THE Basingstoke Bison maintained their unbeaten home record this season with a comfortable 6-2 victory and ended visiting Manchester Phoenix’s 100 per cent start to the campaign.

The visitors were the last team to win in Basingstoke back in March, but without their injured star import Stanislav Gron and down to 12 skaters it was always going to be tough.

The Herd opened the scoring on the powerplay, after a great strike from Ciaran Long, but by the first buzzer the Phoenix were level thanks to their man-of-the-match James Archer.

The home side ran into early penalty trouble in the second period, as referee Stephen Matthews endeared himself to the home fans.

The Bison killed off 54 seconds of a two man advantage for the Phoenix and then made the most of their first powerplay of the session.

Man-of-the-match Alan Lack came close to scoring as his effort hit the post and then Tomas Karpov made no mistake as roofed the puck, after Miroslav Vantroba’s shot had been blocked.

The Bison made it 3-1, just 9.1 seconds before the second buzzer thanks to Declan Balmer’s brilliant blue line bullet.

The scoring in the period was still not finished as the Bison surged forward again and Joe Greener’s shot was not held by the glove Stephen Fone and fell into the net with four seconds left on the clock.

Manchester certainly came out of the blocks flying in the final session, and it took them just 35 seconds to make it 4-2, as Michal Satek’s cross ice pass saw Mark Thomas fire in from the right wing.

Satek himself went close seconds later, before the Phoenix were given a powerplay and Tomas Hiadlovsky is called into action making a couple of good saves.

Another tame penalty call by Matthews saw JJ Pitchley depart to the sin bin, but it was just lucky the Manchester powerplay was as bad as the referee, as they failed on all eight attempts on the night.

Former Bison favourite Jacob Corson-Heron then broke the end of his stick as he slashed Alan Lack and instead of dropping his stick, he carried on skating with it.

The Herd scored thanks to Stuart Mogg, on what is called a delayed penalty, as it had not been called.

However, the Bison still should have had another powerplay, but Matthews decided not to call the extra penalty even if the home side appealed for.

The home side wrapped up the victory thanks to Lack, as he capped a great performance with a goal in the final minute of the match.

The victory levels the Bison on four points after three games, just a point behind leaders Guildford Flames.

Tonight, the Herd will hope to complete a four-point weekend as they travel to reigning league champions the Telford Tigers.

The Tigers won 7-2 at Hull on Saturday night, while Guildford ended Peterborough’s 100 per cent start with a 3-2 victory.

Elsewhere, Swindon buzzed past the Bracknell Bees 8-4 and Sheffield Steeldogs produced their first win of the season with 5-4 success in Milton Keynes.