THE Basingstoke Bison narrowly lost their top of the table clash 2-1 to the visiting Peterborough Phantoms, in a very entertaining game on Saturday night.

The Herd welcomed back Kurt Reynolds and Tomas Karpov into their line-up, but were minus Elliott Dewey.

In a very even first 20 minutes, both sides had their chances with probably the Phantoms going closest thanks to a bad deflection off the back boards which went straight to Ales Padelek, but Dean Skinns made a great save.

Then later in the session, a stray defensive pass from Joe Baird, saw Padelek alone in the slot, but once again Skinns denied him.

Having said the first session was even, the Bison dominated the middle period and were unlucky to have only one goal to show for all their efforts, as they out shot the visitors 19-3.

The home side started the period on the powerplay and Dan Scott tested Peterborough man of the match Euan King from the blue line.

Then Bison man of the match Joe Baird was found by Roman Malinik, but King came out well to shut down the angle of his shot.

Soon after, King came up with a super double stop from Karpov and Hallam Wilson.

Grant Rounding then tested the visiting goalie, before a lovely move saw Baird find Rounding down the left wing. He centred the puck for Ryan Sutton, who was denied by a great save from King, and in the process the net come off its moorings, so Paul Petts lost his chance with the rebound.

The Bison finally got their reward on the powerplay, as Ivan Antonov scored with a shot from the top of the circle, after a move which involved Malinik and Baird at 33:14.

Two minutes later, Bison’s Scott and Will Weldon were given four minutes each for roughing, after Scott took exception to a late hit.

The final period saw the Bison now without the injured Dan Davies and Peterborough started it on the powerplay and made full use of it as the impressive Glen Billing equalised from the right wing.

After this was an even period, both sides went for the winner and Bison’s Aaron Connolly hit the base of the post and then a great move between Malinik and Smith saw the later denied by a great glove save.

Soon after the Bison went close again, but from this Peterborough broke away with a three-on-one advantage.

Skinns saved the first shot, but had no chance with the rebound which was put away by James Ferrara at 55:29.

With 69 seconds left, the Bison called a time out and pulled their netminder for the extra skater.

Darius Pliskauskas so nearly scored a third for the visitors, as his shot at the empty net hit the post.

The Herd have the chance for quick revenge when they head to Peterborough on New Year’s Day, for another top of the table clash.

On Wednesday night, the Bison lost 4-3 at home to the Swindon Wildcats after a penalty shoot-out in the National Cup.

Max Birbraer gave the visitors the lead, before Smith equalised, but Floyd Taylor made it 2-1 at the first break to the visitors.

In the final session, Dan Scott and Smith gave the Bison a 3-2 lead, but an Aaron Nell goal sent the game into overtime, which failed to split the teams.

In the shoot-out, all three Swindon players Edgars Bebris, Nell and Jan Kostal scored, while Antonov netted for the Herd.

The previous night, in the same competition the Bison were beaten 6-4 in Swindon.

A brace from Nell gave them a 2-0 lead at the first break.

The Bison won the second session 3-2, thanks to goals from Connolly, Sutton and Antonov, while Joseph Hazeldine and Sam Bullas scored for the home side.

Dan Davies tied the game at 46:20, but a minute later Taylor made it 5-4 and Nell wrapped up the scoring with an empty net goal.