Bison 3 Milton Keynes Lightning 2
Bison clinched their playoff place with a win over MK last night at Planet Ice. With 3 wins out of 4, they needed a solitary point to be sure of a trip to Coventry. MK will also be there, having qualified by winning their game 4 in midweek. Hero and villain for the Lightning last night was goaltender Przemyslaw Odrobny. Although resembling a homeless man (in fact I am and sure I have seen him in Winchester selling “The Big Issue”), he has proved a top import goaltender this season with a save percentage is 93.3%. He won MK’s MoM award last night, but I am sure he will not be happy about any of the three goals he allowed. But, as usual, I jump ahead, dear reader, so let us return to the beginning of the game.
P1 opened in frantic fashion with both goaltenders pulling off several saves each in the opening 3 or 4 minutes. The best chance fell to MK’s Antti Hölli, who rippled the net with a wrist shot. He thought he had scored, as did the travelling MK fans. They all suddenly became elevated into a previously unattained level of nirvana, but alas their ecstasy was to be short lived and indeed proved misplaced, as was Hölli’s shot. It had passed outside the post and disturbed the side of the net. No goal.
The game progressed with chances at both ends and goaltenders Hiadlovsky and Odrobny proving no slouches. The latter seemed to be giving up so many rebounds we wondered if he had turned into the India rubber man, subject of the famous poem. Hiadlovsky was proving more effective with his amoebic engulfment of the puck technique. It would be MK, however, who would find a way past Hiadlovsky first. This occurred on 17:07. Set up by Martin Baranyk and Lewis Christie, Blaz Emersic picked his spot and whipped a wrist shot in at Hiadlo’s left hand post. The Bison netman was furious. Perhaps not as furious as Furious Pete Czerwinski (Who? See footnote) and pursued Referee Matthews complaining that there was an MK player in the crease. He felt that even Stevie Wonder could have seen that, but Mr Matthews had not and the goal stood. 1-0 MK.
There were no more goals in the period. P2 opened and it was to prove a steamrollering period for Bison, who surged into a 3-1 lead. The first and equalising score came on 22:57. A mazy, surging burst forward by one of the Antonov twins (Vanya I think or was it Ivan?) took him behind the net. He fired the puck netwards as he skated past. The puck deflected off the rubber Odrobny and there on the doorstep was Shoeless Joe Miller. On this occasion the MK defending was mismanaged, mishandled, miscalculated and miscarried or to put it purely and simply, mucked up, as there was Miller all alone without a challenge. He slammed the puck past Odrobny and it was 1-1.
5 minutes later Odrobny was to suffer embarrassment of the most dreadful variety. His chunderous attempt to stop Bison’s second goal was a failure, flop, fiasco and faux pas. Not to put too fine a point on it, he committed an error so cataclysmic in magnitude that he must have suffered feelings of abject ignominy and chagrinous mortification. Read on, dear reader and I shall tell you why.
A move involving Rabbit’s Foot Joe Baird and René Jarolin ended up with Joe Miller behind the goal. Suddenly the goal light went on. I must confess I didn’t see what had happened. Surely from there Joe’s only option was to stealthily lift the net and sweep the puck in from the rear, like you would lift he corner of a rug and sweep the dust under, and hope that his surreptitiousness (yes that is a real word) went unnoticed by officialdom. But no. That is not what happened. Cake Lady, a close observer of the incident, said that Joe attempted to rebound the puck in off the rubber Odrobny. The giant Pole stopped the puck with his giant pole, but alas he then moved the aforementioned giant pole and sent the puck backwards, not forwards, a direction Odrobny would have preferred, and across the line, albeit very slowly, possibly even through the hapless goaltender’s legs. Had he 5-holed himself? Alas only Bison TV could have confirmed that but, very sadly, we no longer have that wonderful facility. 2-1 Bison.
Soon after it was 3-1 Bison and Odbrobny’s latex-esque properties proved to be his undoing. An MK player (sorry I don’t know who) fired the puck around the boards from behind the goal. It was stopped on the blue line by (I thought it was Balmer, but Baird and Reynolds received assists so maybe it wasn’t). He (Balmer, Baird or Reynolds or maybe it was all of them) whipped a shot goalwards and there was Lumberjack Joe Rand all alone in front of the net. 17th century chemists, not of the Boots variety that is, believed that combustible materials contained a fire like substance called phlogiston. If you Google "Phlogiston", Amazon claim not only to sell the stuff but also offer low prices on it. Poppycock! It doesn’t now and never has existed. In a similar vein the MK defence, although thought to exist, actually didn't and Rand was able to thwack his shot goalwards without a challenge. The rubberoid (OK that’s not a real word) Odrobny saved it, but the puck went straight back to Rand who lifted it over the giant pole waving giant Pole’s shoulder. 3-1 Bison and the concession of yet another goal must have made the travelling MK contingent feel depressed, distressed, dejected, disconsolate, dolorous, downcast and even demented. 1-0 to 1-3 was not a scenario likely to elicit joy and happiness in that quarter.
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And so we moved into P3 with MK needing to get back on track preferably with an early goal. This they failed to achieve, but did put themselves back in with a shout in the 52nd minute. It started with Mikolaj Lopuski doing something that Dan Scott considered unsporting. I am not sure what that was, but it caused Scott to barge into Lopuski with violent intent. Had he been William Shakespeare he might have said, “Pepareth to square! I shall heave the gorge on thy living, thee vile mushrump (Prepare to fight! I will vomit on your possessions, you vile mushroom!). Lopuski, being Polish, would not have understood a word, of course. However, he clearly comprehended Scott’s invitation to engage in pugilistic activities, but decided not to accept it. Had he done so we might have seen a scene similar to this.
But we didn’t, so it was only Scott who was sent down the steps for roughing. MK now had 2 minutes (or the time it would take Furious Pete Czerwinski to eat 17 bananas – see footnote) to bag a goal. They need only 9 seconds (by which time Furious Pete would have been just finishing his third banana) to bring it back to a one goal game. Slick passing between Jordan Cownie and James Neil set up Antti Hölli, as opposed to Buddy Holly, who is someone completely different (see below in case you have never heard off Buddy). He whipped a wrist shot netwardsly and in it went through a screen of players. 3-2 Bison.
MK frantically pressed forward for an ever elusive equalising score, but couldn’t find a way past Hiadlovsky. They didn’t even get the opportunity to pull Odrobny for a final throw of the dice 6 on 5. The final buzzer sounded and it was curtains MK, but, having already qualified for Coventry, they were probably not too upset. Odrobny and Miller were appointed Top Bananas for their respective teams.
Footnote : Furious Pete Czerwinski is a Canadian competitive eater. He currently holds nine Guinness world records including that for eating a whole raw onion in 43.53 seconds, 17 bananas in 2 minutes, 15 hamburgers in 10 minutes, and 17 jaffa cakes in 60 seconds. He once ate 5 hard boiled eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, 2 bananas, and drank a bag of milk all in 51 seconds.