Running with the Herd – Bison vs Swindon Wildcats 26/10/11

Basingstoke Bison 5-2 Swindon Wildcats

Kubenko x3                 Cesky

Bronnimann                 Knight

Chong

 

Immediate dividends: Well, wasn’t that an almost fairy tale style evening? A lot of pressure and expectations were on Kubenko’s shoulders last night. The crowd was also buzzing at his return.

The Bison started the game with a lot of fire in their bellies, putting pressure on Tom Murdy in the Wildcats goal. Then out of nowhere they put themselves in an all too familiar hole, being 2-0 down within a space of 2 minutes on the game clock across the first break. Then out of nowhere, it all came to life.

Kubenko’s first goal sparked the crowd and the team back into life and it was like he’d not been away. Goal 1 was a snapshot from the slot off a pass from down low. Goal 2 saw Chinn fire wide into the end boards, the puck then bounced off the end boards onto Kubenko’s stick who fired past Murdy who was slow to get across. Goal 3 was a bit of hack and slash at the puck in front of the net but in it went and the crowd was dancing in their seats.

 

Not just a one man show part 1: The other two goals from the Bison were firstly, great shots and secondly, well worked.

Bronnimann’s goal (and the game winning goal it should be mentioned) came after Kubenko took the zone. The Machine fed the puck to Bronnimann as Chinn cut across the centre, providing something of a screen. Bronnimann fired a laser of a shot which Murdy got a piece of but not enough as the puck clipped the top of his glove and hit the back of the net.

Chong’s goal owed a lot to Craig Tribe. Tribe carried the puck through the neutral into the attacking zone, made his way round one player into the corner then played keep away before feeding Chong who was level with the hashmarks and he fired into the roof of the net over Murdy’s glove. Yet another point from our really productive third line!

 

Not just a one man show part 2: The fact Kubenko did what he did meant he got all the plaudits but I thought Tony Redmond was outstanding in this game. He was solid defensively, making a number of great plays to keep the Wildcats at bay including a fantastic pokecheck whilst sliding on his knees that had Pete Russell shouting expletives from the Swindon bench. On attack in the second period before the Bison scored they looked flat and were 2-0 down. Redmond appeared to decide that if you want something done right, do it yourself and went on a few very productive charges up the ice. Sadly the finish wasn’t there but this is the sort of thing you want from your veterans. “Team’s not producing? Fine, I’ll show you how it’s done.”

 

Petran vs Cesky: Marcel Petran might possess jazz hands for scoring but the majority of his job last night was keeping the ever dangerous Cesky in check. Petran managed for the most part, bar the lapse that led to the Wildcats’ opening goal.

Things really heated up in the third period between the two; first Cesky came into the Bison zone one on one and tried to skate through Petran. Anybody who has ever seen Petran knows this is a bad idea on many levels as the defenceman unceremoniously dumped the former EPL 1st team all star to the ice.

Then with time winding down Cesky lost the plot. After Petran had landed a huge hit on Sam Bullas, Cesky took offense and punched Petran in the back of the head. This led to a brawl of sorts that included all the outskaters and Shane Moore piling in to help Cesky. Moore’s reward was a pasting from Petran. Cesky’s prize for his moment of madness was 2 minutes for roughing, 2 minutes for high sticks and 5+game for roughing. Other players on the ice who joined in got 2 minutes for roughing which led to one of the funniest moments many had witnessed at a hockey game.

 

Everybody wave!: With 4 Bison players in the box and Bavy bringing the tunes whilst Dave Cloutman was sorting out who had gotten what penalty, out of nowhere they all put their arms round each other and start swaying in time to the music. Laughter ensues on the Bison bench and in the stands.

Then suddenly Kubenko stands up and leads a Mexican wave in the penalty box! Eventually Cloutman cottoned on to what was happening and gave them a talking to only for his back to turn and Marcel Petran to start dancing in the doorway of the Bison changing room. You probably had to be there but I enjoyed it.

 

Hold your horses: People say very few sensible things on THF but one good thing appeared, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Whilst I don’t share the…well I call it cynicism, those posting it will call it realism as is their right…anyway whilst I don’t share those opinions, I do agree with them on one point; lets not get ahead of ourselves. Last night was 1 game, a very good game and an important one psychologically for the Bison as they pulled out of their slump a bit. That said there will be tougher tests than Swindon to come and we need to see how this team does against a sterner foe.

 

A word on our opponents: A lot of hustle and bustle but Swindon weren’t good enough to win on the night. Swindon apparently only had 11 shots which I struggle to believe as did the Wildcats fans I spoke to afterwards. I didn’t think Tom Murdy had a great game in net but it wasn’t a terrible performance from the former Coventry backup. Nicky Watt was a decent enough choice for man of the match; he put himself about a fair bit though with minimal effect. I would have given Swindon’s man of the match to James Knight myself, just for the second goal. It was a lovely move that had Skinns not really knowing what was going on before it was slotted past him.

 

Lowlight of the night: After missing the warmup, Chris Wiggins iced in the first period but very little in the second and not at all in the third. Wiggins is a vital cog in the machine in terms of team toughness and physicality so if he’s injured, that’s not a good thing.

 

Highlight of the night: Honourable mentions to Daniel Volrab’s flying pokecheck and Redmond’s pokecheck sliding backwards on his knees but this was Kubenko’s night. There’s no real two ways about it, that was just outright fun to watch.

 

No Running with the Herd after this week’s Manchester game from me as I am in Coventry. Instead on Monday night you get a special Banners On The Wall On Tour from Sunday’s EIHL encounter between former Bison centre Greg Owen and the Coventry Blaze and the Sheffield Steelers.

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