THE Basingstoke Bison completed their pre-season with two wins over the Bristol Pitbulls.

The first was a 3-0 success on home ice, followed by a 5-3 victory on the Herd’s first ever visit to Bristol.

Visiting Bristol arrived in Basingstoke on Saturday night, with the Bison’s top goal scorer of last season Alex Roberts in their line-up.

However, it was the Bison who took just 38 seconds to take the lead as new import Marcel Balaz opened his account for the team with the only goal of the opening session.

The home side doubled their lead at 30:14 as Adrian Dusznik and Paul Petts combined for Hallam Wilson to score.

Four minutes later, the Bison added a third as Petts helped on a pass from George Norcliffe and Balaz netted his second on the night.

This proved to be the final goal of the evening, as Herd netminder Alex Mettam turned away all 24 shots he faced on his way to the man of the match award in the 3-0 win.

The following night in Bristol, the visiting Bison raced away to a 3-0 lead thanks to Norcliffe, Zack Milton and Aidan Doughty.

After the first interval, the Pitbulls hit back as Steve Osman and a Reece Kelly brace tied the game at 3-3.

However, the Bison still led by the second buzzer as Gael-Mukeba Lubwele with a powerplay strike and Balaz with a shorthanded marker gave them a two goal lead.

After this Bristol were unable to find a way past Jordan Lawday in the Herd net as the visitors won 5-3. Defenceman Josh Kelly picked up the visitor’s man of the match award.

Looking back on the weekend, Bison head coach Ashley Tait said: “I was happy with the way we played and the improvement shown through the second week. I've been very specific on a few points and have been really happy on how they've been taken on board.”

This weekend, the Bison open their league season with a home game against the Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday September 17 (6.30pm) and then the following night travel to Slough to face the Bees which starts at 5pm.

Liam Morris and Ryan Sutton who missed the games against Bristol are expected to be back in the line-up.

Looking ahead to the league campaign Tait said: “I was going to say it is a tough start, but there are no easy ones. We know what Peterborough bring and do and I don't expect any different. They're well coached and structured and any mistakes from us they will capitalise on.”

Tait added: “Games against the Bees are going to be a battle every time we play them, as it's a rivalry and that is going to be the same every time.”