THE Basingstoke Bison start their quest for the National League title on Saturday night, when they entertain the Telford Tigers on home ice.

This game has a 6.30pm face-off and then on Sunday (5.15pm), the Herd travel to Romford to take on the Raiders.

The Bison last season finished third in South One, but were in the title race for a large part of the campaign.

So it is no surprise head coach Ashley Tait has kept most of last season's squad with two new faces in Olly Stone and Bayley Harewood, along with returnee Ryan Sutton.

The league this year looks set to be the most competitive to date and Tait said: "This year there will be no easy games it will be a battle ever weekend.

"I think we have a chance of winning the title and I am very happy with the line-up we have."

Last Saturday, the Bison opened their season with a 3-2 overtime victory against the visiting Peterborough.

However, as it was the first leg of the Billy Glover Memorial Cup, overtime was only played for match practice, so the score was recorded as 2-2.

Michael Klejna gave the Herd the lead, the visitors hit back with a brace from James Ferrera before Alex Sampford tied the game and Richard Bordowski won it in overtime On Sunday night, the Bison lost the second leg 4-0, so went down 6-2 on aggregate.

Jordan Marr turned away all 25 shots he faced, while goals from Taylor Romeo, Glenn Billing, Tom Norton and Conor Pollard secured the win.

Tait said: "I felt it was a good weekend, but we have to make sure we play for a full 60 minutes, we cannot afford to take time off."