BASINGSTOKE Bison will hope to be sent to Coventry after their weekend showdown with the Sheffield Steeldogs in the play-off quarter-finals.
The Herd travel north for the first- leg at Ice Sheffield on Saturday (face-off 7.30pm) with the return on home ice on Sunday face-off 5.30pm.
Last season, Doug Sheppard masterminded the Bison first-ever appearance in the finals weekend at Coventry, which they lost in a heart breaking semi-final to Manchester after a shoot-out.
They qualified for their final four after a tense encounter with Swindon Wildcats, which was level after 120 minutes and was decided by Joe Greener’s overtime winner.
The Bison and Steeldogs have locked horns before at this stage of the play-offs and the Yorkshire side won both games 2-1, thanks to a superb performance from netminder Ben Bowns who faced 95 shots over the two games.
This was back in 2012, when netminder Bowns and free scoring import Janis Ozolins were their key players.
This weekend the main men for the Sheffield outfit are likely to be import shot stopper Delibor Sedlar and leading goal scorer Lubomir Korhon.
It is going to be another close contest as the teams have played out six one-goal games in the league season with the Bison winning the last five.
The Herd will welcome back Matt Selby and Greener from injury for the Sheffield showdown, but will be minus Michael Wales after the British forward broke his ankle in Swindon last Saturday.
Looking ahead to the play-off clash Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: “It is going to be a tough physical battle. We have to keep our eye on Korhon as he is a very dangerous player.
“It is tough to lose Muzzy Wales as I know he was looking forward to the play-offs. The boys will rally round and he will be giving us his leadership from the bench.” Victory over the two legs will book a place in the final four of the play- offs in Coventry against either Guildford or Telford.