Former Lion, Paul O’Neill, is training hard for a half-Ironman event on 18 May – this will consist of a 2km swim, 90km cycle and a half-marathon run. Why is Paul putting himself through all this? To raise €4000 to buy a new wheelchair for a little lad called Alex, who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy. You can see how Paul’s getting along by heading over to the Alex Needs Wheels group page on Facebook. You can also make a donation via PayPal, contact Paul about the cause or ask to join the Facebook group using the email address of muscles4muscles at gmail dot com (written in the email format, obviously – I’m trying to avoid Paul getting spammed to oblivion by writing it like this).
Lee Valley made their second trip to Oxford, this time to face the currently homeless Bristol Pitbulls for the first time this season. Despite being short-benched and being on a three-game losing streak, the third period comeback against Basingstoke had left the Lions feeling confident that they get their first win since January.
First Period: Both sides created several chances but it was Bristol who broke the deadlock through Grant Richardson (11:39, assists Newton and Hargreaves). The score didn’t deter the Lions as they kept plugging away, Nick Alley having a goal disallowed for a man in the crease. A checking from behind penalty to Adam Peach left the Lions under pressure towards the close of the period, and Bristol duly took their opportunity when Jordan Smith (19:18, unassisted) netted in the final minute of the period.
Second Period: The Pitbulls continued where they left off and Robin Harrison (24:38, assist Smith) put them 3-0 up. Less than a minute later the hosts had doubled their first period lead thanks to a goal from Adrian Smith (25:17, assist Hargreaves). At this point Bristol replaced goalie John Dibble with Ross Webster. Lee Valley kept creating chances but they couldn’t find a breakthrough. Eventually Bristol came back and Matthew Thornhill (36:08, assist Egerton) scored the Pitbulls’ fifth to close the second stanza, leaving Lee Valley on the cusp of another heavy defeat.
Third Period: Lee Valley seemingly only had pride to play for but finally their hard work paid dividends and Nick Alley (41:15, assist Hodge) slotted through Webster’s legs to get their first. From here the belief began to show and as the pressure built, Bristol’s play became lacklustre, perhaps believing they had the game killed off. It was another ten minutes before Alley (51:21, assist Fedotovas) scored the Lions’ second off a Bristol defenceman’s skate; that goal however opened the floodgates and was the start of a 73-second scoring spree for the visitors. After Alley’s goal, Gennadi Yufit (51:30, assist Hatfull) netted, then Matthew Drake (52:21, assists Carson and Gerstein) got the Lions within one. This prompted Bristol to put Dibble back in net but he was off again soon after when he was rounded by Romanas Fedotovas (52:34, assist Hatfull) to tie the game. After Webster had re-replaced Dibble, he was on the end of a peppering from Lee Valley who, against all odds, scored a sixth through Joe Berry (55:56, assist Gerstein). With victory within their grasp the Lions began to hold back and Bristol, through desperation, got an equaliser from player-coach Richard Hargreaves’ (58:30, assist Shone) long-range shot. The game ended there with Lee Valley feeling they could have taken the spoils.
The Lions host the Pitbulls in the return fixture next Sunday (9/3/14) at the Den, which will be our final home game of the season.
Final Score: Bristol 6-6 Lee Valley
Period Scores: 2-0/3-0/1-6
Shots on Goal: 26 on Bristol (16 on Dibble, 10 on Webster) 55 on Mallet (Lee Valley)
Penalties in Minutes: Bristol 10-30 Lee Valley
Scorers: Lee Valley – Nick Alley (2+0), Romanas Fedotovas (1+1), Max Gerstein & James Hatfull (0+2), Joe Berry & Gennadi Yufit (1+0),
Bristol – Richard Hargreaves (1+2), Adrian Smith (1+1), Matthew Thornhill, Robin Harrison, Jordan Smith & Grant Richardson (1+0), Jamie Newton, Sam Shone & Tom Egerton (0+1)
Man of The Match: Romanas Fedotovas
Photos from the game, taken by Flyfifer, are here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.649708651745020.1073741869.111920495523841&type=1
Lee Valley hosted Basingstoke Buffalo at the den, looking to end the losing skid they were on. They had a full bench, only missing Kevin Lake and George Alley. Basingstoke have historically been a bogey team for Lee Valley, the Lions have only beaten the Buffalo once since they reformed in 2005.
