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- Basingstoke Bison 3-2 Swindon Wildcats (result)
- Bison scorers: Aaron Connolly, Tomas Karpov, Joe Greener
- Wildcats scorers: Aaron Nell, Sam Bullas
- Hoog thrown out in second period for check from behind
- Get involved using #wildcatslive
- Reporting by NED PAYNE
That's all we've got time for tonight. Don't forget to check the Adver on Monday. You know it makes sense.
It looks certain that Swindon will be slipping out of the top half of the table tonight.
Kurt Reynolds is Bison's man of the match.
Slough 0 Bracknell 4 (result), Milton Keynes 2 Telford 1, Sheffield 6 Peterborough 2.
Ollie Betteridge is Swindon's man of the match. He worked his skates off as usual.
Bison led SOG 12-4 in the third.
The Bison deserved it, but it could easily have gone the other way.
Basingstoke 3 Wildcats 2.
2.4 seconds left. That's a wrap I fancy. Swindon have called a timeout...
Time to gamble now, surely.
Great save Lyle on a redirected shot.
Bison have the puck in the net. Fortunately the net moved a good six seconds before.
GOAL! Basingstoke 3 Wildcats 2, 54.30
Could Greener have won it for the Bison? Chinn's shot came off Lyle and it was a very easy finish from inside the crease for Greener with the netminder helpless.
Wildcats 2 Oxford 6.
A few nervy faces amongst the away fans.
Such a tight game now.
Come on you Cats! Come on you Cats!! Please score winning goal right now!! #wildcatslive— @Faithangeljoy 08 February 2014
Ten minutes left. Very even in this third period.
Nell across to Sandvik but Skinns makes himself big.
Hoog's penalty has been downgraded to a 5+game.
Just under 15 minutes left.
Sheppard is back on the ice. Cam Wynn is not. He got hurt earlier.
Come on you swindon! 2 points! #wildcatslive— @bodycheck456 08 February 2014
Missed opportunity, that.
FIVE ON FOUR
CATS FIVE ON THREE POWERPLAY
THIRD PERIOD UNDER WAY
Bison led SOG 13-7 in the second period.
Here are the players.
Ok one more period to get ahead & bring home those 2pts!! Lyle needs to stay on form & our forwards need to show their skill #wildcatslive— @Faithangeljoy 08 February 2014
We are very close to resuming here at Planet Ice.
If Swindon get something out of this game, it will be a job very well done. I'd have taken a point before the game and I'd take one right now.
The zamboni is out. We'll be back under way in a bit over 10 minutes.
Guildford 4 Manchester 6 (result), Slough 0 Bracknell 2, Milton Keynes 2 Telford 0, Sheffield 3 Peterborough 1.
Wildcats 1 Oxford 5.
I'll be very interested to hear what head coach Ryan Aldridge made of the Hoog decision.
So, to clear this up. There is 56 seconds left of the Hoog penalty. There is 1.39 left of Wales' penalty and 2.00 left of Baird's.
CATS POWERPLAY - FOUR ON THREE
Looks like Baird was given a two-minute slashing penalty for an incident after the buzzer, althoughit could have been for contact with Lyle. Fascinating contest, this.
END OF SECOND PERIOD
FOUR ON FOUR
Wales penalised for tripping.
Kostal into the slot for Bullas but Skinns stops. Massive chance for a second shorthanded goal. Could be huge, that.
That is not great news. Swindon now have five minutes to kill.
That's a match penalty on Hoog for a check from behind. Harsh. His elbow was fairly high but it looked worse than it was.
Sheppard is now on his feet and OK. Heads off the ice. May well come back.
Looked like a collision between Hoog and Sheppard. Nothing illegal there in my view. Sheppard fell awkwardly against the boards and is down.
Less than five minutes left in the second.
Nice one bully!! #wildcatslive @nedpayne1 3rd underway at the link— @slapshot6032 08 February 2014
A Sandvik 'goal' is ruled out, much to the annoyance of the away fans. The net was out of place. Shame, the Finn took it well.
GOAL! Basingstoke 2 Wildcats 2, 30.41, PP
Jan Kostal gets free on the left wing and fires into the danger zone, and Sam Bullas is there to convert after Skinns saves. The second assist is for Aku Pekkarinen.
Hoog is tripped by Nicky Chinn and off the Basingstoke man goes.
Wildcats 0 Oxford 5. End of second period.
We've played almost seven minutes of the second period.
Nearly brilliant from Sheppard. Slalomed his way through the middle but couldn't find the finishing touch. Bison look pretty menacing at this stage.
Nell called for tripping.
GOAL! Basingstoke 2 Wildcats 1, 21.30
The Bison have started the second period exactly as they did the first. Tomas Karpov on the wraparound after Lyle loses the puck behind the goal. Assists from Kurt Reynolds and Wales. The player, not the principality.
SECOND PERIOD UNDER WAY
Guildford 3 Manchester 4, Slough 0 Bracknell 2.
The zamboni has left the ice.
We will be back under way in a matter of minutes.
Checking #wildcatslive at every break in play at braehead clan game, if that's not dedication I don't know what is #letsgocats— @mjkane96 08 February 2014
Sounds like we did well to stay in that first period! More attack in the 2nd i hope #wildcatslive— @Faithangeljoy 08 February 2014
The big winners, as we stand, are Manchester. They will be desperate for Swindon to take something tonight.
The bison wont get lucky again against Lyle! :D best keeper in the EPL in my eyes:) #WildCatsLive— @HarveySpranklin 08 February 2014
Not a single home team winning at this stage. Mind you, that is only three games.
Guildford 2 Manchester 3, Slough 0 Bracknell 2.
Swindon should be delighted with that. Stayed in the game.
END OF FIRST PERIOD
One minute to go.
