THE Basingstoke Bison won their final home game of 2022 as they beat the visiting Swindon Wildcats 6-3 on Boxing Day, writes Graham Merry.

For this contest, the Bison were without import Marcel Balaz who started a four-match suspension after he received a match penalty for slew footing in the Herd’s last game, while British forward Paul Petts was still out injured.

On the plus side fans’ favourite Liam Morris was back in the line-up after his 10-game ban.

It was the visiting Wildcats who were first to find the back of the net at 3:15 from man of the match Balint Pakozdi.

Their lead lasted less than two minutes as Zack Milton equalised as he converted a pass from Gael Lubwele.

With no further scoring, the teams went in at the first break level at 1-1.

Swindon took seven minutes of the second session to edge in front again as Pakozdi netted his second of the night.

Once again the home side hit back as man of the match Lubwele scored assisted by Brendan Baird.

Then the Herd took the lead for the first time in the contest, 32 seconds into their second powerplay of the night, as Edgars Landsbergs finished off a move which involved Jay King and Milton at 36:35.

This gave the Bison a one goal advantage going into the final period.

They then put themselves firmly in the driving seat with two goals in 52 seconds.

Teenager Ollie Hemming-Maher scored the first from Morris and Landsbergs and this was quickly followed by a Hallam Wilson strike to make it 5-2, with the helpers going to Milton and Lubwele.

With less than two minutes left in the contest, Bison import Lubwele departed to the sin bin,

Swindon made full use of the extra man as former Herd man Russ Cowley scored to close the gap to two.

However, when the visitors pulled their goalie, Lubwele made sure of the victory as he hit the empty net.

Next up for the Bison is their final game of 2022, which is a trip to Milton Keynes to face the Lightning on Friday December 30 (7.30pm).

The return game is on New Year’s Day in Basingstoke starting at 5.30pm.