THE Basingstoke Bison have added more size to their line-up with the signing of Kris Melachrino.

He is the older brother of current forward Andy – but is a lot taller, standing at 6ft 5in. So he is sure to bring another dimension to the Herd’s all Brit forward line, although he can also play defence.

The brothers have played before on the same team in Guildford and Slough.

The addition of Melachrino is a welcome one for the Bison who currently have British forwards Joe Miller, Joe Greener and Jacob Corson-Heron out of their line-up.

Bison boss Doug Sheppard said: “We are pleased to have signed Kris and I am sure that having Andy here was a big factor.”

New signing Melachrino, talking ahead of his debut said: “I am really looking forward to being part of the great team.

“I prefer to play as a forward as I like to crash the net and also dish out hits on defencemen. I just want to help the team any way I can.”

After suffering their first defeat in six games, the Bison will be keen to bounce straight back to winning ways as they travel for a local derby clash at the Bracknell Bees on Saturday night.

When the Bison and Bees last locked horns at the Hive the home side won 3-2, despite the Herd’s Joe Rand scoring their opening goal in 20 seconds.

The Bees have been really buzzing this season, but suffered last weekend as they lost in Sheffield 6-3 and then were beaten on home ice by the Slough Jets 5-4.

So they will also be hungry, like the Herd, for a victory in a game which has a 6pm face-off.

Looking ahead to the derby game, Bison player/coach Sheppard said: “They are pretty dangerous team and are scoring a lot of goals. We have to keep an eye on (Lukas) Smital and (Martin) Masa when they are on the ice and shut them down.”

One point of interest in the last meeting was that two of the three Bracknell goals were scored on powerplay and all four of the Bees’ goals against Slough last Sunday came with a man advantage.

Sheppard is fully aware of that and added: “The Bracknell powerplay is working well, but we have been good on the PK (penalty kill) this season.

“The Bees have a couple of guys who can really shot the puck and the Bison fans know all about (Marcel) Petran. So we have to try and stay out of the penalty box.”

The following night on home ice the Bison entertain the Sheffield Steeldogs.

This will be the first meeting between these sides so the clash is also a cup group game with the Herd needing just a point to clinch a final four place.

The Steeldogs have had some good form at home, but on the road have lost their last three games.

Their brash style of hockey is sure to make for an entertaining encounter in a game which has a 5.30pm face-off.

Talking about the ‘Dogs’ visit, Sheppard said: “They have beaten all the top teams and you know they are going to play for a full 60 minutes and finish all their hits.”