THE Basingstoke Bison opened their league campaign with a 7-5 home victory over the Telford Tigers, despite at one point throwing away a three-goal lead.

In an even opening first period, the Herd took the lead in the seventh minute from man of the match Alex Sampford, as he deflected an Ollie Stone blue shot past Bradley Day.

The Tigers hit back and levelled on their third powerplay of 11 during the contest, thanks to some great individual skill from their man of the match Dominik Florian.

Three minutes later, the Bison’s Michael Klejna felt Liam Morris had scored a second into the left hand top corner of the net.

Klejna was just by the post and stood pointing his stick at where he thought the puck had entered the net, but no goal was given.

At 10:08 Klejna was sent to the bin for taking exception to a hit on Ashley Tait by Andrew McKinney.

With the Bison shorthanded Hallam Wilson stole the puck from Corey Goodison and skated away from his own blue line to put the home side back in front again.

He just missed out on a shorthanded strike, as Klejna returned to the ice as Wilson skated in on goal.

Once again Telford hit back and scored shorthanded as a clearance from behind his goal by Alex Mettam, took a bad bounce off the boards and Jason Silverthorn was able to fire into the empty net.

However, the Herd were not to be denied the lead at the break thanks to a superb Klejna strike from the right wing with 8.4 seconds left in the session.

The second session saw the Herd take the upper hand and they increased their lead on 21:39, as Richard Bordowski fired home from the slot following a lovely feed from Adam Harding.

A minute later, it became 5-2 after Adam Jones’ blue line shot came off the pads of Day. Tait slotted the rebound across to Klejna, who made no mistake.

At this point the home side looked in control of the contest and still led by three goals at the second break.

The final period continued in the same vein until the visitors amazingly tied the game up with a trio of goals in the space of 51 seconds.

A big goal mouth scramble led to the first, which saw Finley Howells score and then a solo strike from Joseph Aston made it 5-4.

The Bison called a time out, but 29 seconds later Thomas McKinnon squared things.

After this it was not surprising that the Tigers looked the better side, before the home side got themselves back into the game.

The home side took the lead again as a lovely pass from Bordowski released Sampford and he beat Day one-on-one.

Telford came looking for an equaliser and were looking to pull their netminder, when they took a penalty.

The Bison made the most of the final powerplay of the game, as Bordowski scored with 32.5 seconds left and the home fans were able to start celebrating a winning start to this season’s campaign.

Bison player/coach Ashley Tait said: “We got the win, but I am far from happy with the circumstances, as it was not the performance I was looking for and we have got to get a lot better.

“We did not have the jump and excitement I expected for a league opener and we fell asleep in the third period and let them back into the game.”

This evening (5.15pm), the Herd are in action in Romford, where they face the Raiders.

The Essex side last night lost their league opener 9-6 in Swindon.