Running with the Herd – Bison vs Peterborough Phantoms 05/11/11Posted: 06/11/2011
Basingstoke Bison 4-3 Peterborough Phantoms (OT)
Moria Ziedins x2
A game of two Bison: Early on Saturday afternoon, Bison fan and stats nut Ray Skeates (aka @PTWalnut) tweeted “Which team will show up Bison Jekyll or Bison Hyde?” The answer turned out to be a bit of both.
Bison dominated the first period as Peterborough looked like they’d sleepwalked onto the ice. Goal 1 came off the back of a save from Matt Colclough which saw the first line break down ice. Volrab passed to Joe Miller whose shot was saved and Moria charged in to put the rebound past Wall. Goal 2 saw Marcel Petran shoot from a tight angle and Wall wasn’t hugging his post tight enough so in the puck went. Phantoms called a timeout to settle the nerves but it was 3-0 before the break. Jacob Heron blocked a clearing attempt on the forecheck, the puck fell to him and with time he picked out the top corner to compound the Phantoms’ misery.
Then it all seemed to grind to a halt.
Ziedins, the only real offensive threat that the Phantoms possessed, scored two goals in 2 and a half minutes. Both were rocket shots from opposite sides of the ice, both beating Colclough high glove side. Out of nowhere Peterborough were back in a game they really had no business to be in.
From there on out it was what’s become a somewhat typical Bison performance of recent years; a lot of huffing and puffing but a lack of the house coming down. Wall faced 61 shots in the end but the finish just didn’t seem to be there at times. There were periods when neither side could string two passes together and the Bison seemed to want to be too pretty on the puck rather than do the simple things.
With time winding down in the third period it was another whole team defensive lapse that sent the game to overtime. With the entire crowd yelling “back door” at the top of its lungs Jeff Glowa ghosted in unopposed, took the pass and tapped home. 3-3 and I have to confess to feeling rather frustrated.
In overtime the Bison picked up their game and looked the more likely to score. Finally all the offence paid off. The umpteenth turnover by the Phantoms in their own zone saw Kubenko and Miller pass between each other before the Welshman fired the puck past his former team mate Wall to seal the win.
I think the peptic ulcer I gave myself watching this game has subsided.
Defending: As much as team defence seems to be an issue with the team as proved with the Glowa equaliser, I don’t think the 5 defencemen played that badly. Kurt Reynolds got man of the match for his performance where he made several key plays at crucial moments to snuff out Phantoms attacks combined with the usual display of Reynolds brand skill and being able to turn on a sixpence.
The other person who was worth a shout man of the match for me was Dan Harris who seems to have really settled into the EPL now. Combined with a moment where he did a netminder impression in the slot to stop a blueline drive, Harris would have been my choice for the beers as I thought he was that impressive last night. Several great moves to kill attacks, handy going forward and just an all around good game from the former Whitley Warrior.
Petran’s goal, whilst a fluke continues his useful points scoring haul. He also took a stick to the face and didn’t miss a shift. Redmond and Oakford were…well Redmond and Oakford; dependable and steady at the back for the most part.
Flow like a river: It was an open and flowing game with very little choppiness from either side. 1 penalty was called all night as Mr Cloutman seemed to want the game to flow as much as possible. To be fair there was very little for him to call but he did miss a call in the third where Tony Redmond was holding onto so much of a Phantoms player’s jersey he was almost water skiing behind him. Either way, a good job well done by Mr Cloutman.
A word on our opponents: An admirable performance from a short benched Phantoms side but this could be a long season for Peterborough. Bar Ziedins they lacked any real offence going forward and the defence made turnover after turnover in their own zone. Stephen Wall was really the only choice for man of the match for making save after save. He did get a bit of desperation help from his d men. Credit where it’s due, the Phantoms at 3-0 down could have let their heads sink and not bothered. They took advantage of the Bison’s overconfidence and lax play to claw themselves back into the game. I still don’t think the Phantoms looked like a playoff worthy side on that showing. They desperately need Lauko and with rumours that his arrival in Cambridgeshire has been pushed back or even made null and void, Chris Allen needs to find a whole deck of aces up his sleeve.
Lowlight of the night: The switching off that led the Phantoms back into the game. Luckily for us Peterborough are not as competent as Slough.
Highlight of the night: The overtime winner; whilst it shouldn’t have come to that, a win is a win and two vital points considering that the Bison don’t have a game tonight. Overtime winners also have a habit of giving a bit of a confidence boost to players and fans alike, it’s a win pulled from the fire albeit one they dropped themselves into.