Saturday evening saw the return of EPL hockey to the Swindon Ice Arena with the visit of the Basingstoke Bison. Swindon, missing the duo of Callum Buglass and Toms Rutkis were boosted with the return to fitness of Ollie Stone.
The game started in physical fashion with some strong hits being made early on. The first period was a cagey affair, two evenly matched teams playing fast paced hockey. Stevie Lyle was called upon very early to deny Derek Roehl with a superb out-stretched pad. The Cats had chances but were unable to put the puck past Tomas Hiadlovsky in the Bison net, with the trio of Aaron Nell, Jan Kostal and Adam Finlinson all denied as the opening period finished goalless.
The second period proved more action packed. At exactly 22:00 the Bison took the lead, on on rushing Derek Roehl was able to tip the puck past Lyle and into the net with the assist going to Shaun Thompson. At 25:05 Rene Jarolin pounced on a loose puck at the back door and slammed the into the back of the net. At 29:56 incidents occurred all over the ice, as a result of the fights Aaron Nell, Kyle Smith & Aaron Connolly were all thrown out of the game, alongside a hatful of other minor penalties. Another round of fisticuffs between Sam Bullas & Declan Balmer at 36:23 with both players getting 2+2 for roughing.
The final period was less eventful and the Cats looked for their way back into the game and were creating chances through Max Birbraer and Jan Kostal but neither were able to beat Hiadlovsky. Swindon were also giving shots up which Stevie was turning away easily by denying Ciaran Long, Rene Jarolin and Derek Roehl. As the game was drawing to a close Jonas Höög was able to fire into the top corner of the net from the slot to give the Wildcats hope.
Despite pulling Lyle Swindon couldn't force the puck over the line even though they had two great chances through Jonas Höög & Sam Bullas.
Man of the Match
Swindon Wildcats - Stevie Whitfield
Basingstoke Bison - Rene Jarolin