THE BASINGSTOKE Bison came back from 3-1 down, to beat the Sheffield Steeldogs 4-3 in a penalty filled encounter in Yorkshire on Sunday night.
It was a fitting way for Joe Baird to celebrate his 500th English Premier League appearances.
The Steeldogs opened the scoring at 10:44, as Andre Payette stepped out of the sin bin to help set-up Greg Wood to score.
The Herd levelled from Ciaran Long just 37 seconds after the interval, but Sheffield restored the lead within a minute from Andrew Hirst.
The Bison then ran into penalty trouble as Miroslav Vantroba joined Ciaran Long in the sin bin and the Steeldogs made it 3-1 from Greg Chambers.
By this time the Bison had lost top Canadian forward Joe Rand to a face injury and he sat out the rest of the game.
A couple bouts of roughing saw the Herd’s Joe Greener and Sheffield’s Steven Duncombe clash and both received four minutes.
This was followed by Matt Selby taking on Steeldogs player/coach Payette and they received four minutes as well, while the Bison’s Aaron Connolly also picked up a 10 minute incitement penalty as he tried to get Tim Smith to fight.
The Bison got themselves back into the contest early in the final session as captain Nicky Chinn scored and soon after Sheffield were given a powerplay and Selby also picked up a 10 minute misconduct penalty at the same time.
The Herd killed this powerplay and two more, before Sheffield’s Lubomir Korhon and Connolly went to the sin bin together.
A rare moment of full strength hockey saw the Bison tie the game from Greener at 56:31.
Within a minute, the Herd were given their first powerplay of the final session, as Lewis Bell was called for clipping.
Sheffield import Chambers disputed the call and earned himself a 10 minute misconduct penalty.
The Bison made the most of the man advantage as Karpov scored at 58:10 to make it 4-3.
The action was far than over as Sheffield pulled their goalie with 63 seconds left.
Then with 15 seconds left, Doug Sheppard took a hooking penalty which did not go down well with the Bison players and they picked up another two minutes for abuse from the bench, as well as two 10 minute penalties on Nicky Chinn and Karpov.
It took the Herd’s penalty count to 70 minutes for the game, a new Herd EPL record for a road game.
The Steeldogs threw everything at Dean Skinns in the final seconds, but he kept them out as the Bison held on to win 4-3.
The Herd will now focus on booking their place in the final of EPL Cup, when they travel to the Guildford Flames for the second leg of their semi-final clash on Wednesday night.
The Bison have an 8-3 advantage from last week’s first game.