THE biggest game of the Basingstoke Bison’s season so far takes place on Wednesday night as the Herd entertain the Slough Jets in the second leg of the English Premier League Cup.
The visitors come to Basingstoke with a one-goal advantage, having won 3-2 in the first leg at the Hangar back in January.
The second encounter is expected to be just as close, with the Bison trying to make the final of the EPL Cup for only the second time in their history.
The last time was back in 2011 when they lost to a Slough side that included the Bison’s current player/coach Doug Sheppard.
The action gets under way at 7.45pm and a big crowd is expected for the mouth-watering clash, with the winners set to play either the Guildford Flames or Manchester Phoenix.
These sides know all about each other and they met in Slough on Saturday night with the Jets winning 7-6 after a penalty shoot-out in a game in which the Herd came back from 6-3 down.
Looking ahead to a cup semi-final clash with his former side Sheppard said: “This is our biggest game of the season so far and at the moment we still have a chance of winning three trophies. We lose against Slough and that is one off the list.”
Unfortunately for the Bison, British forward Joe Greener has been added to the club’s injury list, which already included Matt Selby, Kurt Reynolds, Andy Melachrino and Jacob Corson-Heron.
It will be a short staffed Herd that hit the ice on Wednesday night, but this will make them more dangerous.
Sheppard said: “We have played short benched before this season and we know what we have to do to win.
“We have a lot of big game players and we are only one goal down with three periods to play so we are very much in with a chance to triumph in this game.”
With no away goals in ice hockey, the Herd need to win by two goals to make the final.
If they lead by one goal after 60 minutes the game will go to overtime and penalty shots to decide the winner.
So far the Bison have had the upper hand over the Jets on home ice, beating their Berkshire rivals 6-2 and 4-1 in league encounters.
However, they have lost on their last two visits to Slough, including Saturday’s penalty shoot-out loss.