24th of February 2020
GAME REPORT: Bison V's Leeds Chiefs Saturday 22nd February 2020Final score: Basingstoke Bison 2-0 Leeds Chiefs
Saturday 22nd February 2020
Bison MOM: Alex Mettam – Chiefs MOM: Sam Gospel
Bison stats: Norris 0+2, Klejna 1+0, Tait 1+0
Netminder: Alex Mettam 18/0 (100.00%)
Chiefs’ stats: N/A
Netminder: Sam Gospel 40/2 (95.00%)
PIM: Bison 10 – 14 Chiefs. SOG: Bison 40 – 18 Chiefs.
Refs: Brooks and Jarvie
Lino’s: Cook and Sitch-Cunningham
Looking to end a run of three consecutive defeats, the Trane sponsored Basingstoke Bison welcomed the Leeds Chiefs to town for the final time this season and were determined to avenge a pair of defeats at the hands of the Yorkshire side last December.
The Herd would be missing Tom Ralph and Liam Morris for the contest.
The opening minutes were breathless and end-to-end with very few breaks in play, as the Bison went closest to taking an early lead with Paul Petts’ short range effort being well saved by Sam Gospel in net, who would continue throughout the game to resemble a brick wall. At 9:28 the game’s first penalty arrived when Andres Kopstals was penalised for High Sticks and although Alex Sampford and Richard Bordowski had fantastic chances to put the Herd ahead, once again Gospel held firm to keep the game goalless. However, at 13:33 the Bison would finally break the Chiefs’ defences and open the scoring as Ashley Tait (Norris) took a lovely pass from down low and slammed the puck home in close, putting the home side 1-0 in front. Despite each side seeing a player sent to the penalty box late on in the period, this lead would remain intact until the first break, although with 90 seconds left in the period Alex Mettam produced an excellent stop to deny Adam Barnes who had waltzed around the Bison defence with ease.
As the second period began the home side continued to dominate the play and out-shoot their opponents heavily, but they struggled to break down an inspired Sam Gospel in net who was single-handedly keeping his side in the contest. When Chiefs’ captain Luke Boothroyd was called for Delay of the Game at 28:34, this handed the Herd an opportunity to extend their lead and although they could not capitalise on the man advantage, just over a minute later the lead would be doubled to the delight of the raucous home fans. Hard forechecking by Sean Norris saw him block an attempted clearance by a Chiefs d-man and emerge with the puck down low, before passing neatly to Michal Klejna on the doorstep who tucked the puck past Sam Gospel at 31:42, giving the Bison a 2-0 lead. Josh Kelly then picked up a four minute penalty (2 for Slashing and 2 for Misconduct) at 33:27, leaving the Herd with an extended spell on the penalty kill which they dealt with admirably and kept their two goal advantage intact until the buzzer sounded for the second intermission.
The final period started with a very high tempo, so fast in fact, that it left referee Mr Brooks on his backside, much to the amusement of those in attendance. The home side were handed another powerplay opportunity at 45:29 as Lewis Baldwin was called for Hooking, which soon became a 5-on-3 man advantage as Liam Charnock was handed a 2 minute Abuse of an Official penalty at 45:52, but the Herd failed to make the Chiefs pay.
In fact, the home side were lucky not to concede a shorthanded goal as only a desperate defensive effort by Sean Norris managed to stop a breakaway by Andres Kopstals. As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the Bison continued to lay siege to the Leeds net but could not find a way past the brilliant Sam Gospel in net who was wholly deserving of his MOM award. Not to be forgotten, Alex Mettam had to remain sharp in the Bison goal and did well to deny Calum Robertson twice in quick succession.
The visitors were handed a final lifeline to bring themselves back into the game at 55:28 when Ryan Sutton was called for High Sticks, however this was cancelled out at 56:03 as Adam Barnes was punished for Charging and although Lewis Houston went close during the ensuing 4-on-4 play, the Chiefs remained goalless as the clock wound down. Both George Norcliffe and Sean Norris had chances in the final seconds to extend the Herd’s lead but Gospel continued to repel everything that came his way. However, it mattered little as the final buzzer sounded to complete a thoroughly professional 2-0 Bison win! A lack of goals shouldn’t be confused with a lack of quality, this was a fun game to watch and both netminders were unquestionably stars of the night.
Next up sees the Bison travel to MK on Sunday 23rd Feb, where Mr Simmonds will soon report back from.