Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard's weekly column

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard. Buy this photo » Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard.

THERE’S a great vibe in the locker room at present and among the fans as well.

It’s not just that we’ve picked up four more points with wins against Telford and Guildford. We’re playing the kind of hockey I had in mind when I put the squad together and it’s proving effective and entertaining.

Not that the fans are short of ideas on how to entertain themselves. Their chanting seemed to encourage the introduction of one of Telford’s “characters” for the last few minutes of the game. Every move he made was greeted with cheers and he left the ice with a huge smile on his face.

There are usually several hundred fans who travel to local derbies. If Saturday had been relaxed, Sunday was much more of an edge of the seat affair for them.

Zach Sullivan was away on international duty and Muzzy Wales moved back into defence. Carl Graham, another defender, was playing through an injury.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the final period, Joe Baird, a defender, took a five minute plus game penalty. Guildford took advantage of that and as the minutes ticked away we found ourselves two goals down.

But this squad is resilient. Out of necessity, we played more aggressively. Joe Greener scored a short-handed goal and Joe Rand – who else – tied the game at 3-3, meaning we would play overtime.

Tom Karpov had already shown us in Peterborough this season that he has a flair for the dramatic. He has great skill and speed and the stage was set for him to score a stunning winning goal.

Kurt Reynolds won man of the match, local lad Dean Skinns was excellent in goal, but we all experienced that special buzz when you’re a member of a team that pulls off a great win.



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