pointed end of the wedge on occasions to start something, this will be very useful.

Some will point to this being a worrying performance from the Herd heading into their games with Bracknell and Streatham but what it became was energy conservation rather than an immediate concern. Teams struggle to get going at times whatever their quality and that’s a danger for every side but the Bison can take solace in the bigger picture. The Herd did not ultimately expend too much energy in this performance and got the two points into the bargain. Coach Ashley Tait will no doubt take that for a Saturday evening’s end result.

A word on our opponents: Despite saying above that I felt the score flattered the visitors, Invicta deserve some credit for this game. There’s no way to sugar coat it; the Dynamos were poor in the first period and looked like if it continued that they’d be on the end of another double digit hammering on the road.

Instead they regrouped well, got an early goal in the second and found a way to keep themselves in the game whilst whittling away at their hosts’ resolve. They stopped the top end players getting space and time to do anything that would cause damage.

The somewhat unusual problem was that they didn’t have an answer for the Bison’s line that was playing a closer style to their own. That’s not to say that there’s not a bit of skill in the Dynamos’ roster but considering how they played the rest of the game, that they struggled so much against a line that played that physical style was confusing.

Louis Colvin was a good choice for man of the match for the visitors. Colvin, a player that’s been given a chance under Parrish’s coaching to express himself, clearly has a lot of potential. With the Dynamos’ shorter bench at the moment, Colvin is getting a lot of ice time to show that he can be used in those crucial situations.

With no Ondrej Zosiak on display, Edmund Piačka was the sole import for the visitors and he’s one that’s divided opinions amongst those that have seen him. Piačka reminds me of former Bison forwards, Ondrej Lauko and Greg Chambers in the sense that he appears to be a natural sniper. Give him time, space and the puck and the puck will go in but he’s not going to create tons of space for others and that’s what will frustrate fans who will think “the import needs to be able to do all this” when actually Parrish has signed a natural goalscorer. He’s signed a Gary Lineker when the fans were perhaps wanting a Paul Gascoigne.

The league table makes depressing reading for the Dynamos fans and that’s understandable. The game plan that they had made sense but they didn’t have that bit extra to make it come off.

Lowlight of the night: The first Dynamos goal; if that doesn’t go in then the game doesn’t become the somewhat bitty mess that the fans were treated to.

Highlight of the night: The performance of the third line, pleasing