BASINGSTOKE Bison have put themselves in a good position to make the final four of the English Premier League play-off, after they won the first-leg of their quarter-final 2-0 in Sheffield on Saturday night.
The Herd's man-of-the-match netminder Dean Skinns turned away 26 shots on the way to his fifth shut-out of the season, as the Steeldogs were blanked.
In a hard fought physical battle, the opening goal of the contest did not arrive until 23:03, when Ciaran Long scored assisted by Tomas Karpov and Andy Melachrino.
The Steeldogs had a great chance to level soon after, as Zach Sullivan joined Nicky Chinn in the sin bin, but the Herd killed off the penalties.
The visitors then doubled their lead to 2-0 thanks to Long from Karpov and Connolly, as they out shot the hosts 21-9 in the middle session.
The final session saw Sheffield really try to open their account and Skinns produced an excellent save to keep out Sheffield 50 goal marksman Lubomir Korhon.
In the end there were no further goals in the last 20 minutes leaving the Bison to defend a two lead today in the second-leg, and there will be live text updates from the game on this website.
In the other quarter-final games Bracknell beat league champions Manchester 3-2 and honours were even 4-4 between Telford and Guildford.
Swindon's excellent run of results came to an end as they were beaten 3-2 at home by Milton Keynes.