Running with the Herd – Bison vs Telford Tigers 03/12/2011

Basingstoke Bison 5-6 Telford Tigers after penalty shots

Heron                         Bruce

Kubenko x 2                McKenzie x 2

Petran                         Brittle

Volrab                          Croft

 

Penalty shots:

Kubenko; saved            McKenzie; saved

Moria; saved                 Senko; scores

Miller; scores               Croft; scores

 

Deja vu of the worst kind: It happened again. It seems a long time since I was writing one of these after the Slough game back in October when a similar thing happened. The only upside was we got a point out of this one when we didn’t before.

Bison were pretty decent in the first, deadly in the second and outright asleep in the third.

Having been 2-0 up in the first through well worked goals from Heron and Kubenko two bad errors let the Tigers back into it. Josh Bruce’s shot somehow got through Skinns’ leg pads and in when it really shouldn’t and then all the Bison defenders on the ice fell asleep and allowed McKenzie to bank the puck off the post, then off Skinn’s back and in.

In the second period we saw what the Bison can do when they set their minds to it. First Petran hammered the puck so hard it nearly broke the sound barrier then Kubenko directed a Miller slap pass into the net and before they could blink Volrab had shovelled the puck in. 5-2, timeout Tigers and it was a case of not doing anything stupid.

Sadly, they did a lot stupid.

Good work by the Tigers and awful defending saw Brittle tap home a puck sitting in the crease. 5-4 was unlucky as Croft’s blueline shot hit Heron’s skate and deflected past where anyone thought it was going and then the equaliser which saw Harris turn the puck over, McKenzie skate just over the blueline and blast it past Skinns who was at the top of the crease. Everybody’s head sank.

 

Then came overtime and sadly, the work of Mr Popluhar came undone when he missed a clear goal in overtime. Some great work on the 2 on 1 from Miller and Chong saw the puck hit the back of the net, the light went on, Bison celebrated but the ref said no goal. Whilst we’re always told “play to the whistle”, this was a very bad miss from the official who had done so well for 60 minutes but then made an utter howler in overtime. Yes, it should never have got to overtime but, to quote the Italian captain in ‘Allo ‘Allo, what a mistake to make!

 

Shootout:

 

1st round: Kubenko skated in on Ryan and tried to make a move but the Telford netminder followed him all the way and made the save. McKenzie tried to pick a spot with a wrist shot but fired pretty much straight at Skinns.

 

2nd round: Moria tried to copy the move he made to beat Mark Lee but Ryan has more patience than Mark Lee of the Flames and rode out the storm. Senko came in, deked and the ref pointed that it was in. Dean Skinns was furious as he felt that he’d kept all of the puck from crossing all of the line. Fans on the other side of the rink felt it wasn’t in and it appeared the ref had made another howler.

 

3rd round: Miller’s shootout goal was a carbon copy of his one against Guildford, lovely little move, found a hole and put the puck in it. Croft (at least it looked like Croft) walked in, fired a wrist shot and in it went. Tigers won though not without controversy.

 

Netminding: Not Dean Skinn’s finest hour by any stretch of the imagination. Goalies are only human, they can’t stop everything but the first, third, and fifth goals he should have done better with. He couldn’t have done anything about the fourth.

There were a lot of angry people leaving the rink last night. Perhaps Colclough was being saved for Sunday’s game with Manchester, I can only assume so but I can’t help but again feel a sense of deja vu.

09/10 Lawrence and Annetts start the season sharing the duties, Annetts grabs the starters job and Lawrence sees no time after February.

10/11 Annetts begins the season as starter over Skinns who goes on a run of good form after Annetts has a run of bad games and barely sees any time.

Now this season the keeper who is meant to be the starter has been usurped of the starters job by a 20 year old, albeit a talented one, who has not played EPL before this season. It doesn’t bode well and with Stephen Wall having asked to leave Peterborough there are a few people wanting the axe to fall again.

 

A more positive note: Three players were outstanding in their commitment to the cause last night; man of the match Liam Chong, Jacob Heron and Chris Wiggins gave everything they had for 65 minutes and deserved more for what they put in. Wiggins was unlucky not to get a goal after a few good chances and played a really sensible, controlled game all night. Heron played his usual game; high tempo and coachloads of effort. Chong however was one of the easiest man of the match calls all year. He was the real shining light as he covered every inch of the ice twice over and laid on great passes all night. He did score, despite what the official seemed to think and really deserved the goal for his performance. I found it fitting that at 5-5 with 75 seconds to play it was these three on the ice and rightly so. They’d earned the chance to have ice time in that crucial situation.

 

A word on our opponents: Telford fans got a bit cross at me apparently for a tweet I made at the end of the second saying the Tigers were playing “damage limitation” hockey. I’ll say it again; sorry if I caused offence or it seemed patronising but the one thing I will do with the updates is be honest. That works both ways. I praised the Tigers when the played well but after shipping 3 goals in 4 minutes the Tigers spent the remainder of the second period simply trying not to concede a goal. That was an objective assessment of what was happening at the time. I’ll always try to be honest with what’s going on because that’s the fairest thing to do.

Credit to the Tigers though, you beat what is in front of you. The Bison gave the Tigers a way back into the game and they took it. They had their share of bounces (the overtime ‘goal’ and Senko’s penalty shot that didn’t go in) but these things sometimes go your way. McKenzie was a fair shout for man of the match as he was the most impactful player for them all evening. None of the imports really stood out but Josh Bruce had a very good game I thought and I do enjoy watching him. Josh Nicklin, a Coventry ENL product gave a very good account of himself as well. Blaze fans I speak to think very highly of him and it showed. He didn’t have much in the way of a finish but he worked hard all night.

 

Lowlight of the night: Whilst it would be easy to say the ref’s howlers, another game that should have been put to bed that wasn’t. It has to stop.

 

Highlight of the night: Alongside the play of the three I’ve mentioned, Petran’s goal. We joke about goalies having holes but Marcel just put on in Ryan. What a shot!

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