THE Basingstoke Bison found themselves 3-0 down after three minutes against the visiting Peterborough Phantoms, but still won 5-4 on Saturday evening.
The victory saw the Herd return to the top of the English Premier League, after a superb comeback in a very entertaining game in front of a 1,200 plus crowd.
The visitors gave a debut to their import netminder Kamil Jarina and he was a mere spectator as the Phantoms came out of the blocks flying.
They led after just 38 seconds as Eric Piatak was left unmarked and scored from the slot area.
A change of lines and the Phantoms struck again from Darius Pliskauskas and by this time only 51 seconds had gone in game.
Peterborough then made it 3-0 as Marcel Petran scored with a trademark blue line blast at 3:19.
The visitors then ran into penalty trouble as Will Weldon was joined in the sin bin by Petran and with a two man advantage Bison man-of-the-match Tomas Karpov opened the home side’s account.
The Phantoms nearly added a fourth goal, but Dean Skinns produced the save of the period to deny Pliskauskas on a breakaway.
Then with 8.3 seconds left in the session, the Bison’s Ciaran Long scored at the back post to make it 3-2 at the first interval.
The Herd were quickly out of the blocks in the second session, as Andy Melachrino set Karpov free and he scored 38 seconds after the break.
The Bison then took the lead at 20:51 as Nicky Chinn did the spade work for Joe Rand to score as home side matched the visitors first period scoring spree to the second.
The home side were now dominating and Joe Greener hit the post, before the Phantoms levelled on a powerplay from Marc Levers.
As the period came to a close and with Melachrino about to pull the trigger, the Phantoms goalie kicked the net off with his back skate.
Amazingly the Czech goalie escaped a penalty call, even if referee Tim Pickett was standing some six feet from the net.
The final 20 minutes was more even affair with the winning goal being scored by Karpov to complete his hat-trick at 50:41.
However, the drama was not over by a long way, and with three minutes to go the Bison conceded a powerplay.
The Phantoms called a time-out during the penalty and swapped their goalie bringing on a British netminder Damien King, so they could ice their three import skaters Piatak, Pliskauskas and Petran together.
The visitors pushed forward looking for the equaliser, but Skinns kept them out and then King was pulled for the extra skater with 46 seconds left.
The next twist saw the Bison’s Joe Rand adjudged to have dislodged the net with 25.6 seconds left and referee Stefan Hogarth sent him to the sin bin.
However, after the Peterborough players pointed out it was a delay of game penalty in the last two minutes of the match and therefore a penalty shot should be awarded. The decision was changed.
Up stepped Pliskauskas to try and tie the game, but his shot was padded away by Skinns, much to the delight of the home fans many of whom jumped to their feet after the save.
This still left Peterborough 25 seconds to grab a winner and Luke Ferrara in the dying moments saw his goal bound come off the helmet of Skinns as the Herd took the victory.
The Bison are sure to serve up another action packed night when they face a visit from the league’s penalty kings the Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday night. Don’t be late the game starts at 6.30pm.