Basingstoke Bison aim to keep up title challenge with three wins in a week

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard is targeting a hat-trick of wins this week. Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard is targeting a hat-trick of wins this week.

HAVING booked their place in the final of the English Premier League Cup, the Basingstoke Bison now turn their attention to keeping the pressure on league leaders the Manchester Phoenix.

The second-placed Herd will be out to chalk up a hat-trick of wins in the space of five days, as they face Milton Keynes, Slough and Sheffield.

The opening game will see Basingstoke travel to Coventry to face the MK Lightning on Saturday night (face-off 7.30pm).

Only a fortnight ago, the Lightning struck at the home of the Herd, winning a closely fought contest 3-2 to square the league series 2-2.

The Bison hope to have forward Andy Melachrino back from injury for the game, but fellow Brit Cameron Wynn is set to miss the whole of the weekend.

Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: “We only played them a few weeks ago and lost. We will make the necessary adjustments and I believe we can come away with two points.”

On Sunday night, the Bison entertain the Slough Jets at the Basingstoke Arena, in a game which starts at 5.30pm.

The Jets have slid down the table and out of the play-off slots after a mass exodus of players, but despite this they are capable of beating anyone.

Sheppard said: “They beat us last time in their own rink and pushed Swindon all the way on Sunday, so we will not be taking them lightly.”

Then, on Wednesday evening, the Bison play their third game in the space of five days, taking on the Sheffield Steeldogs at Ice Sheffield (face-off 7.30pm).

All four games between the sides so far this season have been decided by a single goal, and there is no reason to think this midweek encounter will not end the same way.

Sheppard said: “We have to be ready for a physical battle and know it is going to be a tough game.”

Tonight, the Bison will learn who they will face in the final of the EPL Cup, as Manchester face Milton Keynes in the second-leg of their semi-final, with the scores locked at 5-5.

Visit basingstoke gazette.co.uk/sport for live text coverage from the game against Slough on Sunday.

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