Running with the Herd – Bison vs Hull Pirates 28/1/17

EPL

Basingstoke Bison 6-1 Hull Pirates

Long x2 (1 dpg)           Themar

Karpov x2 (1 dpg, 1pp)

Jarolin x2

We’re going to do this piece opposite of how we usually do it because we need to look at games.

Ciaran Long celebrates his second goal in the Bison's 6-1 win over Hull. (c) 5 Hole Photography

Ciaran Long celebrates his second goal in the Bison’s 6-1 win over Hull.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

A word on our opponents:

Something is amiss with the Hull Pirates and I don’t mean the injuries they’ve had, bad as they are. This The second period of this game was one of the most dominant periods from the Bison this season against a team that really isn’t that bad. That makes it worse in some ways.

Bracknell are a team short on quality but big on effort. Hull are not short of quality; Themar, Laine, Salem, Maynard, Bonner and Kirk are not slouches. Jamie Chilcott on the defence was playing Elite League last year. For some reason this team with obvious quality just don’t seem to be putting the pieces together. Yes it’s a terrible pun and analogy all in one but they look lost at sea with no direction.

Vlastimil Lakosil has been given a lot of stick recently since he was called in to replace Jordan Marr and on this night, bar one goal he didn’t do a lot wrong. 6 goals on 70 shots speaks of a man who had a really busy night. It could have been an utter cricket score had Lakosil not made some of the saves that he did. He got next to no support from his defence which is what caused the issue.

Lakosil is a symptom of a bigger issue with the Pirates at the moment; the team launched out of the gate like the clappers but when the form took a dip, where did the coaching lay the blame? Not on the team having a bit of a bad run but on personnel. Sarsok was changed for Ondrej to “sure things up”, performances decreased and a netminder with over 90% save percentage was swapped for an ageing import. I like Dominic Osman; he was very gracious with him time when I interviewed him at the end of last season but some of his recent coaching decisions have not improved the Pirates.

Alarmingly apt (c) 5 Hole Photography

Alarmingly apt
(c) 5 Hole Photography

On this night, the Pirates run of poor form just continued. Lakosil was robbed of the beers despite being utterly shelled. Ryan Watt tried, Themar and Laine tried but this is one of those games where our northern friends should be grateful that the Bison don’t do webcasts. It wasn’t good.

Context kills:

I was out all of Sunday, I took my wife to London so I am writing this after Sunday’s loss to Peterborough. I would normally totally look at the game in isolation and break that down but with the signing deadline creeping every closer, the Bison needed a 4 point weekend and appear to have lurched from one extreme to the other.

It makes Sunday all the more frustrating for just how dominant the Bison were on Saturday night. Whilst it took nearly the full 20 minutes for the first goal to come, it never really looked in doubt that it would come and did after Ciaran Long’s shot couldn’t be held by Lakosil. That was pretty much the end of that.

Without Miller and Connolly through injury and Antonov and Mogg to GB Universities’ trip to Kazakhstan, the lines were one again juggled about slightly but everything the Bison seemed to try on Saturday night seemed to come off with only a really decent netminding performance preventing the Herd from clocking up a score worthy of the usual per game points average of Steph Curry.

Tomas Karpov took the man of the match for two superbly taken goals, the second of which was all the more impressive an effort when you consider how much of a hook he was suffering from Andrej Themar when trying to connect with Ciaran Long’s pass. Games like this make Karpov such a joy to watch because not only are his goals generally very pretty goals but the confidence that he gets from scoring makes him more confident to try and do almost anything. He looks for passes better, he twists and turns past players with ease, he tries shooting more.

Long and Rene Jarolin were the other scorers along with Karpov and both of them took their goals very well. Long’s second, the Bison’s 5th goal was such a lovely move that the Hull netminder remained face down on the ice for a good ten seconds before bothering to move and the Bison’s British forward had fired the puck into the roof of the net.

Tomas Hiadlovsky wasn’t overly troubled, the only goal he conceded being a scramble in front of him that managed to squeeze past him and the rest of the defence had a very good game. I’ve not mentioned Joe Baird a lot recently but when faced with one of the league’s best scorers, he shrugged off Themar with relative ease.

It should have been the extra bit of momentum that the Bison needed heading into a tough away game in Peterborough but again, the Bison seemed to slip up against the Phantoms. A four point weekend would have kept the Bison within touching distance of a miracle and it suddenly fell even further out of their hands. It has been the Bison’s curse the majority of this campaign that the lower end sides get dispatched with ease but that inconsistency against the sides in the top end of the table isn’t there where it was in 2015/16. The hope for the Herd has to be that they find those ways to win again. The league may well be out of reach of the defending champions. If they want the playoffs, Doug Sheppard needs to find a way to get the effort to once again translate into finding a way to win if he wants anything out of Coventry.

Lowlight of the night: The Hull goal, utterly avoidable.

Highlight of the night: Long to Karpov and goal for 2-0. That said, a lot of the goals were pretty.

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