THE Basingstoke Bison suffered a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to the visiting Peterborough Phantoms in the first leg of their play-off semi-final last night.

For the first 40 minutes the Herd dominated the game, but a superb performance from man of the match Jordan Marr limited them to just one goal.

In a real fierce battle from the opening face-off, the Herd piled on the pressure which forced a penalty.

On the powerplay a sweet strike from Adam Harding hit the target, but by then much to the displeasure of the home fans, the net was knocked off by the goalie.

The red goal light came on again four minutes later, but once against the net had moved and the goal disallowed.

However, it was third time lucky for the Herd as at 12:20 a lovely sweeping move saw Liam Morris find Paul Petts and in turn, he fed man of the match Adam Harding, who slid the puck to Hallam Wilson to score.

Peterborough were then given their first powerplay and during it Phantoms’ Will Weedon and Ales Padelek collided in centre ice, giving Ashley Tait a shorthanded chance, which Marr saved.

The second period continued like the first as Marr produced a point blank stop to deny Michal Klejna within the first two minutes of the restart.

Cowley tried to beat Marr on the back hand and then great work from Alex Sampford saw Wilson’s volley saved.

Tait then looked certain to score, but somehow Marr denied him, and another great stop came when Klejna had time at the top of the circle to shoot.

A Peterborough penalty saw a rest bite from the pressure, but then with 47.3 seconds left in the session, Tom Norton hacked down Richard Bordowski, which gave the Bison their final powerplay of the night.

They had to wait until the final period to convert it, as Harding and Klejna combined for George Norcliffe to score at 41:10.

At this point, the Phantoms reshuffled their forward lines and fought their way back, against a Bison team now minus defencemen Adam Jones and Jay King, with forward Russ Cowley on blue line duties.

At 45:34 Petr Stepanek opened the Phantoms account straight off a face-off with a sweet strike and then a minute later the visitors were level.

This goal came on the powerplay as Corey McEwen with a lovely back hand pass put the puck into the path of Scott Robson who did the rest from close range.

Soon after, McEwen had a breakaway chance, but Alex Mettam made a great save.

This was equalled at the other end by Marr as Sampford tried to score from the slot.

With 10 minutes left in the game, Tom Ralph was caught in the face by a stick, but no penalty was called.

Peterborough then scored the game winning goal at 54:10 as Jarvis Hunt gobbled up the rebound from Taylor Romeo’s shot.

The Herd went looking for an equaliser and Klejna once again was somehow denied and the home side ended up on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline, when they deserved so much more.

After the game assistant coach Tony Redmond said: “If we go again like we did tonight and get that first goal, we are right back in it. It was tough tonight after dominating for such a long time, but it is what it is and we have the spirit in the room to make things happen.”

Tonight (5.30pm), the Herd are at Peterborough for the second leg.

In the other semi-final clash Bracknell drew 2-2 with visiting Swindon.