Lions Vanquished by Phoenix

The Lee Valley Lions ended a run of three away games on the bounce on Sunday as they travelled to Surrey to take on the Guildford Phoenix. The Lions had gone down 2-0 to the Phoenix at home back in September, so hoped to reverse that result in this encounter.

The Lions were able to field a strong side; they were only missing Ben Duffy, Robyn Maby, Jordan Turner and Michael Crosse, giving them 17 skaters as well as netminding duo James Andrew and Brett Shepherd. Lee Valley also welcomed new signing Ashley West to the lineup. Guildford, meanwhile, iced 18 skaters – including former Lions Bailey Wootton and Henry Aiken – plus netminders Sam Calder and Jacob Stoodley.

1st Period: The opening period did not start well for the Lions, which has been a recurring theme this season. Within the first ten minutes they were already 4-0 down as the hosts got off to a perfect start. Phoenix player-coach Andrew Hemmings (3:17, assisted Joe Stephenson) opened the scoring just over three minutes in, with Josh Abbott (4:20, assisted Marcus Mitchell) doubling their advantage just 63 seconds later. The next goal followed before the seventh minute was out as Abbott (6:57, assisted Nick Minhinnick and Hemmings) scored his second of the night; and Abbott (9:26, assisted Hemmings) would complete a hat-trick before the game was even ten minutes old to put the home side in total control.

After the Lions took their timeout, the remaining ten minutes of the first period were a little quieter, with each team getting one powerplay opportunity but being unable to convert. With just 42 seconds left in period one, the Phoenix went 5-0 up as former Lee Valley junior Haydn Wootton (19:16, assisted Bailey Wootton and Scott Greenfield) put the puck past James Andrew. There would be no more scoring on the period, with the hosts taking a 5-0 lead into period two having outshot the East London side 17-12 in the first stanza.

2nd Period: The second period started better for the Lions; they were more solid at the back and kept the scoreline at 5-0 for the first eight minutes of the period. Guilford were able to extend their lead, however, as H. Wootton (28:10,assisted Greenfield) made it 6-0. With Lions captain Nick Alley in the box for slashing, Guildford’s seventh followed on the powerplay as Luke Tull (31:27, assisted H. Wootton and B. Wootton) fired past Andrew. And just three minutes later, the lead was up to 8-0 as Greenfield (34:22, unassisted) scored unassisted.

At this point, the Lions switched netminder to Brett Shepherd; the 17-year-old faced five shots in the next five minutes, conceding one goal as Jacob Rondeau-Smith (37:56, assisted Abbott and Minhinnick) managed to get one past him. The second frame finished with the Phoenix 9-0 up, having led the shot count 17-11 on the period.

3rd Period: The visitors got off to a bad start in the third period as Oliver Glover sat two minutes for elbowing at 41:50; Jonah Stoodley (43:38, assisted Monty Gailer and B. Wootton) scored on the resulting powerplay to bring up a double figure scoreline. After Lions forward Chris Fox and Guildford duo Marcus Mitchell and Jack Woodstock all received minor penalties at 44:33, this put the visitors on the powerplay; however a giveaway by the Lions in their own zone led to Minhinnick (46:07, assisted Abbott) putting the Phoenix 11-0 up with a shorthanded marker.

The scoring eased up in the next 12 minutes, with the score remaining at 11-0 until two quick goals towards the end of the game; first Jonah Stoodley (58:40, assisted Stephenson) completed Guildford’s scoring with their 12th goal of the night, before the Lions got a very late consolation goal through Oliver Glover (59:43, assisted Ben Gillingham and Ross Sin-Hidge) just 17 seconds from time.

