THE Basingstoke Bison will be hoping to be sent to Coventry this weekend the venue of the play-off finals.

Standing between the Herd and a place in the final four is a double header encounter with the new league champions the Leeds Knights.

The first game takes place in Yorkshire on Saturday night with the return in Basingstoke on Sunday (5.30pm).

The Bison will go into the game very much the underdogs and have lost every encounter with the Knights this season so far.

However, play-off hockey has a habit of throwing up unexpected results and all the pressure this weekend is on the champions.

Looking forward to the clash Bison head coach Ashley Tait said: “I think firstly we have to be ready to compete for six periods.

“The way these series go you can’t stop at any point because the score over 120 minutes is what counts and not just 60.

He added: “We have to minimise their opportunities and make sure we’re ready to capitalise on ours.”

Last weekend in the Herd’s final league games they were beaten twice by the Sheffield Steeldogs 4-3 and 9-4.

The home encounter saw Brendan Baird, Gael Lubwele and Liam Morris rested for the game, so into the line-up came juniors Freddie Stephens, James Bryan, Sam Hemmings-Maher and Xander.

Despite this it was a tight affair from start to finish, with the first period ending after 12 minutes when the puck deflected into the roof and smashed one of the lights.

The teams headed to the dressing room early as an ice cut was needed to clear the debris off the ice.

When the teams returned Sheffield took the lead from Jordan Buesa.

The Herd replied from captain fantastic George Norcliffe as he ripped the puck home from a nice feed from Zack Milton.

A minute later, the Steeldogs took the lead again from Jason Hewitt, before the teams changed ends to start the second period.

Just 24 seconds later Vladislavs Vulkanovs made it 3-1.

The Bison hit back on the powerplay as Milton’s shot came off the pads of Nick Winter and Norcliffe slotted in the rebound.

Then in the final minute of the middle session, the Bison levelled the game, but Sheffield were far from happy that the goal stood.

This was because Bison’s Paul Petts and Steeldogs Lee Haywood were tangled up on the boards.

Both referees allowed play to continue and captain Norcliffe with another great strike scored to complete his hat-trick.

In a tight final 20 minutes, Sheffield won the game thanks to a goal from Matt Bissonnette.

Jack Peacock was the Bison man of the match for another solid performance.

On Sunday night in Sheffield, the Herd’s goals came from man of the match Norcliffe (2), Hallam Wilson and Landsbergs.