Lions End Season With Mustangs Defeat

After their planned matches against Peterborough (awarded 0-0) and Swindon (awarded to the Lions 5-0) were both cancelled, the Lee Valley Lions played their last game of the season against the Invicta Mustangs on Sunday. The Kent side were 13th in the standings coming into this game, and the Lions hoped to end the season on a high with a win.

The Lions iced 12 skaters, with Matt Brown, Arran Hartley, Tom Hurley, Matt Jackson and Ashley Earll all absent. James Andrew started in net for the home side. The Mustangs brought 14 skaters, including former Lions defenceman Jarvis Mewett, while Matthew Passmore started in net with John Abbott backing up.

1st Period: Both sides started out nervously as the two bottom sides in the league tried to gain a foothold in the game. In the fifth minute, Lions captain Nick Alley had a good chance for the hosts but he wasn’t able to get the puck past Passmore in the Invicta net. The very next minute, Alley would be assessed two penalty minutes for tripping, and this enabled the Mustangs to open the scoring as Jake Stedman (6:10, assisted Thomas Dennis) buried a well-worked powerplay goal for 1-0. Stedman had already scored a hat-trick against the Lions back in November in an overtime win for Invicta, and came back to haunt the Lions again on this occasion.

The rest of the first period passed without too much incident; Matthew Hamilton of the Lions and Jarvis Mewett of the Mustangs each sat a minor penalty, but neither side was able to make the resulting powerplay opportunities count. In the 17th minute, Alley had another good chance but was again denied by Passmore, and there were to be no further goals in the first period as the Mustangs went into the break with a 1-0 lead. The Lions edged the shots 9-8 in the first frame.

2nd Period: The second period started off more openly than the first, with both teams creating chances and trying to score some much-needed goals. It was the Mustangs who struck first, Stedman (26:03, unassisted) scoring his second of the night and doubled his side’s advantage. The Lions did not let their heads drop after this, however, and scored a quickfire double to tie the scores up at 2-2. Firstly Samuel Awoyemi (29:37, assisted Nick Alley and Daniel Tamasauskas) put home a rebound after a Nick Alley shot, to reduce the deficit to 1-2 on the powerplay. It was Awoyemi’s second goal of the campaign. Just 59 seconds later, Simon Geldart (30:36, assisted Ross Sin-Hidge and Nick Alley) bagged his eighth goal of the season after nice link-up play with Ross Sin-Hidge and Alley to bring the scores level at two apiece.

Sadly for the Lions, they were not able to use this momentum and instead conceded just 54 seconds later, James Laming (31:30, assisted Dennis) restoring the visiting side’s lead as he put them 3-2 up. Both sides created a few more dangerous chances in the rest of the period, the Mustangs hitting the bar once and Alley forcing yet another strong save from Passmore as he charged in from the right wing, but there was to be no more scoring in the middle frame with the Mustangs taking a 3-2 lead into the third period.

3rd Period: The Lions came out for the final period desperate to get back in the game, but the Mustangs were the better team to start off with; James Andrew made an impressive save to deny Mustangs forward Anthony Baskerville on a breakaway, and the visitors had a few other good chances too with Andrew coming up with big saves repeatedly. Lions forward Ashley West was also handed a 10 minute misconduct for expressing his displeasure with a refereeing decision. The Mustangs’ pressure finally paid off at exactly 46 minutes as Bradley Gutridge (46:00, assisted Dennis and Jake Luton) fired past Andrew from a tight angle, deceiving the Lions netminder and doubling the visitors’ advantage to 4-2.

The Lions kept creating chances; Simon Geldart, Ross Sin-Hidge and Simon Jones all went close, but none of them could get the puck past Passmore. At the other end, the Mustangs also continued to pepper Andrew with shots, and he had another breakaway to deal with as he denied Aaron Ferris who had just come out of the penalty box. Try as they might, the Lions could not find a breakthrough, and the Mustangs then put the game to bed with two late goals. Firstly Gutridge (55:42, assisted Dennis and Michael Stokes) finished past Andrew on the breakaway as he raced away from a tiring Lions defence, before Luton (58:15, assisted Dennis and Stokes) scored a late powerplay marker with Nick Alley in the box to extend the Mustangs’ advantage to 6-2. Despite Simon Geldart’s best efforts – the Lions forward was denied by Passmore on a one-on-one – there were to be no more goals in the game, as it finished 6-2 to the Mustangs.

