THE new look Basingstoke Bison gave their fans plenty to cheer about, despite losing their pre-season opener to visitors the Peterborough Phantoms.

The Herd ended up on the wrong end of a 3-2 score line, in what was the first leg of the annual Billy Glover Memorial Trophy.

The home side had 14 new faces from last season in their line-up, compared to five for the visitors.

After an even opening, the Phantoms made the most of their first powerplay of the night, as after a nice move Tom Norton scored from close range at 10:05.

With both teams having a player in the sin bin, a four-on-four exchange, saw the Herd level things, thanks to three new Bison signings.

Russ Cowley’s long pass found Tom Ralph, and he in turn set-up Liam Morris to score at the back post.

Just when it looked like all the Herd’s hard work would see them go in level at the interval, Corey McEwen’s shot hit the back of the net, just moments before the first period buzzer sounded.

The second session saw Bison man of the match Ralph crash a shot off the pipework at 22:16 and then Peterborough’s Petr Stepanek did likewise for the visitors, as both sides searched for more goals.

The Bison were then given a great chance to level things at 33:13, when they were awarded a penalty shot.

This was after Ashley Tait robbed Scott Robson and skated clear, but just as he was about to pull the trigger, he was hauled down from behind.

Tait tried to beat Jordan Marr in the Phantoms’ net but was only able to find the glove of the goalie so it remained 2-1.

The home side did level things much to delight of the home fans, just 41 seconds into the final session.

This was after James White had been sent to the sin bin for tripping Richard Bordowski.

A nice move around the net saw the puck sent back to Ralph at the blue line and he drilled it home.

Soon after, Bordowski set up Morris, but Marr spread himself well to deny the Bison shooter.

Seconds later, Peterborough man of the match Ales Padelek tested Alex Mettam in the home net, but the new Herd goalie was equal to the shot.

The same visiting player then scored what turned out to be the winner at 49:20, with their third powerplay goal of the evening.

The Herd then went looking for an equaliser, with Cowley and Adam Jones, both denied from the blue line.

Then with six minutes to go referee Matthews did not endear himself to the home fans as he called a 2+10 checking from behind penalty on Morris. This was after a check by Morris on Norton.

This of course did not help the home side’s quest for an equaliser, as they had to kill off the penalty, which was quickly followed by another.

Once back to full strength Tait and Michal Klejna both went close, but the Phantoms held on to the win and take a one goal lead into tonight’s second leg in Peterborough.

After the game new Bison player/coach Tait said: “I am fairly pleased with what I saw, but disappointed we lost.

“It was difficult with all the penalties, but we matched them five on five and we go to Peterborough just one goal down.

“The home fans were really great this evening and backed the guys from start to finish.”