Running with the Herd – Bison vs Slough Jets 3/3/12

Basingstoke Bison 3-8 Slough Jets

Miller                          A Connolly x 3

Wiggins                      Shepherd

Chinn                         Calder

                                  Davies

                                  Pliskauskas x 2

Like watching fireworks: I sat here for a while thinking of how to write this and provide anything close to any analysis other than trying to find a way to accurately spell annoyed grunts. Bison started with a bang then fizzled out into a damp squib across the 60 minutes.

The home side came charging out of the gate whereas Slough looked to be a bit flat footed. Bison piled the pressure on and the break through came as Basingstoke scored first at home for a long while. Daniel Volrab befitted from Zach Sullivan falling over in the slot and launched a shot that pinged off the cross bar, landed at the feet of Joe Miller who tapped home. Cameron Wynn was credited with his first EPL point with the secondary assist on the goal. About 5 minutes in, Dave Cloutman took a stray puck high in the back/low neck area which saw the evergreen official on the deck for a few minutes. In his own uncompromising style he got up, took a drink and got back on with it to a well deserved round of applause from the crowd. The Bison seemed to be controlling most areas of the game at this point and the second goal did make you wonder if this would be the Bison’s night. Chris Wiggins won the puck on the forecheck then proceeded to dangle through the Jets defence and poke the puck past Rockman in the Slough net. 2-0 and maybe this would be a good night after all. Then with time running down Slough attacked the Bison net and Aaron Connolly managed to poke the puck past Matt Colcough at 19:51. Bison had been the better side in the first but that goal turned the tide slightly.

The second period saw Slough grab the game by the throat and never let it go. 4 minutes in, Joe Greener won the faceoff back to Doug Shepherd who snapped a shot past Matt Colclough. Then after Nicky Chinn was called for boarding Andrew Melachrino, Aaron Connolly got his second of the night when he poked home the puck after a well worked passing move on the resulting powerplay. Less than a minute later however a speculative Nicky Chinn shot from the right hashmarks made it past Rockman. Even Chinny looked surprised that it had gone in but with parity restored the game even out…slightly. Everything was going OK and then a bad mistake saw any mild progress fall apart. Chong coughed up the puck by the side of the Bison net, Joe Greener passed to Adam Calder who was alone in the slot. You don’t need a degree to guess what happened. Then as Bison tried to find a way to hit back, Aaron Connolly turned on the style again as he outmuscled Petran to fire over Colcough’s shoulder for his hattrick and a 5-3 Slough lead after two periods. I looked to the roof of the rink and have to confess I did think “here we go again”.

Bison changed Colclough for Wall in a hope of changing fortunes (more on that in a bit) but sadly the Bison never really looked like scoring to do anything with it. Time wound on and it looked like the Bison of old; going forward but lacking direction doing so and a chance of pulling 2 goals back looked bleak. Bison then found themselves on a 5on3 after being called for an icing infringement and then Mr Cloutman called a very soft slashing penalty on Kurt Reynolds. A textbook powerplay from Slough saw Dan Davies score as the Jets passed it around and Davies tapped home whilst Wall tried to do the splits. We then saw a bit of rough stuff which managed to confuse a lot of people. Ex Bison Mark Galazzi checked Viktor Kubenko behind the Jets net, Kubenko had a little niggle as he didn’t like the hit and Galazzi decided he’d see if Kubenko wanted to have a go. All the on ice skaters jumped into the fray. With Wiggins stepping in to try and stop Kubenko from fighting he was grabbed from behind by Joe Greener and the two eventually ended up going. I say going, they yelled at each other, Wiggins punched Greener a few times in the face and that was it pretty much it. Somehow Wiggins got 2+2+10 for roughing while Greener got nothing at all. The crowd was incensed. I’ve read some Slough fans thoughts on it but Greener should at a bare minimum got 2 for roughing for grabbing at Wiggins and piling into the altercation between Galazzi and Kubenko that Wiggins was trying to break up. I’ve sat reading the EIHA in house interpretation on the rules (http://www.eiha.co.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=vT8OYRhknSI%3d&tabid=80&mid=657 page 40) and it explains why Wiggins got 2+2+10 but that’s assuming that Greener did nothing but sit there and take a beating. Re-reading the rules hasn’t helped much, I’m still baffled. Two more defensive cock ups gifted Pliskauskas goals number 7 and 8 for the Jets. You need to take the chances you’re given and if you’re Pliskauskas, you’ll normally take them. The second week in a row the Bison have let in 8 goals at home. I was glad it ended.

Swapping goalies: Bison swapped Colclough for Wall after 40 minutes but to be fair, neither goalie was really to blame for most of the mess. Wall in particular got hung out to dry like washing in the summer on the Jets’ 7th and 8th goals and you could see the frustration in his manner after it. I can only assume Colclough was pulled to spare the young man getting lit up like a Christmas tree with nobody in front of him helping him much.

Man of the Match Miller: About time Joe Miller got the beers again! Consistently (along with Reynolds) one of our best players this season yet seemed to get overlooked in random MOM choices. Miller was actually really good on the penalty kill this evening as well which is a skill of his that generally gets overlooked.

A word on our opponents: I’m going to leave the Greener mess behind and focus on the two Slough players who should be talked about; Aaron Connolly and Andrew Melachrino. Connolly was an easy choice for man of the match for Slough with a 3+2 night. With Ryan Watt and his recent good performances for Slough being absent from the forward lines, Connolly ably took the place of focal point for the Jets. He did celebrate every goal like he’d won the Superbowl for some odd reason but I can’t begrudge him being happy with his performance, it was outstanding. Melachrino deserve praise for his sheer guts/insanity. After falling awkwardly into the boards off a hit from Chinn (that was called as boarding) the former Guildford junior was down for a while and was helped off the ice to the dressing room. He managed later to hobble back to the bench and back out onto the ice. He later also took a massive open ice hit from Kubenko into the bargain. Kudos to Andrew for his heart, no question about it there.

Better team won on the night there’s not much else you can say there.

Lowlight of the night: Jets’ 8th goal, just embarrassing to watch.

Highlight of the night: Cameron Wynn’s first EPL point, the start of things to come.

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