The final score of 12-1 was a disappointing one for the Lions; after a strong performance in defeat to Bracknell the previous weekend, they would have hoped to have kept the scoreline a lot closer in this game. Guildford were ruthless in front of goal and took their chances, while the Lions were not able to take the chances that they created. Next up for Lee Valley is a crucial tie with Slough on Sunday 21st January, as the Lions finally return home after a seven week gap since their last home game.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Guildford Phoenix 12-1 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 5-0/4-0/3-1

Shots: Guildford Phoenix 48-30 Lee Valley Lions (17-12/17-11/14-7)

Penalty Minutes: Guildford Phoenix 8-12 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Guildford – Joshua Abbott (3+2), Haydn Wootton (2+1), Andrew Hemmings (1+2), Nicholas Minhinnick (1+2), Scott Greenfield (1+2), Bailey Wootton (0+3), Jonah Stoodley (2+0), Joe Stephenson (0+2), Jacob Rondeau-Smith (1+0), Luke Tull (1+0), Montgomery Gailer (0+1), Marcus Mitchell (0+1)

Lee Valley – Oliver Glover (1+0), Ross Sin-Hidge (0+1), Ben Gillingham (0+1)

Goaltenders: Guildford – Sam Calder (60:00 played, 30 shots/1 goal against)

Lee Valley – James Andrew (34:22 played, 29 shots/8 goals against); Brett Shepherd (25:38 played, 19 shots/4 goals against)

The Lions are next in action at home to the Slough Jets on Sunday the 21st of January. Faceoff at the Den is at 5:30pm.

You can keep up to date with the Lions on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LeeValleyLions.

Resolute Lions Beaten in Bracknell

After ending 2017 with an 18-1 defeat in Oxford, the Lee Valley Lions hoped to kick off 2018 with a better result. The fixture list didn’t get any easier, however, as they had to travel to Bracknell to face a Hornets side that had lost just once this season to date. The Hornets had won 11-1 at the Den earlier in the season, so the Lions were keen to improve on that result in this game.

The Lions were without Ashley Earll, Ben Duffy, Jordan Turner, Matthew Hepburn, Michael Crosse, Robyn Maby and Tom Hurley; giving them 13 skaters as well as James Andrew and Brett Shepherd between the pipes. The Hornets fielded 18 skaters plus netminder James Richardson.

1st Period: The first period got off to a disastrous start for the Lions, as the Hornets scored to make it 1-0 just 57 seconds in, as player-coach Danny Hughes (0:57, assisted Josh Ealey-Newman and Matt Jordan) fired past Andrew. The fans in attendance would have been forgiven for thinking this was the start of a Hornets scoring spree, but it took the Hornets a further 14 minutes before they could score again as Andrew made some great saves as per usual to frustrate the home side. When the goal eventually came, it was J. Ealey-Newman (14:27, assisted Adam Bicknell and Hughes) who doubled the advantage.

The Lions did not let their heads drop after this, forcing James Richardson into some sharp saves and eventually getting the puck past him with a minute and a half left in the period. Oliver Glover (18:28, assisted Daniel Tamasauskas and Ross Sin-Hidge) tipped in a point shot by Daniel Tamasauskas for his second goal of the campaign. Tamasauskas picked up his second senior assist on the play. No further goals were to follow in the period, with the Hornets taking a narrow 1-1 lead into the dressing room having outshot the Lions 10-7.

2nd Period: The second period saw the Hornets start on the powerplay with Lions defenceman James Joseph in the box for roughing, but they were unable to take advantage and the scoreline remained at 2-1. As the period wore on, the Hornets put more and more pressure on Andrew in the Lee Valley net – the home side led the shot count 15-4 in the middle frame – but the Lions netminder once again came up big on several occasions to prevent the Hornets from extending their lead. There were no goals from either side in the period, with the score remaining at 2-1 heading into the crucial final period.

3rd Period: All of the Lions’ hard work to keep the scoreline tight was undone at the start of the final period, with two goals inside the first two minutes extending Bracknell’s lead to 4-1: first defenceman Carl Graham (40:25, assisted Bicknell and Jordan) scored from the blueline and then Tom Fisher (41:55, assisted Steve Fisher) also managed to get the puck past Andrew.

At this point, Lions head coach George Alley took his timeout and it seemed to calm the Lions down; for the next eight minutes they were more solid, but they still could not prevent the Hornets from extending their lead with just over ten minutes to play as S. Fisher (49:20, assisted Sean Scarbrough) extended the scoreline to 5-1. A further goal would then follow four minutes later as Scarbrough (53:36, assisted Jack Tarczycki and S. Fisher) made it 6-1.