It was a night that summed up the Lions’ season really – a slow start, followed by some good spirit to get back in the game, but then not being able to see that result out over the full 60 minutes. The team will go away and regroup over the summer and hopefully come back bigger and better next season. Man of the Match for the final game of the campaign went to James Andrew after the Lions’ #1 made some fantastic saves – especially in the third period – while Jake Luton took home the award for the Mustangs after looking dangerous all night.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 2-6 Invicta Mustangs

Period Scores: 0-1/2-2/0-3

Shots: Lee Valley 33-47 Invicta (9-8/15-16/9-23)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley 18-10 Invicta

Scorers: Lee Valley – Nick Alley 0+2, Samuel Awoyemi 1+0, Simon Geldart 1+0, Ross Sin-Hidge 0+1, Daniel Tamasauskas 0+1

Invicta – Thomas Dennis 0+5, Bradley Gutridge 2+0, Jake Stedman 2+0, Jake Luton 1+1, Michael Stokes 0+2, James Laming 1+0

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 47 shots/6 goals against)

Invicta Matthew Passmore (60:00 played, 33 shots/2 goals against)

Man of the Match – James Andrew (Lee Valley), Jake Luton (Invicta)

 

Summer sessions

The Lions will be running summer sessions which will commence on Tuesday 5 June 2018 and continue each Tuesday thereafter until 31 July 2018.  The cost will be £10 per player, per session, payable in cash at the start of each session.

Lions vs Swindon Cancelled

The first of our two home games this weekend, against Swindon Wildcats has now been cancelled and will not be re-scheduled.

The game has been awarded as a 5-0 win to Lee Valley.

Sunday’s scheduled match against Invicta Mustangs will still go ahead as planned.

Face off at Lee Valley Ice Centre is at 5:30pm,

Lions Fall to Buffalo After Poor First Period

The Lee Valley Lions looked to make up for a frustrating 8-4 loss on the road in Swindon the previous weekend as they welcomed the Basingstoke Buffalo to the Den. The Buffalo were sitting 11th in the standings coming into this game, having won just one game since November – and that was a 5-2 win over the Lions last month.

The Lions iced 13 skaters, with U18 forward Joe Miller making his home debut having made his first senior appearance in Swindon the weekend before. Brett Shepherd started in goal with Robyn Maby backing up. Lions captain Nick Alley was unable to play due to a knee injury, with James Andrew, Ben Duffy, Matthew Hepburn, Chris Fox, Arran Hartley, Tom Hurley and Ashley Earll also absent.

The Buffalo, wearing special jerseys in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer, brought 17 skaters including former Lee Valley favourite Blair Dubyk. Aaron Craft started in goal, with Kevin McGurk backing up.

1st Period: The home side started the first period well, with Simon Geldart going close early on. And they took the lead just over three minutes in as Matt Brown (3:05, assisted Ross Sin-Hidge) slotted the puck home for his ninth goal of the season after Craft in the Buffalo net could only parry a Ross Sin-Hidge effort. Lions defenceman Matt Jackson had started the move with a nice pass in his own zone. But this lead only lasted 38 seconds, Warren Jones (3:43, unassisted) capitalising on a Lee Valley giveaway to slot the equalising goal past Shepherd for 1-1.

And it would only take 33 seconds for the visitors to turn the game around and take the lead, with Basingstoke forward Cameron Buckle feeding the puck to fellow 18-year-old Samuel Brooks (4:16, assisted Josh Richards and Cameron Buckle) who finished past Shepherd on the breakaway to put Basingstoke 2-1 up and turn the tide in the game.

After this double blow, the Lions tried to regroup and get back into the game. But try as they might, they were unable to create too many concrete chances and, when they did, Craft was equal to them. The Lions were also unable to use a powerplay opportunity when Marcus Russell sat two minutes for tripping. And the Buffalo also had two more goals up their sleeve towards the end of the period to put themselves further ahead in the game. Firstly Warren Jones (15:17, unassisted) took advantage of another Lions giveaway, taking a shot that was deflected past Shepherd for his second goal of the game. And just two minutes later, Buckle (17:05, assisted Brooks and Gregory Martyn) slotted home coolly after a smart feed from Brooks as the Lions once again failed to deal with the speed and trickery of the young forward duo.

The period finished with the Buffalo 4-1 up and leading the shots 13-10, while the Lions defence looked all at sea.

2nd Period: The Buffalo swapped goaltenders at the beginning of the second period, with veteran Kevin McGurk replacing Craft between the pipes. The period started off quietly, with the Lions trying to find their way into the game and the Buffalo trying not to make any mistakes that would put their three goal lead in jeopardy. The Lions had another powerplay at the 27 minute mark as Matthew Levy sat two minutes for interference after a hard hit on Oliver Glover but, despite the efforts of Lee Valley forward Matt Brown, the powerplay was not able to fire and the home side remained three goals behind.

