Running with the Herd – Bison vs Guildford Flames 12/11/11

Basingstoke Bison 3-2 Guildford Flames after penalty shots

Heron                         Potts

Redmond                    Dixon

Shootout:

Bronnimann; saved      Huppe; miss (crossbar)

Moria; goal                  Chambers; miss (wide)

Miller; goal

 

That’s more like it: Now that was satisfying. Why was it so satisfying? It was because that is the sort of result this team is capable of against the top teams when everything clicks together. There were a few moments such as the first Flames goal where I’ll confess to having thought “here we go again” but the team defence held itself together for the game. Flames did have periods of sustained pressure but the momentum fluctuated between the two sides throughout the game.

Heron’s 6th goal of the campaign equalled his points total for last season after some good work from Nicky Chinn. The former MK man took the pass and had enough space to pick his spot and put the puck in it.

Tony Redmond’s first goal of the season was as a result of something I’ve been moaning about for ages. With the Bison pressing in the Flames zone the puck ended up behind the net. With two Bison players crowding the front of the net, Redmond took the puck, walked in, saw a gap up high and shot the puck into it. It was just reward for a great performance by Mr Basingstoke who was solid as a rock all evening combined with his usual healthy dose of Glaswegian accented shouting.

Matt Colclough provided another solid performance in net and is justifying Moria’s faith in the young man. The Flames are a side who create a lot of good chances but Colclough was able to answer the majority of the questions asked of him by the club where he started as a junior.

 

Penalties, penalties and more penalties: Before we start this is not a moan at the officials (I’ll have a little gripe later). It’s about seeming to take random penalties at bad times. 2-1 up against a team with a very good offence and then the Bison took 4 of the next 5 penalties. OK yes, there seems to be no accounting for what each individual ref is going to call and sometimes there are smart penalties to take but it seems to keep happening. OK our PK unit is pretty decent but they have to be. Yes we’re not Sheffield who are averaging 27 minutes of penalties a game but how many of those are Payette throwing a mad moment? If we can cut down on the penalties we seem to take at crucial moments or when we’re ahead in a close game, it’ll help us no end.

 

FIGHT! Reynolds vs Melicherik: OK, fight is possibly an overstatement. Reynolds went into a hit elbows up on Milos who just seemed to lose his rag and start punching Reynolds. I didn’t have a great view from where I sit but it was all over and the players were skating towards the penalty boxes. I had to do a double take when I saw who was skating away. For any Flames fans complaining about Reynolds leading with an elbow, 2 words. Branislav Kvetan

 

Shootout: First one I’ve watched this season and thankfully we came out on top.

1st round: Bronnimann tried to be flash and go 5 hole but Lee closed the pads and stopped the puck. Huppe managed to beat Colclough with his wrist shot but couldn’t beat the corner of post and crossbar which made a fantastic ping.

2nd round: Moria skated in on Lee and, well with age comes patience they say as he made a move, drew Lee down and fired high into the net to send the home fans into raptures.

Chambers came in from the goalie’s left and fired. It looked like it just went wide but Colclough claims he got a pad to it to deflect it. Whatever happened, crucial thing is there was no goal.

3rd round: Miller seemed to decide that what worked for Moria would work for him. He came in on Lee, made a move, outwaited Lee and fired into the roof of the net. Lee kicked the net from it’s moorings and tried to claim the net was off of its moorings before the puck was in by Mr Szuchs wearing the armbands disagreed. Goal stood, Bison win!

 

A word on our opponents: Whilst we’d obviously like to send Guildford home with no points at all, they deserved to get something out of the game. They had their game plan and tried to stick with it. Luckily unlike at the Spectrum recently the shock and awe tactic didn’t work as Bison stepped up to face it down. The line of Longstaff centring Chambers and Huppe might produce more jokes than any other but it was the line that looked most likely to score during the game. Potts’ goal was a weird fluke off the back of poor defensive Bison play as he seemed to score backhanded whilst spinning round. If he meant to do that he deserves more credit than I’m giving him.

Dixon’s powerplay goal would have beaten most keepers, a bullet of a shot through traffic that flew in. Whether is should have been a powerplay or not is not that point here.

Kvetan was a fair choice for man of the match as time after time he single handedly snuffed out Bison attacks with a well place poked check. Melicherik huffed and puffed around as usual and Longstaff, despite not being a large fan of his, had a great game directing the top line even if Chambers did little to help him.

The Flames did miss Rempel and Towe though. I didn’t think the second or third line looked massively threatening at points with the “big guns” forced onto the top line. Scott Greenfield got some decent ice time as a result of people missing and seemed to give a good account of himself.

 

Lowlight of the night: Wiggins didn’t ice after the first period again due to injury. Whilst the lines shuffled and worked, it’s nice to have the extra option. The other lowlight was the officiating that was just all over the place all evening. Calls and non-calls made in both directions made little sense at times. The linesmen missed offside calls throughout the night to the point that the young linesman who sits behind me was utterly bemused at some bits.

 

Highlight of the night: Well winning obviously is nice, especially against Guildford after the tonking they handed out in Surrey the other week but above all else that was a cracking game of hockey. Both teams deserved something from the game, over 1200 people in the rink, a good advertisement for what the EPL can offer.

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