Basingstoke Bison look for a place in the play-offs in the game against Leeds Knights

Between the herd and a place in the final four is a two-headed encounter with new league champions Leeds Knights.

The first game takes place in Yorkshire on Saturday night and the return in Basingstoke on Sunday (5:30 p.m.).

The Bison will largely enter the game as the underdog and have lost every meeting with the Knights this season thus far.

However, hockey play-offs have a habit of throwing up unexpected results and all the pressure this weekend is on the champions.

Looking ahead to the clash, Bison head coach Ashley Tait said, “I think we have to be ready to compete for six periods first.

“The way these series are going, you cannot stop at any time because what counts is the 120-minute score and not just 60.

He added: “We have to minimize their opportunities and make sure we are ready to capitalize on ours.”

Last weekend, in Herd’s last league games, they were beaten twice by the Sheffield Steeldogs 4-3 and 9-4.

The home fixture saw Brendan Baird, Gael Lubwele and Liam Morris rest for the game, bringing youngsters Freddie Stephens, James Bryan, Sam Hemmings-Maher and Xander into the lineup.

Despite this, it was a close affair from start to finish, with the first period ending after 12 minutes when the puck deflected towards the ceiling and smashed one of the lights.

The teams headed to the locker room early as an ice cut was needed to clear debris from the ice.

When the teams returned, Sheffield took the lead from Jordan Buesa.

The herd responded from the fantastic captain George Norcliffe as he ripped home the puck off a good drive from Zack Milton.

A minute later, the Steeldogs retook the lead from Jason Hewitt, before the teams switched ends to start the second half.

Just 24 seconds later, Vladislavs Vulkanovs made it 3-1.

The Bison hit back on the power play when Milton’s shot came off the pads of Nick Winter and Norcliffe scored on the rebound.

Then, in the last minute of the half of the session, the Bison leveled the game, but Sheffield were not at all happy that the goal stood.

This was due to the Bison’s Paul Petts and the Steeldogs’ Lee Haywood being tangled up on the boards.

Both umpires allowed play to continue and captain Norcliffe with another great goal scored to complete his hat-trick.

In a tight last 20 minutes, Sheffield won the game thanks to a Matt Bissonnette goal.

Jack Peacock was the Bison man of the match for another solid performance.

On Sunday night in Sheffield, the Herd’s goals came from man of the match Norcliffe (2), Hallam Wilson and Landsbergs.


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