Just as the Lions were starting to get into the game and gather some momentum, the Buffalo struck with the first goal of the period to go 5-1 up, as 16-year-old forward Oscar Evans (31:06, assisted Buckle and Daniel Lackey) roofed the puck over Shepherd from a tight angle. A few minutes later, the Lions had another powerplay, with Brown again looking dangerous but still unable to find a goal. However with just 29 seconds left in the period, Brown (39:31, assisted Sin-Hidge) was finally able to get his second goal of the evening with a sweet finish on the breakaway after Sin-Hidge had set him on his way with a nice pass. It was Brown’s 10th goal of the campaign as he reached double figure goals in his first season for Lee Valley. This cut the deficit to 2-5, and it would stay this way until the end of the period – a period in which the Lions outshot their visitors 17-15.

3rd Period: That late goal at the end of the second period seemed to give the Lions renewed hope for the final frame, with the hosts coming out more aggressively in the third and looking to grab some further goals. And three minutes into the period they were able to do just that, as Sin-Hidge (43:41, assisted Joe Miller) cut the Buffalo lead to 3-5 with his seventh goal of the season. All the hard work in the build-up to the goal was done by 16-year-old Miller, as he battled hard for the puck in the corner and then fed a lovely pass to Sin-Hidge who buried it effectively past McGurk. The Lions kept up the pressure after this goal, however it would be the Buffalo who struck next to extend their lead to 6-3, Evans (47:43, assisted Brooks and Martyn) getting his second of the night after more impressive build-up play from Brooks.

The Lions still did not let their heads drop and threw everything they had at the Buffalo as they tried to get back into the game. And, when they got another powerplay opportunity as Josh Richards sat for tripping, they were finally able to score a goal with the man advantage as Ben Gillingham (51:12, assisted Oliver Glover and Daniel Tamasauskas) scored his third goal of the season after nice interplay with Glover and Tamasauskas. Sadly for the Lions, this lead would not last too long, as Gregory Martyn (53:36, assisted Brooks and Sam Dollin) finished off a nice Buffalo move to increase their lead to 7-4. The last few minutes of the game saw the Lions try everything they could to draw level in the game, but they were unable to score any further goals and the final buzzer sounded with the Buffalo running out 7-4 winners.

It was another frustrating evening for the Lions, who tied the second period 1-1 and the third period 2-2, but lost the game due to the poor first period in which they shipped four goals due to some inattentive play. One bright spot for the Lions in this game was the impressive performance of Joe Miller, who was rewarded with the Man of the Match award in only his second senior game. Samuel Brooks took home the award for the Buffalo.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 4-7 Basingstoke Buffalo

Period Scores: 1-4/1-1/2-2

Shots: Lee Valley 39-42 Basingstoke (10-13/17-15/12-14)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley 2-12 Basingstoke

Scorers: Lee Valley – Ross Sin-Hidge 1+2, Matt Brown 2+0, Ben Gillingham 1+0, Joe Miller 0+1, Daniel Tamasauskas 0+1, Oliver Glover 0+1

Basingstoke – Samuel Brooks 1+3, Cameron Buckle 1+2, Gregory Martyn 1+2, Warren Jones 2+0, Oscar Evans 2+0, Daniel Lackey 0+1, Josh Richards 0+1, Sam Dollin 0+1

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – Brett Shepherd (60:00 played, 42 shots/7 goals against)

Basingstoke Aaron Craft (20:00 played, 10 shots/1 goal against), Kevin McGurk (40:00 played, 29 shots/3 goals against)

Man of the Match – Joe Miller (Lee Valley), Samuel Brooks (Basingstoke)

With the previously postponed game against Peterborough having now been awarded 0-0, all of the Lions’ focus will now turn to the season-ending home double header on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th of April, with Swindon and Invicta visiting the Den on back-to-back days. Face-off for both games will be 5:30pm.

Seven Mad Minutes Cost Lions in Swindon

After a weekend off, the Lee Valley Lions returned to action on Saturday as they travelled to Swindon to take on the NIHL2 Wildcats. It was to be a battle between the bottom two sides in the league, with Swindon sitting 13th and the Lions 14th coming into the game.

The Lions welcomed back Ashley West, Ross Sin-Hidge, Oliver Glover and Brett Shepherd, all of whom missed the previous game in Chelmsford. There was also a senior debut for Lee Valley U18 captain Joe Miller. Missing from the line-up were Ben Duffy, Chris Fox, Arran Hartley, Robyn Maby, Tom Hurley and Ashley Earll. This gave the Lions 15 skaters plus netminders Shepherd – who started in net – and James Andrew. Swindon iced a full roster of 20 skaters plus netminders Michael Crisp and Liam McGuire.