First Period: Both sides kept the game close and both goalies made good saves, however it was the visitors who went on the scoreboard first when young prospect Danny Ingoldsby (17:36, unassisted) went in alone on Aaron Mallet to score the only goal of the period.
Second Period: Basingstoke were on the board again thanks to Francesco Tambellini (24:08, assist Leary) before a high-sticking penalty to James Hatfull put the Buffalo on the powerplay. The man advantage was quickly used as Ingoldsby (26:31, assist Sutton) was put through again to notch his second. Lee Valley finally got a goal from Bailey Wootton (28:25, assists Alley and Gerstein) but the visitors had their fourth only twenty-four seconds later through Matthew Lawday (28:49, assist Collins). Despite having the man advantage midway through the period, Lee Valley proceeded to concede two quick short-handed goals in consecutive powerplays when Ryan Sutton (29:42, assist Ingoldsby) was sent through by Ingoldsby before the pair exchanged pleasantries; Ingoldsby (33:37, assist Sutton) being assisted by Sutton for Basingstoke’s sixth.
Third Period: Lee Valley were quick to respond to their deficit, Gennadi Yufit (41:41, assists Wootton and Alley) adding the Lions’ second of the evening but the Buffalo added their seventh when Ingoldsby (42:21, assist Sutton) gave Lee Valley a case of deja vu. From there though, the Lions kicked on. First Adam Peach (44:35, assists Gosling and Hepburn) scored on a powerplay for the hosts before James Hepburn (45:37, assist Gerstein) was put through by Max Gerstein for Lee Valley’s fourth. The Lions were beginning to control the match at this point and brought the score within two thanks to Joe Berry (50:55, assists Yufit and Gerstein). The last ten minutes went back and forth until the closing stages when Lee Valley pressed and pressed but to no avail, and Basingstoke emerged from East London with a very tight victory.
Final Score: Lee Valley 5-7 Basingstoke
Period Scores: 0-1/1-5/4-1
Shots on Goal: 41 on Mallet (Lee Valley), 42 on Edwards (Basingstoke)
Penalties in Minutes: Lee Valley 20-28 Basingstoke
Scorers: Lee Valley – Max Gerstein (0+3), Bailey Wootton, James Hepburn & Gennadi Yufit (1+1), Nick Alley (0+2), Adam Peach & Joe Berry (1+0), James Gosling (0+1)
Basingstoke – Danny Ingoldsby (4+1), Ryan Sutton (1+3), Francesco Tambellini & Matthew Lawday (1+0), Neil Leary & David Collins (0+1).
Lee Valley travelled to Gillingham to face a resurgent Invicta Mustangs who, despite their league position, had been pushing teams close in recent weeks. The Lions had been on a poor run of form and were missing nine players, including captain James Hatfull and former Invicta players Kevin Lake and Matthew Drake.
First Period: The Mustangs came out of the blocks faster than the visitors, winning more 50/50 chances and putting early pressure on George Alley in the Lions’ net. The Lions did test Matthew Daubney in Invicta’s goal but he held up well. Invicta were first to break the deadlock when Tom Dennis (4:47, assist Carle) was left unmarked to pick up the rebound. Jake Luton (6:32, unassisted) then skated in to double their lead and before the 10-minute mark, the Mustangs were 3-0 up when Josh Carle (8:46, assist Holt) fired past Alley. The Lions fought back but still couldn’t find a way past Daubney and as the period was coming to a close, Theo Abban made a clumsy hit which saw him thrown from the game for boarding.
Second Period: Like the Oxford game the week before, the Lions began the second stanza on a major powerplay (meaning they couldn’t return to full strength if Invicta scored) and it wasn’t long before Invicta had their fourth – when a Lions’ defenceman tried to clear the puck, it came off of James Hepburn’s face and fell to Danny Terry (23:29, unassisted), who shot the puck into the top shelf of the net. Alley was called into action several times for the rest of the powerplay and once that ended, Lee Valley began to work their way into the game again and they got on the scoreboard when Nick Alley’s shot was picked up by Romanas Fedotovas (25:12, assist Alley), who bundled the puck into the net. Midway through the period and the Lions were down by four again when they failed to gain possession on a delayed penalty and Jake Luton (30:10, unassisted) collected a loose puck and rounded Alley for a fifth. Lee Valley just couldn’t get any momentum going and the Mustangs kept piling the pressure on Alley. With both sides short-benched the players started to tire and as the plays broke down both sides had breakaway opportunities to score but neither side added to their tallies.
