Basingstoke Bison prepare for 'huge' game against Peterborough Phantoms

Basingstoke Gazette: Bison netminder Dean Skinns should be fit to face the Phantoms on Saturday. Bison netminder Dean Skinns should be fit to face the Phantoms on Saturday.

THE BASINGSTOKE Bison will be keen to end their three-game losing streak against the visiting Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday.

A point from the contest will send the Herd back to the top of the English Premier League, a position they surrendered last Sunday following a 5-3 defeat to title rivals the Manchester Phoenix.

Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard was forced out of the Phoenix game after being hit by the puck, but he will be back for the game on Saturday, which has a 6.30pm face-off.

Heroic netminder Dean Skinns, who was helped off the ice as the second session ended early in Manchester due to a leg injury and played through the pain barrier in the final period, is expected to be in the line-up as well.

The only fitness question mark hangs over defenceman Kurt Reynolds, who returned last Saturday, but sat out Sunday’s loss.

The Herd have won their previous two home encounters against Peterborough this season.

The last one was a 6-0 success in late November, in which Skinns recorded his second of four shut-outs this season.

Since their last visit to Hampshire, the Phantoms have made a few changes after they appointed Slava Koulikov from the Slough Jets as their player/coach.

Two of the Berkshire sides’ imports, Kamil Jarina and Darius Pliskauskas, have joined him in Cambridgeshire, but injured netminder Jarina has yet to make his debut, so their spare import, defenceman Jozef Sladok, has played in recent games.

Despite being bottom of the table, Peterborough picked up three points last weekend from their double header with new EPL leaders the Guildford Flames.

Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: “This is a huge game for us, being our only one of the weekend. We have to make sure we do all we can to get the win.”

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