THE Basingstoke Bison enjoyed their best weekend of the season as they beat play-off rivals Bristol 5-3 and then won at title-chasing Milton Keynes 7-5, writes Graham Merry.

The victory against Bristol came despite the visitors taking an early lead after Josh Shaw fired through the legs of Alex Mettam.

The Herd replied and levelled things by the first break as George Norcliffe netted from close range.

The Bison then scored the only goal of the middle session thanks to a piece of individual magic from Gail Lubwele.

This set up a tense final session and tension grew even further when Bristol’s Elliott Lewis fired the puck into the top corner.

However, much to the delight of the home fans the Herd hit back just 19 seconds later from Lubwele.

The game was tied for the third time at 47:47 after Caly Robertson waltzed past the home defence to score.

Both sides then went hunting for the winner and when Jay King bounced the puck off the boards it fell perfectly into the path of Marcel Balaz, who fired home with just six minutes remaining.

As the clock ticked down Bristol pulled their netminder, but it was the Bison who scored as Milton and man of the match Balaz exchanged passes, before Balaz from a few feet out, slotted into the empty net.

Basingstoke Gazette: Gail Lubwele (9) and Marcel Balaz who scored two each against BristolGail Lubwele (9) and Marcel Balaz who scored two each against Bristol (Image: Jo Loat)

On Sunday night, the Herd dented Milton Keynes’ title hopes with a 7-5 victory, coming back from 2-0 down.

Man of the match Lubwele netted four and there was one each for Balaz, Norcliffe and Edgars Landsbergs.

MK’s goals came from Sean Norris with a pair, while Tim Wallace, Liam Stewart and Bobby Chamberlain netted the others.

After the four-point weekend Bison head coach Ashley Tait said: “Obviously I am really pleased. Against Bristol as much as we outshot them in the first they had the better of it. We could have been three or four ahead in the second, but in the end, we dug in and got the two points.

At MK we took a while to get going and did not have the best start. After that we absorbed a lot of pressure and scored timely goals to win the game.”

This weekend, the Bison are at home to Swindon on Saturday (6.30pm) and then they have their last trip to Hull this season on Sunday (5.30pm).