Basingstoke Bison made a promising start to the new league season with a 4-0 win at home to Invicta Dynamos on Saturday.
Tomas Karpov, Stuart Mogg, Vanya Antonov and Aaron Connolly grabbed the goals as the Herd made a dominant start to life in the National Ice Hockey League.
They did follow that up with a 2-1 defeat against Telford Tigers on Sunday in their first National Cup fixture, but with a short-benched team versus last year’s EPL champions it was always going to be a tougher match.
Head coach Doug Sheppard said: “I thought we put in a great performance on home ice for a great start.
“We knew we’d be without Jaroslav (Cesky) so we knew we’d all have to step up, and I thought we did well on home ice and deserved the win.
“On Sunday we were very short-benched but started well, we showed good energy, competed hard but just came up a bit short.
“We did a lot of things right over the weekend, we’d have liked a few more goals but I’m pleased with how we competed.”
Bison dominated the offence in the early stages of Saturday’s game, and Karpov scored the opener on 9:36 on the powerplay.
Despite a continuous flow of shots from Bison it would take until halfway through the second period for the next goal with Mogg blasting home in the bottom corner.
Goal number three came a few minutes later as Joe Baird wheeled in towards for the net for Antonov to deflect the puck into the net.
And Bison completed the rout early in the final period as Antonov’s shot rebounded to Connolly, who was able to score.
The Herd ended up with a massive shot advantage over the Dynamos, 54-15 being the final count.
Sunday’s trip to Telford was a more difficult affair, however Bison made the perfect start as Ashley Jackson netted his first goal for the team less than three minutes into the match.
The Tigers pulled level just shy of the half-hour mark though Jonathan Weaver, and they took the lead 48 seconds later courtesy of Jason Silverthorn.
Bison had a chance to equalise in the final moments of the match with a man advantage, but the Tigers hung on to take the win.
Two more cup fixtures await Bison this weekend, and they will look to get revenge on the Tigers when they visit Basingstoke on Saturday, before making the short trip to face Bracknell Bees on Sunday.