1st Period: The first period started off fairly evenly, with both sides creating a couple of early chances. It was the visiting Lions who took the lead in the seventh minute, Matt Brown (6:53, assisted Ben Gillingham) opening the scoring as he shot past Crisp in the Wildcats net. It took the home side less than a minute to respond however, Eliot Randall (7:48, assisted Callum Stockley-Phillips) equalising as he fired past Shepherd.

As the opening frame wore on, Swindon created more and more chances – they ended up outshooting the Lions 17-7 in the period – and they made one of those extra chances count in the 13th minute as Polish forward Adrian Dusznik (12:50, unassisted) gave the hosts the lead for the first time in the game. The first period would end with no further scoring, although Lions forward Simon Geldart was penalised for roughing with 16 seconds left in the period – meaning the visitors would start period two on the penalty kill.

2nd Period: The second period started off with a bang for the Lions – Matthew Hepburn (20:43, unassisted) chased the puck down brilliantly on the penalty kill before scoring a short-handed goal past Crisp to tie the scores at two apiece. And things got better for the Lions five minutes later as Geldart (25:47, unassisted) atoned for his earlier penalty with the go-ahead goal putting the visitors 3-2 up. At this point, the away side were playing well and looking like they could maybe take that long-awaited first win of the season.

Unfortunately the Lions would then suffer a mad seven minutes and five seconds in which they conceded five goals and allowed the momentum to totally swing back in Swindon’s favour. Captain Loris Taylor (26:57, assisted Christopher Leykam) started the ball rolling with the equalising goal for 3-3, before two goals within 14 seconds of each other saw the Wildcats go 5-3 up. First Harvey Robson (30:10, assisted Leykam and Adam Coakley) scored on the powerplay with Oliver Glover in the box for hooking, and then Jake Williams (30:24, assisted Ethan Easton and Corey Herbert) followed it up with Swindon’s fifth goal of the night.

The Wildcats weren’t done there, and just 52 seconds later they went 6-3 up as Reed Sayers (31:16, unassisted) bagged an unassisted goal. At this point, the Lions swapped goaltenders with James Andrew coming into net in relief of Shepherd. However this move could not prevent Swindon adding their seventh goal of the night just a few minutes later, Dusznik (34:02, assisted Sayers) scoring his second of the game and putting the hosts 7-3 ahead. There was no more scoring in the period, with the Wildcats winning the middle frame 5-2 having outshot the Lions 22-12.

3rd Period: For the third period, the Wildcats swapped goalies too with Liam McGuire coming into net in place of Michael Crisp. It was a fairly quiet start to the period, with Swindon using their much longer bench to run down the clock and conserve energy, while the five goal burst in the second period had taken the wind out of Lee Valley’s sails. The Lions’ cause also wasn’t helped by captain Nick Alley injuring his knee in a collision with the boards, and then further aggravating it with a hit. Alley left the game with ten minutes remaining and did not return.

The home side extended their lead in the 56th minute with their last goal of the night, Taylor (55:14, assisted Robson) making it 8-3 as he put the puck past James Andrew. However there was still time for the Lions to get a consolation goal, tying the third period at 1 goal apiece. The forward line of Ben Gillingham, Simon Geldart and Matthew Hepburn had worked hard all night, and they were rewarded for their efforts as Gillingham (58:11, assisted Hepburn) scored with just under two minutes to go in the game to make it 8-4.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions could once again look back on a game in which they were the better side for large portions, but a few moments of madness had cost them a win that they would have deserved. The Man of the Match award for the visitors went to defenceman Matthew Hamilton. The Lions will hope for a better result this Sunday when the Basingstoke Buffalo, currently 11th in the league standings, visit the Den.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats 8-4 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 2-1/5-2/1-1

Shots: Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats 50-33 Lee Valley Lions (17-7/22-12/11-14)

Penalty Minutes: Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats 8-8 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Swindon – Adrian Dusznik 2+0, Loris Taylor 2+0, Harvey Robson 1+1, Reed Sayers 1+1, Christopher Leykam 0+2, Eliot Randall 1+0, Jake Williams 1+0, Adam Coakley 0+1, Callum Stockley-Phillips 0+1, Ethan Easton 0+1, Corey Herbert 0+1

Lee Valley – Matthew Hepburn 1+1, Ben Gillingham 1+1, Matt Brown 1+0, Simon Geldart 1+0

Goaltenders: Swindon – Michael Crisp (40:00 played, 19 shots/3 goals against), Liam McGuire (20:00 played, 14 shots/1 goal against)

Lee Valley – Brett Shepherd (31:16 played, 33 shots/6 goals against), James Andrew (28:44 played, 17 shots/2 goals against)

Man of the Match – Matthew Hamilton (Lee Valley)