THE Basingstoke Bison gave league leaders Leeds Knights a fright, but in the end were unable to dent their 100 per cent record, as they lost 3-1 on home ice and 4-1 away, writes Graham Merry.

Last weekend, the Herd welcomed back British forward Alex Sampford, having missed the start of the campaign.

Saturday night’s encounter in Basingstoke proved to be a very even contest with the first goal not coming until 21:25, being scored by Lewis Baldwin of the Knights.

Soon after, the Bison were given a four-minute powerplay and Sam Gospel in the visitor’s net had a busy time as the Herd piled on the pressure with Gael Lubwele, Aidan Doughty, Jay King, George Norcliffe and Marcel Balaz all denied.

Basingstoke Gazette: Alex Sampford (5) was back in the Bison line-up. Credit: Jo LoatAlex Sampford (5) was back in the Bison line-up. Credit: Jo Loat (Image: Jo Loat)

With 31 seconds left in the second session, tempers boiled over after Cole Shudra slashed netminder Alex Mettam which led to Balaz and Shudra exchanging blows.

The Bison then levelled things at 44:27 as man of the match Zach Milton skated down the left wing and fired home.

This set up a tense finale, with the deadlock broken with six minutes left by Leeds’ Grant Cooper.

The Bison tried to force an equaliser and with 44 seconds left pulled their netminder.

The Herd’s Liam Morris then flashed a shot just wide, but the rebound fell kindly to Kieran Brown who fed Adam Barnes who made no mistake in hitting the empty net.

Basingstoke Gazette: Tempers boil over. Credit: Jo LoatTempers boil over. Credit: Jo Loat (Image: Jo Loat)

In Sunday’s contest in Leeds, the Knights led 1-0 at the first buzzer from Barnes.

The Bison tied the game thanks to a Norcliffe powerplay strike, before Zach Brooks made it 2-1 to the home side.

For the second night running a slash from Shudra sparked a fight, this time with Josh Kelly. Shudra was dismissed for slashing, which gave the Bison a five-minute powerplay.

Unfortunately, it was Leeds who scored shorthanded from Cooper and then Carter Hamill completed the 4-1 win.

Both netminders Gospel and Jordan Lawday picked up the man-of-the-match awards.

Bison head coach Ashley Tait said: “I felt we did enough on Saturday to get something out of the game. There were stages on Sunday when we had the better of the game, but unfortunately it did not go our way. We will play worse and probably win between now and April.”

This weekend, the Bison have just one game away in Sheffield on Saturday (7.30pm) with their next home game being on Wednesday October 26 against Bristol which has a 7.15pm face-off.

Tait said: “I think we can compete with anyone but we have to find that level of consistency and make sure we capitalise when we make chances.”