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Injury rules Basingstoke Bison boss out of Milton Keynes double header
The Herd player/coach has been ruled out for several weeks with an upper-body injury sustained when he fell awkwardly in the opening period of Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Bracknell.
Sheppard scored once and made four assists in the first three games of the season, so his absence will be keenly felt.
“Everyone is important and we cannot afford to lose anyone so it means that everyone has got to step up,” the Bison player/coach, pictured right, said. “We just have to persevere through injuries.
“I want to be on the ice helping out, but it is what it is. I’ll be able to see a lot more from behind the bench so it will be a good opportunity to have a look at the team and the way we are playing.”
This weekend sees the Herd face Milton Keynes twice. The sides meet at the Basingstoke Arena on Saturday (face-off 6.30pm), with the return match taking place the following evening (face-off 5.30pm).
The Lightning have only played two games so far this season. They recorded an excellent 8-2 victory over the visiting Manchester Phoenix on Saturday but lost 5-2 at the Guildford Flames the following day.
Their line-up will include forwards Nicky Chinn and Chris Wiggins, who were both Basingstoke players last season – and Sheppard is expecting two tough games.
“Nicky Chinn and Chris Wiggins are both ex-Basingstoke players and they are sure to come out firing,” the Bison boss said. “We have to be ready and match their intensity.
“Milton Keynes look like an excellent side. They have got a bit of everything. They are physical, have guys who can put it in the net and play well defensively.
“They are well coached and look like they should be real contenders so it is good to have home and away games against them at this point in the season. We are going to have our hands full, that is for sure.
“We really need to be at our best for the home game on Saturday. Hopefully, we can pick up a win and then go to Milton Keynes and see what happens because it would be really big if we could get a clean sweep.”