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Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard's weekly column
2:00pm Saturday 9th March 2013 in Sport
EACH time we take to the ice we’re looking to win a game, however short or long our bench.
We can take pride in being second in the league and reaching the semi-final of the EPL Cup but in the end, we play to win.
That’s why last Saturday’s win over Slough did so much to lift us. Playing with the shortest bench of the season, we came back from a three-goal deficit to take Slough into overtime and penalty-shots.
After a poor start, I’m not sure how many of the fans shared the belief of the players that this was a game we were not going to lose.
We had to put that cup defeat behind us and we had to start finding some form again as we look towards the play-offs. And we did.
It was the kind of game where fans and players were still buzzing long after the action ended.
Climbing into the bus on Sunday, we knew our game against Manchester was going to be tough and so it proved.
Their rink was sold out. They had beaten Guildford the previous evening in their semi-final of the cup but had gone out, as we did, on aggregate. And this was their last chance to secure a win against us, having lost the previous five games.
It was the fastest game of hockey we’ve played all season. We kept pace until the end of the second period, when they scored two goals in quick succession. I still regard Tony Hand’s team as the best we’ve played against this season.
And this Saturday there’s the small matter of playing the league leaders and cup favourites, the Guildford Flames, who are looking to repeat their cup and league double this month.
It’s edge-of-the-seat time. See you there.