6:00am Thursday 5th June 2014
By Graham Merry
BASINGSTOKE Bison have made a triple whammy of re-signings this week – and the good news is that leading goalscorer Tomas Karpov, import defenceman Miroslav Vantroba and British forward Andy Melachrino will all be back with the Herd.
Bison fans will be delighted with the signings, which mean the double-winning Herd will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in next season’s English Premier League.
Player of the season Karpov proved to be an instant hit in Basingstoke last term and, along with talisman Melachrino, he formed a lethal partnership which was worth over 60 goals.
Vantroba was the team’s top-scoring defenceman last season, as well as being a key member of the powerplay unit.
Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: “These are three more big signings for us, and I am very happy with the way the team is taking shape for the new season.”
The Bison have now completed their import quartet, and only have a handful of British signings to make – some of whom will be new faces to the Herd.
Karpov was the Herd’s leading goal scorer last season with 43 goals in a 87 point haul from 60 games.
The Czech Republic forward will be a Basingstoke player for the next three years, which is great news for Basingstoke fans.
As well as leading the Bison attack, the 25-year-old will be attending the University of Winchester as he completes a degree in business management.
Bison player/coach Doug Sheppard said: “Once Tomas got into his stride we saw what he was capable of and I am sure he will continue where he left off last season.
“He is a player who can score 50 goals next season and was one of the stand-out players in the play-offs.”
Karpov’s partner in crime for much of last season was Melachrino.
He had a break-out season after an injury ravaged first campaign in Basingstoke.
The 20-year-old hit the net 19 times in the league campaign and was the spark plug of his line with his fast skating and physical play.
Sheppard said: “Andy had a breakthrough year for him and was excellent for us. I see no reason why he cannot score over 20 goals for us next season.”
Melachrino is delighted to be back and said: “Last year it was like playing for a family and a lot of the guys are back again. I think we will be as competitive as we were last year.
“I am really looking forward to playing with Tomas and Muzzy (Michael Wales) again.”
Adding even more steel to the back division is Slovak Vantroba, the leading blue line scorer with 10 goals thanks to his rocket blue line shot, which helped him to 44 points.
Sheppard said: “Miro is another great re-signing for us.
“He is a smart player who always makes the right decisions when he has the puck. I am very pleased to have him back.”
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