THE Basingstoke Bison have three big games in the space of five days, starting with a visit from the Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday night.
This is followed by a trip to Peterborough on Sunday, before they entertain the Guildford Flames in the first leg of the English Premier League Cup semi-final.
Saturday’s game (face-off 6.30pm) against the Steeldogs is sure to be a tough contest. So far this season, both games have been decided after a penalty shoot-out, with the home side winning.
The Herd will be keen to keep this sequence going as they face the EPL’s penalty kings. Sheffield player/coach Andrew Payette just needs one more penalty to reach 200 minutes for the season.
Looking ahead to the game, Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: “We want to keep our winning run going. They are fighting for a play-off place and we know it is going to be a physical game.”
On Sunday night (5.30pm), the Herd travel to face the Phantoms, and the Peterborough team will still have last Saturday’s 5-4 defeat in Basingstoke fresh in their minds.
Tomas Karpov was the Bison’s hat-trick hero, helping his side recover from 3-0 down, and he also scored the overtime winner in Peterborough when the sides last met in Cambridgeshire.
The Phantoms have added British forward Danny Wood to their line-up this week, and he makes his home debut on Sunday.
Sheppard said: “It is a difficult place to go and we have two tough games this weekend, but we have to make sure we get it done and win both games.”
Once the weekend is over, the Herd can then focus on their EPL Cup clash with the Guildford Flames on Wednesday (face-off 7.45pm).
The visitors have won the trophy for the past two seasons, and it is sure to be a highly-charged encounter.
Sheppard said: “We will be looking to put ourselves in the best position we can after the first leg.”
The game will also see the Bison unveil their new cup and play-off jersey, a reproduction of the team’s first-ever home shirt, with the addition of the 25th anniversary logo.
Sheppard said: “It’s important that we pay homage to the history of this great club and I can’t think of a better way than to take things right back to the beginning.
“There’s always excitement whenever a new jersey is made public, and I believe this will be no exception.”
The jerseys have been purchased by the Basingstoke Bison Booster Club, and will be made available to supporters at a later date.
Sheppard said: “It’s testament to the success of the Booster Club that we are able to do such a great thing.
“The supporters have always been at the heart of the club and I’d like to thank Clive Thompson and his committee for making this possible.”
Another extra bonus for the cup semi-final game is the offer of Kids-for-a-Quid tickets when they are accompanied by a full-paying adult.