Buffalo complete double over league leaders

Basingstoke Gazette: Mark Pitts celebrates after scoring the Buffalo's first goal. Mark Pitts celebrates after scoring the Buffalo's first goal.

THE BASINGSTOKE Buffalo completed the double over National League South Two league leaders the Peterborough Islanders with a thrilling 3-2 victory over the visitors last Sunday.

The visitors have only lost four times this season and two of them have been against the Bufffalo.

The home side were minus Chris Beauclerk after the birth of his son that morning but certainly opened the better, with all three lines showing some slick passing, with Simon Beere pinging a shot off the crossbar early on.

The visitors’ Alexander Cleves and Jack Sangby then tested Buffalo man-of-the-match Craig Agass.

The home side took a deserved lead at 5:53 as Dave Collins’ blue line shot ended up in the goal crease Islanders’ Adam Cawkwell tried to clear, but only as far as Mark Pitts who hammered the puck home.

The Buffalo then went on the powerplay, with Simon Griffiths firing a shot off the post and the lively Daniel Lackey saw his blue line bullet saved.

Soon after, Greg Martyn was denied and then Beere’s shot beat the goalie, only to hit the shin of defenceman Robert McDonald on the line.

The home side then doubled their lead as Matt Lawday skated across the goal crease to net at 11:38.

Jason Woodgate was next to test the visitors’ man-of-the-match Samuel Jones and Neil Leary was also denied.

As the period came to a close, Agass in the home goal was called upon to save from Cleves and Cawkwell.

The Buffalo continued their impressive start to the game in the second session and Mark Pitts’ lovely cross to the back post was put away by Lawday to make it 3-0.

Soon after, Ryan Sutton was crushed into the boards and then laid on by Connor Hunter. Leary came to move him off and was cross checked in the face for his trouble.

So it was no surprise the pair then traded blows as the Buffalo picked up their first penalty of the game.

Peterborough then had a couple of chances on the powerplay from Luke Barker and James Pentecost, but with Buffalo short-handed, Martyn found Lawday, and Jones made an excellent save.

Sutton then showed a great piece of skill as he played the puck off the side boards to pass the last defenceman and force Jones into a catch from his left wing shot.

Peterborough went close when Pentecost’s shot was gloved on to the crossbar by Agass.

The first chance of the final period fell to the home side as Beere’s shot hit the base of the post and then Ross Mackintosh high sticked the puck into the net, so the goal was disallowed.

The leaders were now piling on the pressure, trying to get themselves back into the game and at 56:49 an excellent shot from the left wing from Bradley Moore flew into the top of the net.

After that, Pitts and Lawday went close before, with 16.5 seconds left, Mackintosh scored at the far post to set up a grandstand finish.

However, the home side were not about to let the win slip away and they saw out the final seconds to win a very entertaining game.

This Sunday, the Buffalo travel to Swindon and then they face their Wiltshire rivals again on Sunday, March 3 (face-off 6.30pm) in Basingstoke.

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