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MATCHNIGHT LIVE - Milton Keynes Lightning v Basingstoke Bison
This live event has finished
- Final Score - Milton Keynes Lightning 1 Basingstoke Bison 4
- Andy Melachrino opens the scoring for the Bison, but Tom Carlon soon level things as the first period ends 1-1.
- The second period belonged to the Bison, with three unanswered goals from Miroslav Vantroba, Melachrino and Ciaran Long. The first two being on the powerplay.
- With no further goals in the last period, the Herd will have a three goal advantage going into the second leg next Wednesday.
Basingstoke Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: "We have put ourselves in a good position, but there are still three periods to play in the final.
"It was another good all-round team performance tonight and it was great to see some many Bison fans here and we appreciate them coming."
FINAL SCORE - MK 1 Bison 4
A great night in Coventry and the first leg mission is complete and the Bison fans will go home happy. The omens look good for the Herd as they have not lost by more than two goals all season on home ice.
Join us next Wednesday for the second leg in Basingstoke and on Saturday when he Bison face a visit from the Swindon Wildcats in a crunch league game.
Reaction to follow.
The Bison will now end the game without their top British defenceman Kurt Reynolds as he gets a 2+10 for checing from behind. The Herd kill the MK powerplay.
MK lose top British player Leigh Jamieson for the rest of the game as he picks up a 2+10 for checking from behind. Karpov goes close on the powerplay, but there is no addition to the scoreline.
Melachrino goes close to getting his hat-trick, but Wall comes up with the save.
The fifth MK powerplay of the night goes begging as Connolly is back after a two minute rest for tripping.
Skinns and the Bison D keep the Lightning out as Selby and Baird return to the ice. MK could have so easily got themselves back into the game. So a great job.
Bison run into penalty trouble as Joe Biard joins Matt Selby in the sin bin which gives MK 59 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage.
Good MK pressure, but the rest of the Connolly penalty is killed off.
Third period underway
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD - MK 1 Bison 4
Well the powerplay is working now and the Herd will be happy to bank this lead ahead of th second leg. MK will have other ideas and have a 57 second powerplay to start the final period. Just remains to see if McPherson can stay out of the sin bin.
MK's top penalty taker McPherson heads to the sin bin again, but there is no powerplay goal as Bison's Connolly departs for high sticks a minute later.
GOAL - MK 1 Bison 4 - Ciaran Long (35:09)
The Bison Brit line comes up trumps as Long finishes a nice move involving Greener and Nicky Chinn. MK call a time out which is a smart move, before the score gets out of hand.
GOAL - MK 1 Bison 3 - Andy Melachrino (32:45)
Melachrino scores his second of the night this time on the powerplay from close range.
Three players off to the sin bin as the MK net comes off. Connolly for the Bison gets two for roughing as does Grant McPherson. MK's Lukas Zatopek gets a delay penalty to give the Bison another powerplay.
Bison are given a great chance to extend their lead on a double powerplay as Lewis Christie joins Janne Jokila in the sin bin. Wall stands tall and MK get themselves out of jail.
Adam Carr tests Skinns, but he comes up with the save as MK look for an equaliser.
GOAL - MK 1 Bison 2 - Miroslav Vantroba (22:12)
The Bison powerplay unit strikes gold as Vantroba fires in from the blue line after Joe Greener and Tomas Karpov combine.
This is after Grant McPherson top penalty taker departs for high sticks.
Bison kill off the rest of the Vantroba hooking penalty.
Second period underway.
END OF THE FIRST PERIOD - MK 1 Bison 1
A fair reflection of the opening 20 minutes. MK will start the second period with 57 seconds left on the Vantroba penalty so lets hope the Herd can kill this off.
Vantroba takes the first Bison penalty of the night as I am back online after website stopped working.
MK kill the first penalty of the night against former Bison player Ross Bowers. The Herd are finding it tough to convert powerplays at the moment.
Both sides have chances to add to their tally.
GOAL - MK 1 Bison 1 - Tom Carlon (5:22)
The home side hit straight back from Carlon after good work by Emersic and Lascek. Maybe it might be a high scoring game after all.
GOAL - MK 0 Bison 1 - Andy Melachrino (4:01)
Melachrino fires into the net from a pass from former MK player Michael Wales. Great way to start.
Game underway Dean Skinns is in goal for Bison and Stephen Wall guards the pipes for the Lightning.
Team news tonight is that both teams are at full strength which is just the way you want it to be for the final.
MK may have shipped 13 goals at the weekend against Guildford, but I am expecting a close game tonight as both teams are bound to focus on defence first before attack.
The Bison will be looking to make it seven wins on the trot.
This is the fourth meeting between these sides this season at Coventry and so far the Herd have won two of the three games including a 6-2 vicrtory last time.
The Bison were last in the EPL Cup final in 2011 when they lost to Slough and the previous year was the last time MK got this far in the competition. They lost to Guildford, but did win the league title that season.
Good evening and welcome to tonight's EPL Cup final first leg between Milton Keynes Lightning and Basingstoke Bison
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