Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard's weekly column

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard. Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard.

AFTER our latest run of wins, which have taken us back to the top of the league, we took Monday off and returned to training on Tuesday to get ready for a double-header against local rivals Slough this weekend.

After the weekend, we will start to prepare for the first leg of the EPL Cup Final in Coventry the following Wednesday.

We’re hitting our best form at the right time but we know how important it is not to get ahead of ourselves.

It brings confidence to the team, of course, when your goal-tender stones the opposition in the opening play of the game, as Dean Skinns did on Saturday against Manchester. A few days earlier, Dean’s performance in Sheffield in a penalty shoot-out had ensured we took full points from a difficult away fixture.

With a goal-tender on his game, week in and week out, and our whole team playing so well defensively, our forwards can enjoy making and taking goals.

Is there a better offensive line in the league at the moment than Tom Karpov, Muzzy Wales and Andy Melachrino?

I can understand how the fans are still buzzing after Saturday night’s performance against Manchester. I know, too, that having their support in Coventry next Wednesday will energise and encourage the team.

We can’t win the English Premier League Cup in Coventry in the first leg of a two-leg final, but we can set up another great night of hockey when Milton Keynes come to Basingstoke to play the deciding game.

But our first priority is to continue our strong League form.

If the Winter Olympics has persuaded you to give ice hockey a try, why not come along on Saturday night and support us as we push for the title?

See you there,

Doug

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