THE Basingstoke Bison closed the gap to third placed Peterborough Phantoms to three points, after beating the visiting Sheffield Steeldogs 6-3 on Saturday evening.

The Herd welcomed back Tom Ralph and Liam Morris to their line-up but were without the injured Josh Kelly.

It was the visitors who started the better and took the lead at 3:23.

Sheffield man of the match Vladimir Luka’s shot came back off the post and out to Tim Smith who fired the puck in from the blue line and James Spurr put away the rebound.

With the home side struggling to get to grips with the pace and physicality of the Steeldogs, it took them until the tenth minute to really test Dimitri Zimozdra, thanks to George Norcliffe.

However, seconds later they levelled things as Sean Norris scored from close range.

This seemed to kick start the home side and on their first powerplay of the night in the final minute of the first period, they took the lead 2.6 seconds before the buzzer.

Adam Jones and Norris combined, and the puck came off the goalie’s pads to the waiting Michal Klejna at the far post.

The second session saw the Herd have early chances, before Sheffield equalised as the puck was not cleared and Jack Brammer returned it with interest at 25:11.

The home side were then given three powerplays in quick succession.

In the final one Adam Harding was denied three times by excellent saves from Zimozdra and then just seconds after the third powerplay ran out, he scored by putting the puck in the net off the back of the netminder.

The visitors came looking for an equaliser and Bison ‘s Alex Mettam produced a great save to deny Charles Thompson to keep the score 3-2 at the second interval.

The Bison started the final session with a two man advantage but were unable to convert it.

Once again, a goal came just after the penalties ran out. Man of the match Sam Talbot’s shot went just wide of the net. The puck came back off the back board and Richard Bordowski was on hand to fire into the roof of the net.

The Steeldogs were then given two great opportunities to get themselves back in the game with 44 seconds of a two-man advantage followed by a full two minutes as well.

The Bison killed off the penalties, but Sheffield did make it 4-3 at 51:11, thanks to a superb solo goal from Luka.

They then suffered penalty trouble and the Herd made the most of it with two powerplay goals in the last four minutes.

The first came from Alex Sampford after Bordowski’s shot had hit the post.

The second came 22.4 seconds from the end of the game as Klejna slotted through the legs of the Sheffield goalie.

At the final buzzer, Sheffield’s Luka told the officials what he thought of their performances and earned a 10-minute misconduct penalty.

After the game Bison player/coach Ashley Tait said: “I felt we started slow, but once we got going, we were the better team. We had a great night on the penalty kill and scored three powerplay goals, this proved to be the difference.”

The victory over the Steeldogs, means the Bison have now beaten every team in the National League this season.

This evening the Herd make their first ever visit to Leeds to take on the Chiefs in a game which starts at 5.30pm.