Basingstoke Bison claimed a trophy treble after taming Telford Tigers on Sunday to be named national champions.
The Herd added the NIHL Final Four trophy to their league and playoff titles after shutting out the Tigers in a 4-0 win in the Grand Final.
The South 1 champions conquered north league winners Sheffield Steeldogs in Saturday’s 3-1 semi-final to progress to the final thanks to a hat trick from talisman captain ‘fantastic’ Aaron Connolly.
A hard-fought 3-1 victory against the northern champions set up the showdown with the Shropshire side in the National League’s first ever big weekend tournament in Coventry.
The Tigers proved they were no pushovers in their 4-1 semi final win pouncing on the Herd’s NIHL title rivals Peterborough Phantoms.
But from the puck hitting the ice to the final second in Sunday’s final clash, Bison were the better team and deserved to triumph over Telford.
The Herd were in front after six minutes when Bison took advantage of an early powerplay as Kurt Reynolds beat Denis Bell at 6.22 minutes.
Connolly added a second and his fourth of the tournament at 16.21 before the first break.
Telford came out fighting in the second period but Bison weathered the storm to pile pressure back on their opponents.
Josh Smith notched the Herd’s third after burying a Reynolds rebound on 23.49 minutes for their second powerplay goal of the game.
Man of the match Ivan Antonov completed the rout on 33.49 minutes with a clinical finish after good work from Dan Davies to release his man.
Bison cruised through the final period with Dean Skinns between the pipes ensuring a complete shut out to Telford’s 15 shots on goal compared with Bison’s 41.
At the final buzzer, Bison completed their first ever treble as captain Connolly was presented with the trophy to round off a super season for the Hampshire side.
Speaking to the English Ice Hockey Association after the game, coach Doug Sheppard said: “I thought we were the better team throughout the game, but to be honest surprised at how good we were.
“We have been good all year but I think we saved our best until last; the guys were phenomenal tonight.
“Tonight was a complete performance from the net out.
“Our fans have been amazing all year; sure they’ve had a lot to cheer these past few weeks, but they stick with us through thick and thin and have been tremendous.”