Running with the Lady Herd – Bison Ladies vs Solent and Gosport Amazons 10/3/12

Basingstoke Bison 11-1 Solent and Gosport Amazons

Attrill x 5                      Leslie

Carrington-Fisher

Morgan Bone

Driver

Toose

Baldwin

Pilbeam

Well and truly stampeded: I have to confess I was looking forward. It had all the hallmarks of a tasty local derby. The Bison’s only defeat of the season so far had come in Gosport when they’d lost 2-0 and were going into their first home game since 2011. Despite the Amazons travelling with a short bench due to work commitments there was that bit of a niggle that all good derby games have.

The first few minutes were a feeling out process for both sides as both Sam Vernon in the Bison net and Julia Hazzard for the Amazons faced a few shots. The Amazons used their short bench well and rather than just sitting back and wanting to hit on the counter, the guests were happy to try and take the game to the Bison. As time ticked on though it looked like the Bison would score and eventually they did. Jodie Attrill flew down the wing, gaining the zone. As she skated in on Hazzard’s right, blew past the defender and fired high past the goalie’s glove to give the hosts a deserved lead. The Bison were happy to play their game at their pace and more chances came. Defender Christy Baker went on a fantastic journey through all the Amazons’ on the ice only to be stopped by Hazzard. The second goal was coming and when it did, it was almost a carbon copy of the first. Alternate captain Kay Carrington-Fisher came in from the goalie’s right but rather than taking Attrill’s route of shooting high, shot low into the corner. 2-0 at the end of the first and there was a niggling feeling that this could only get worse for the visitors.

38 seconds into the second period, it got worse. Teresa Baldwin gained the zone but was driven below the red line by the Amazons defender. Not letting this stop her, Baldwin looked up and passed back into the slot where an advancing Jodie Attrill fired past Hazzard for 3-0. Not satisfied two goals, Attrill fired her hattrick goal in 80 seconds later as she danced round one Amazon, then another, finally backhanding the puck into the net. 4-0 if the game wasn’t over before it was over now. The Bison didn’t let up on their opponents and looked to turn the screw a bit. 40 seconds later with the puck in front of the Gosport net a shot hit a defender’s leg and with Hazzard prone on the floor, Tanya Morgan-Bone tapped home for 5-0. Bison captain Emma Toose took the game’s first penalty but the Amazons couldn’t use the advantage to get on the board. After a brief period of 4 on 4 the scoreboard needed ticking over again and Hannah Driver duly obliged as she fired home from the top of the slot with traffic in front of the net. Having not scored for about 8 minutes, Jodie Attrill decided she wanted another go and her 4th goal was a repeat performance of her hattrick goal, stickhandling through the defence but no backhand this time. This was the first half an hour of the game and at 7-0.

For a period Gosport started to claw themselves back into the game as the Bison were a bit lax at the back. A couple of breakaway chances and some pressure in the zone were dealt with as Sam Vernon kept her net clean. With just under two and a half minutes left in the period another Attrill shot deflected off of a stick to Emma Toose who tap in for the Bison’s 8th goal of the contest. Having picked up her first clear assist of the night, Attrill made it 5 for the night as she tapped home after some good skating and a good shot from Jennie Agass was saved by Hazzard. The Amazons’ goalie was slow to get up after the goal and it looked like she’d hurt her hip. The Amazons didn’t need that at all, 9-0 down at the end of the second period and no reserve keeper on the bench.

There was little mercy from the Bison however. 12 seconds into the 3rd period Teresa Baldwin got her name on the scoresheet as she walked over the blue line, shot and the puck found its way into the net.

The game started getting chippy at this point as Gosport’s captain Heather Gatley seemed determined for her team to come out of the game with something. It lead to a couple of confrontations with Bison’s Leah White. With the two of them sitting coincidental roughing minors and Emma Toose sitting for checking, the wall finally came down. Having won the faceoff, Jessica Leslie walked towards the net and scored her first goal of the season and the Amazons had broken their duck. The goal clearly meant a lot to the Amazons who made the most of the celebrations. With a bit of spring in their step the Amazons had a few extra chances as they were drawing the period. They hit the post on the PP and the ever present Gatley was still prepared to get into the corners and faces of the Bison in an attempt to show they wouldn’t go quietly. Gatley did pay a small price as she dug towards the puck which Vernon had covered and was cleaned out by Leah White. The hit saw Gatley’s head bounce off the floor but she got up and carried on as White headed to the box. With time ticking down the Bison weren’t content to draw a period of a game they’d dominated, Lauren Pilbeam scored her second of the season after some good grinding work and finally dug the puck into the net. Slight controversy at the end as it looked like the Amazons had scored when the puck hit the back of the net and bounced out but no light from the goal judge and no call from either referee in the two man system. Shortly after that, game over and a good result for the home team. The defeat from earlier in the season was avenged.

Good team performance: Head coach James Bone will likely be quite pleased with the performance and there were some really good individual displays. I obviously don’t watch a lot of women’s hockey but the discipline in the 3rd period transcends genders in hockey. Whether it’s good spirited derby hockey or not, the Bison gave up too many penalties in the third and against a better team they might have been punished more for the indiscretions.

That said after an 11-1 win it makes sense to focus on the positives from our perspective here on the blog as well.

Whilst I thought Tanya Morgan-Bone had a good game, I can’t help but feel 5+1 for Jodie Attrill should have been player of the game for the Bison. The former Isle of Wight junior has wheels and really good stick handling which meant she was a class above in this game. She took all 5 of her goals really well there were times when you thought every time she’d shoot it would go in.

Two players who didn’t get on the scoresheet but worthy of singling out are Christy Baker and Julia Burns. Baker had a really solid game at the back with few mistakes and was the model of defensive composure. She always wasn’t afraid to venture forward, a couple of times making weaving runs through the defence with only the final touch evading her. Burns did pretty much everything in the game bar score. She hit the post and had a few shots saved by the goalie but her speed caused issues for the Amazons all night and she was excellent on the penalty kill.

Whilst it’s easy to pick out the good points from such a high win, it’s worth saying that the Bison mad a professional job of it. They never really sat back on their lead, performed well as a unit for 60 minutes and were rewarded as such. Never afraid to multitask, Emma Toose even yelled out the winning raffle numbers and thanked the crowd for coming at the end.

A word on our opponents: Such is the nature of hockey; sometimes you hand out the kicking and sometimes you are kicked. Credit to the Amazons though, they kept going for 60 minutes and even if the scoreline kept going up and up they never stopped skating and their heads never went down. Julia Hazzard in net was a worthy choice for player of the game battling through till the end despite being clearly injured. I haven’t seen the shot count but she faced a fair few and made some good saves into the bargain with it. Heather Gatley gave a real captain’s performance and even with the result long gone she lead from the front and refused to go quietly into the night back down to the seafront. Jessica Leslie almost hit the roof of the rink when she scored and you saw what it meant to the Gosport team, not just her when she scored. With high scoring forward Jordan Wilshire having stepped back from women’s hockey, there’s pressure for other players to step up to put points on the board and Leslie’s shot that ruined Sam Vernon’s shutout shows that she might be one place to look. 9 outskaters (that I counted) and a goalie gave flashbacks to the Bison 10 in the EIHL days but all Amazons players should be proud of their never say die attitude.

Lowlight of the night: Hazzard’s injury, you never want to see anyone get injured and it obviously was hurting from the middle of the second period.

Highlight of the night: Part of me wanted to say Leah White’s hit to clear Gatley out but I’ll go for Jodie Attrill’s hattrick goal, it was pretty.

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