Basingstoke set the early pace

Ice hockey
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With the Benson and Hedges Cup preliminary rounds over, a return to league action brought an early season warning from Basingstoke Bison that they will, once again, make the early-season running.

Their first game of the weekend saw them welcome Durham Wasps, who were on an eight-game unbeaten run. The game was Basingstoke's from the off, with three goals in 12 minutes. Paul Dixon pulled a goal back for Durham, but after some intervening nonsense which saw a player from either side thrown out of the game, Basingstoke went on to win 6-1.

The following day, Basingstoke travelled to Newcastle Warriors and, once again, won in the first period. Tony Redmond and Scott Morrison were on target with the goals that told in a 4-3 win, which could have been heavier were it not for Kevin Dean making some outstanding saves for Newcastle.

The heroes of the weekend were Milton Keynes Kings. A draw against Sheffield Steelers is the same as a win against anyone else, and to come from 6- 1 down to take the lead with seven straight goals with 12 minutes left is little short of miraculous.

Even more impressively, Gavin Armstrong in the Kings' net was carrying an injury and had to be helped from the ice and replaced by Alex Barnes. Barnes conceded two goals for an 8-8 draw, but kept out another 16 shots that could have given Sheffield the win.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 23