THERE were no early Christmas presents for the Basingstoke Bison fans as the Herd suffered two losses last weekend.

Last Saturday they were narrowly beaten 2-1 at home by the high-flying Peterborough Phantoms and then went down 6-3 away to the Raiders the following night.

For the clash with the Phantoms Josh Kelly returned from injury to give the Bison a five-man defensive unit.

Peterborough hit the bar early on from Ralf Circenis and then took the lead as Ales Padelek scored on the powerplay at 15:36.

The visitors doubled their advantage after Duncan Speirs netted 109 seconds into the second session.

The Bison then ran into penalty trouble as Jay King and George Norcliffe went to the penalty box in quick succession.

A superb penalty kill followed and then the Bison scored their opening goal of the night from Gael Lubwele assisted by King and Kelly.

This saw the fur fly in the annual Air the Bear with cuddly toys launched onto the ice by fans, they were collected up and donated to Naomi House.

The goal gave the home side the momentum, but their cause was not helped when forward Paul Petts was injured with eight minutes left in the second period. He took no further part in the game and the one the following night.

Zack Milton had a couple of good chances for the Herd, but they still trailed 2-1 at the interval.

The final 20 minutes saw the Bison continue to hunt for an equaliser, but they were unable to find it.

Jay King was the Herd’s man of the match, for another solid display on the blue line.

The following night in Romford, the Bison held their own for two periods, before shipping four goals in the space of six third period minutes.

After a scoreless first session, the home side took the lead from Aaron Connolly, but three minutes later man of the match Lubwele levelled things.

Jake Sylvester edged the Raiders in front again, but a great left wing shot from Brendan Baird once more tied things up.

However, a six minute goal blitz in the final period ended the game as a contest, as the home side scored four times.

Sylvester grabbed two to complete his hat-trick and the others were scored by Ashley Jackson and Harry Gulliver.

The Bison completed the match scoring in the final three minutes as Edgars Landsbergs converted a pass from Ollie Hemmings-Maher.

After the weekend Bison head coach Ashley Tait said: “Against Peterborough we played well and deserved something from the game. On Sunday it was a great game at 2-2. Unfortunately, as has happened too many times this year we just switch off for a moment and we get punished.”

Next up for the Bison is a double header against the Swindon Wildcats.

The first game is at home on Boxing Day (5.30pm) and they then travel to Wiltshire on Tuesday December 27 (6pm).

Liam Morris returns to the Herd line-up for the Boxing Day game having completed his 10-game ban.

Tait said: Swindon are always good and we had a great start against them earlier in the year. They have been below par up until now and are looking to get themselves up the table as are we.”