Running with the Herd – Bison vs Streatham Redhawks 02/12/17Posted: 03/12/2017
NIHL South 1
Basingstoke Bison 0-2 Streatham IHC “Redhawks”
What a dud:
This is a game of two very different stories but we’ll start with the Bison half of it first. Losing an unbeaten league record, shutout at home against a team they’d beaten twice, 49 shots and a teddy bear toss where everyone just threw the bears on at the end; there is no other way to paint this than what it is which is a poor result for the Bison.
Any talk of league records and the like is great when putting the result in context but on its own this 60 minutes of hockey was poor from the Herd. There was minimal cohesion, minimal directness which suffered even more after injury forced Roman Malinik out of the game and a distinct lack of ideas when they went behind.
The two goals were avoidable as Alex Sampford was given far too much space in an uncharacteristic lapse by Kurt Reynolds and Joe Baird. Sampford needed two goes but nobody could get back in time to assist Dean Skinns but Skinns allowing a blueline shot through the five hole was another soft goal given up by the Bison’s backstop. Whether the net was off the moorings or not (and Skinns certainly demonstrated as such to Mr Matthews), you’d expect a netminder like Skinns to stop those kind of shots.
It was a perfect storm in some ways for the Bison as they got solved on the night, lost a key player to injury, panicked a bit and then ran out of time. They had kept their powder dry for a long time and had stepped up their intensity against the NIHL Classic sides after the scare away at Streatham but trying hard didn’t cut it against a game plan that seems to undo the Bison time and time again.
However it’s easy to throw all our toys out of the pram over one result. Sometimes you just need to take these results on the chin; good teams lose hockey games. Nancy Carpenter of 482 Days was in attendance and said to me that she felt that the Redhawks outfought the Bison. On reflection my response is close but not quite as I don’t think you can fault the effort of the Herd. They weren’t outfought but they were out-thought and the age old criticism of the Bison on this site comes out again; it was thinking and working hard but not smart. There was no adaptation to what they were facing.
Also for the first time in a while, the Bison struggled physically against a side. For having the last change we saw Vanya Antonov matched up against Adam Wood too many times. Antonov is a very skilled player but he can’t skate through someone of Wood’s size.
The one highlight of the evening was the play of Ryan Sutton. The former Bison junior was having a good game anyway before Malinik left the game but where earlier in the season I mentioned that Sutton hadn’t stepped up when we needed him to, he did massively last night and was the only choice for man of the match for me. He won faceoffs in key situations, he had good shots, he tried to make stuff happen. Hopefully he pushes on because if Malinik is out for any period of time then the chance is there for Sutton to get some serious ice time.
A word on our opponents:
I think if we’re honest, Jeremy Cornish is arguably turning out to be a better coach than he was a player. Ever since his days on the Isle of Wight Cornish has always been able to make the best of his budgets and gets his teams to skate through walls for him but his best attribute is the fact that he learns. This was Streatham’s third game against the Bison. First game; soundly beaten. Second game; threw it away. Third game; found a game plan that worked, frustrated the Bison, got the points and shut them out.
Matt Colclough rightly got the beers after a 49 shot shutout though he was helped by the Bison lurching from being too cute on the puck to toothless at times as well as outright fortunate when Dan Scott’s shot rebounded off of the post and under him. However none of that takes away from the fact that once Colclough got his eye in, he was in imperious form and the Bison never looked like scoring past him.
This was a good team performance from the Redhawks and all they really did was play a straightforward road game. They cut off the passing lanes, outmuscled the Bison and when their opponents didn’t adapt they sat back and weathered the storm. Alex Sampford and Adam Wood took their goals well and the game saw good performances from Ryan Webb, Jacob Ranson and Jamie Hayes. The only mystery for the visitors would have been Adam Carr who got thrown out of so many faceoffs that he must be wondering what he said to Mr Lalonde to get such treatment.
This day was always coming for the Bison where they would lose to an NIHL Classic side and in a way whilst I’m pleased it was Streatham because I have a respect for the organisation, the reason they won was they were the better side.
Lowlight of the night: Managing to get shutout at home on a Teddy Bear Toss night is pretty rubbish.
Highlight of the night: Sutton but also a rare vocal outburst on the bench from Stuart Mogg; never knew he had it in him.