Third Period: Lee Valley knew they could pull the game back; they had been creating chances but still they couldn’t find a way past Daubney. As the Lions started to break out, a loose pass went straight to Michael Stokes (52:22) who went one-on-one with Alley and finished the game off as a contest. After Nick Alley and Tom Dennis dropped the gloves, Lee Valley did add to their tally when Fedotovas (59:33, assist Hepburn) blasted past Daubney straight from a face-off but it was too little and the game ended there.
The Lions host Basingstoke Buffalo next Saturday (22/2) and will be looking for an upturn in fortunes after a run of four games without a win.
Final Score: Invicta 6-2 Lee Valley
Period Scores: 3-0/2-1/1-1
Shots on Goal: 45 on Daubney (Invicta), 57 on Alley (Lee Valley)
Penalties in Minutes: Invicta 30-41 Lee Valley
Man of the Match: Romanas Fedotovas
Scorers: Lee Valley – Romanas Fedotovas (2+0), Nick Alley & James Hepburn (0+1)
Invicta – Jake Luton (2+0), Josh Carle (1+1), Danny Terry, Tom Dennis & Michael Stokes (1+0), Kwame Holt (0+1)
Lee Valley travelled to League Champions Oxford looking to repeat the success of their 3-2 win earlier in the season. Missing from the line up was Graham Lewis.
First Period: The Lions couldn’t have asked for a better start. After a quick build up, Romanas Fedotovas (0:17, assist Hodge) was in the perfect position in front of the Stars net to put the Lions in front and silence the large crowd in attendance. The game continued to go back and forth but Oxford scored a short handed equaliser when Alan Green (4:39, assist Oliver) caught the Lions’ defence napping on a long clearance and blasted the puck past Aaron Mallet. With some inconsistent calls being made, the Lions found themselves in the box from the 16th minute. Eventually the pressure of being short handed told and Oxford took the lead through Joe Oliver (19:10, assists Green and Nick Oliver). An altercation between James Hatfull and Oxford defenceman Andy Cox saw the Lions’ Captain ejected with a match penalty for cross checking. The Period ended with the Lions facing seven minutes of penalty kill.
Second Period: As expected, the Lions were under immense pressure from the off and it wasn’t long before Oxford broke through the Lions penalty kill. First, Darren Elliot (21:59, assist Oliver) doubled the hosts’ lead, then ex Peterborough player James Pentecost (23:43, assist Elliot and Oliver) made it four. The short-handed nightmare was topped off by Sam Broughton (24:31, assists Cox and Oliver), putting the Stars out of sight before Lee Valley had even had a chance to play the period even handed. Jacob Smith (30:34, unassisted) then went in alone to make it six, and Nick Oliver (33:19, assists Green and Elliot) capped off a destructive period that ended 7-1 to Oxford. To top it off, Theo Abban was made to sit a dubious ten minute misconduct penalty and Kevin Lake’s night was ended early with a broken toe.
Third Period: It didn’t get any better for the Lions, who by this point were playing damage limitation against a side who were firing on all cylinders. First Josh Oliver (41:58, unassisted) scored Oxford’s eighth, then Pentecost (55:50, assist Smith) added his second of the evening and the final nail in the coffin was hammered in by My Oxford himself as Darren Elliot (56:57, assists Green and Oliver) scored his second of his evening. Leaving the Lions to lick their wounds ahead of next week’s trip to Invicta.
Final Score: Oxford 10-1 Lee Valley
Period Scores: 2-1/5-0/3-0
Shots on Goal: 22 on Skaife (Oxford), 59 on Mallet (Lee Valley)
Penalties in Minutes: Oxford 49-51 Lee Valley
Man of the Match: Ashlee Cave
Scorers: Lee Valley – Romanas Fedotovas (1+0), Richard Hodge (0+1).
Oxford – Joe Oliver (1+4) Darren Elliot (2+2), Alan Green (1+3), Nick Oliver (1+2), James Pentecost (2+0), Jacob Smith (1+1), Josh Oliver & Sam Broughton (1+0), Andy Cox (0+1).
There are photos from the game available on fozzyimages’ Flickr page here.