Lyle has been a busy man this period.
Two minutes left of the first.
Michael Wales sits for slashing.
CATS BACK TO FULL STRENGTH
GOAL! Basingstoke 1 Wildcats 1, SH
Nell is given the freedom of the left side of the rink to scoot forward and send a ripper of a slapshot across Skinns. A shorthanded goal and Cats are level. Assist for Jonas Hoog.
The NIHL Wildcats trail 2-0 to Oxford in the second.
Henri Sandvik called for slashing.
Joe Greener manages to squeeze an effort in on Lyle from the left wing despite Moore's attentions. Saved.
Adam Harding smashes straight at Skinns.
I can feel another goal coming. The Herd are really cranking up the pressure.
Looks like defenceman Sam Godfrey is sitting out the action tonight. No sign of the youngster.
We've played a little over eight minutes here.
The Bison looking pretty sharp so far, I have to say. Still, early days.
Sat in Oxford with the Tigers playing #juniorhockey , keeping tabs on the boys via twitter #barmyarmy #wildcatslive— @Ulli2311 08 February 2014
Not the best start...
GOAL! Basingstoke 1 Wildcats 0, 2.38, PP
There's just six seconds left of the powerplay and Swindon look like they are going to hold out, but Aaron Connolly is found unmarked in the slot by Doug Sheppard and he beats Lyle. Miroslav Vantroba gets the second assist.
I should have mentioned, in nets are Dean Skinns for the Bison and Stevie Lyle for the Wildcats.
Alex Symonds gets two minutes for hooking.
FIRST PERIOD UNDER WAY
Baird takes the applause for his 500 milestone.
Guildford 1 Manchester 3.
Good luck @SwinWildcats tonight at Baskingstoke! Get them two points back to Wiltshire! #wildcatslive #wildcatsnation— @bodycheck456 08 February 2014
Both sets of players are out on the ice.
The fella on the PA is extremely enthusiastic.
Guildford 1 Swindon 2.
UPS AND DOWNS
The best that can happen for Swindon tonight is that they win and consolidate their fifth-placed position in the table. Lose and they could drop as low as seventh, with Telford and Sheffield the teams currently on their tail.
ALDRIDGE WARY OF BISON BUILDING
Link Centre head coach Ryan Aldridge, a former Basingstoke player, explains why the Herd's home is a tricky venue for visiting players to come to.
“Basingstoke is just one of those places that’s an awkward building to play in and you can’t get any flow and rhythm,” said Aldridge.
“That’s a lot to do with the building, because it’s a tough place to go and play, so we’ve got to go there and be professional.
“There’s two horrible little changing rooms and although the ice pad is a good size, the roof is low so it feels like you haven’t got a lot of room even though you have.
"When I used to play there we used to love it, because everyone else hated it.”
This might seem improbable, but fifth-placed Swindon actually have a 2-1 winning record over the second-placed Bison this season. Surprising insofar as Basingstoke are 18 points clear of their Wiltshire rivals in the EPL table and possess superior offensive and defensive records overall. All the games have been close, with Swindon winning 2-1 and 7-5 while Basingstoke triumphed 4-3 in between.
Don't forget to get involved in the conversation and get your comments on this liveblog #wildcatslive
Good luck tonight @SwinWildcats lets kick start a 4pt wkend pls!! Will be following closely & cheering from home! #wildcatslive— @Faithangeljoy 08 February 2014
For one hideous moment then I thought I'd forgotten to bring a pen to fill out the programme with. Fortunately it was lurking in the bottom of my bag. Crisis averted.
RICHARDSON HOPING FOR BISON FATIGUE
Wildcats utility man Lee Richardson knows his team face a tough game in Hampshire tonight, and is hoping that Basingstoke will be feeling tired following their midweek heroics. The Bison lost 6-3 at Guildford in the EPL-Cup semi-final second leg but still went through 11-9 on aggregate.
“Basingstoke had a cup game in midweek so hopefully they will have a hangover from that,” said Richardson.
“Especially at this end of the season it messes up the whole week as you would normally practise on a Tuesday and Thursday, although I’m sure winning makes them feel less tired.
"We need to play a smart game and see what we get out of it.”
Basingstoke are missing Andy Melachrino and Danny Ingoldsby.
Don't forget to get your thoughts in tonight using #wildcatslive
OTHER FIXTURES TONIGHT
Slough v Bracknell, Milton Keynes v Telford, Sheffield v Peterborough.
Guildford 1 Manchester 2.
I did embark on a sustained and relentless campaign to earn media accreditation for Sochi a few months ago. Sadly my mission to bring you live coverage of the Winter Olympics ice hockey failed spectacularly. Ah well.
Here is the zamboni.
500 UP FOR JOE
Former Swindon defenceman Joe Baird makes his 500th EPL appearance in a Basingstoke jersey tonight. The blueliner made 180 of those appearances for the Wildcats.
Netminder Stevie Lyle is getting the usual thorough cross-examination in the warm-up from his teammates. Shots raining in from all angles.
Those of you looking for positive nuggets of information will be delighted to know that Shane Moore is back in the Wildcats line-up tonight following an eye problem. The captain was having some problems seeing from one of his eyes following a high-sticks incident in last Saturday's 6-5 overtime loss to Guildford. He missed the 4-3 defeat at Peterborough 24 hours later but is fit to return this evening.
In three minutes, the usual pre-game poll should appear below. What is your hunch tonight?
Players from both sides are out on the ice and warming up.
Must feel odd not getting your dose of Link Centre hockey on a Saturday evening, right? Well, you can still fulfil your craving over the next few hours as Ice Hockey Live brings you every minute of Swindon Wildcats' road game at Basingstoke Bison. We face-off at 6.30pm at Planet Ice.