15 Jan OHA Match Report
OHA UK took to the ice for their first game of 2020 on Saturday 11th Jan as they travelled to play Basingstoke Bison in their third meeting of the season.
OHA got off to a positive start, winning the opening face-off and applying early pressure to their hosts. The line of Oli Endicott, Josh Shaw and Cain Russell controlling the play on the first shift and forcing two early saves to set the tone for the team. Okanagan were playing some good offensive hockey and looking sharp as they went looking for the opening goal. However, it was the Bison who registered o the scoreboard first. As OHA broke out of their end a turnover on their blueline sent in Basingstoke’s William Birch on a 1 v 0 versus Max Licht in net and the Bison forward finished calmly to take the lead. However, OHA had looked strong in the first period and bounced straight back. Josh Shaw pounced on a loose puck and produced a strong finish to tie the game. And then two minutes later Leo Pennisi broke down the right wing and produced a strong finish, firing a wrist shot across the Bison Netminder into the far top corner, with an assist going to Ross Thompson who was returning to the line-up. And it took Okanagan only another 37 seconds to take the lead to two goals, Josh Shaw again finishing well after good work from Oli Endicott and Cain Russell. OHA good for their lead after twenty minutes.
The hosts came out looking much stronger in the second period and really made OHA have to work for scoring opportunities, and with the ice deteriorating the game became scrappy in spells. But Okanagan looked in control for most parts. Defensively they looked strong, limiting their hosts to just 11 shots across the game. But it took the team till the 48th minute to really close out the game, and hit their 4th. A great individual goal from Cain Russell, playing against his former team. Picking up the puck in the neutral zone, crossing the blue line before beating a defenseman and finding a strong finish. Final score 4-1 to OHA and a vital two points that takes them level in 1st place with Guildford and Slough, with Slough the visitors to the link center this Saturday 18th January, face-off at 1pm.
OHA UK Head Coach Ryan Aldridge said “We were really happy with the way the team played in the opening 20 minutes. I really thought that we controlled the game and played our game for large spells of that opening period and looked dangerous offensively while playing solid D also. However we got away from that a bit in the 2nd and 3rd period and got distracted as the game hit penalty trouble. We still looked solid at the back, and really limited Basingstoke’s chances which was a positive. It’s another important two points for us as we look to challenge the top two, Guildford and Slough who we face next. That will be a great game for us now.
OHA man of the match was Cain Russell.