Basking in the glory of a huge win over fellow title challengers Swindon Wildcats and charging to their biggest home win of the season against Cardiff Fire, head coach Doug Sheppard praised “another great weekend” for Basingstoke Bison.
Bison fought back from a goal down to win 5-2 at the Wildcats on Saturday before thumping the Fire 9-0 at Planet Ice the following day.
Speaking after another four-point weekend, Sheppard described the win over Swindon, who started the weekend just four points behind the Hampshire side, as “huge”.
“Saturday night character comes to mind as we had quite a few guys playing injured to help us get the win,” he said.
“We stood up and played big. Swindon is a difficult place to go and get a positive result so it was a huge win.”
Basingstoke fell behind to an Edgars Bebris strike on 11 minutes but ended the first session level following a Roman Malinik goal a minute before the end.
The away side wreaked havoc in a destructive middle period as Josh Smith (24 minutes), Dan Davies (27) and Ivan Antonov (36) struck for a 4-1 advantage.
Chris Jones pulled one back for Swindon at the start of the final third but Tomas Karpov made sure Bison had the last say with a goal 58 seconds from the end.
Sheppard used the game against Cardiff, who have now lost all 27 games this season, to rest some players and experiment.
It would have been easy for Bison regardless of the side they put out.
Grant Rounding (5 & 8), Davies (25 & 36) and Oscar Evans (19 & 29) enjoyed their afternoon, each netting a brace.
Karpov (7), Paul Petts (28) and skipper Aaron Connolly (38) also got their names on the score sheet in the 9-0 thrashing over Cardiff.
While Bison won both their weekend games, Swindon lost both of theirs, handing Sheppard’s side an eight-point cushion over the third-placed side.
However, second-placed Peterborough Phantoms celebrated a four-point weekend of their own and remain level on points with ‘Stoke having played a game more.
Bison host Bracknell Bees (5th) on Saturday and travel to London Raiders (4th) the following day.