However the Lions rallied after this, scoring two quickfire goals to make the scoreline a lot closer; first Simon Geldart (53:54, unassisted) roofed the puck unassisted past Richardson before Sin-Hidge (54:37, assisted Andrew) picked up a rebound after a save by Andrew, went coast to coast and buried the puck past the Hornets keeper to make it 6-3 in favour of the home side. The Hornets had time for one more goal, Hughes (58:31, assisted Daniel Fay and Tarczycki) completing the scoring for the game with a 4-on-3 powerplay goal as Simon Jones and Chris Fox (both Lee Valley) and Bracknell’s Harvey Hind-Pitcher all sat in the box.

A final score of 7-3 saw the Hornets remain in the hunt for the NIHL South 2 title, while the Lions are still looking for that elusive first win. However the East London side can once again be proud of their efforts, keeping the scoreline tight against a very strong side and earning a lot of praise from neutral observers in the process. Man of the Match for the Lions went to Ross Sin-Hidge for his 1+1 and an energetic performance, while the award for the Hornets went to Tom Fisher.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Bracknell Hornets 7-3 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 2-1/0-0/5-2

Shots: Bracknell Hornets 50-21 Lee Valley Lions (10-7/15-4/25-10)

Penalty Minutes: Bracknell Hornets 6-8 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Bracknell – Danny Hughes (2+1), Steve Fisher (1+2), Josh Ealey-Newman (1+1), Sean Scarbrough (1+1), Jack Tarczycki (0+2), Adam Bicknell (0+2), Matt Jordan (0+2), Tom Fisher (1+0), Carl Graham (1+0), Daniel Fay (0+1)

Lee Valley – Ross Sin-Hidge (1+1), Oliver Glover (1+0), Simon Geldart (1+0), Daniel Tamasauskas (0+1), James Andrew (0+1)

Goaltenders: Bracknell – James Richardson (60:00 played, 21 shots/3 goals against)

Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 50 shots/7 goals against)

Man of the Match – Ross Sin-Hidge (Lee Valley), Tom Fisher (Bracknell)

The Lee Valley Lions are next in action away to the Guildford Phoenix on Sunday the 14th of January. Faceoff in Guildford is at 5:30pm.

You can keep up to date with the Lions on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LeeValleyLions.

Lions Humbled by Leaders Oxford

After their planned game at Chelmsford last weekend was cancelled due to inclement weather, the Lee Valley Lions ended 2017 with a trip to league leaders the Oxford City Stars on Sunday. Oxford have lost just one game this season, while the Lions are yet to record their first win – their two points so far coming from overtime defeats.

The Lions were without a host of players: Ashley Earll, Ben Duffy, Brett Shepherd, Chris Fox, Jordan Turner, Lee Hounslow, Michael Crosse, Robin Young, Ross Sin-Hidge and Tom Hurley all missed the game, giving the Lions 12 skaters plus netminders James Andrew and Robyn Maby. Home side Oxford fielded 16 skaters and netminding duo Mark Duffy and Milan Ronai.

1st Period: The Lions have been slow starters this season, but this game didn’t go the same way. In fact, the East London side took the lead in the sixth minute as Simon Geldart (5:49, assisted Matt Brown) put the puck past City Stars netminder Duffy. Oxford didn’t take long to reply, however; it took just 56 seconds before Kamil Kinkor (6:45, unassisted) levelled the game up, shooting past Andrew in the Lions net. The Stars then put more and more pressure on Andrew as the period wore on, and took the lead just before the ten minute mark as Andrew Cox (9:53, assisted Kinkor) put the home side 2-1 up.

Two more goals followed in the first period – both for the home side – as first Dominic Hopkins (12:51, assisted Michael Whillock and Cox) and then Josh Oliver (14:41, assisted Hopkins) increased Oxford’s lead to 4-1. The latter goal came on the powerplay with Lions forward Matthew Hepburn serving two minutes for tripping – unusually, this would be the only penalty of the game. Period 1 ended with Oxford 4-1 up, but it could have been more if not for Andrew’s heroics – the Lions netminder stopped 18 of 22 shots in the period. His opposite number Duffy faced four, stopping one.

2nd Period: Any hopes the Lions had of keeping the scoreline close were dashed in the second period as the league leaders stepped it up a level and scored ten goals without reply. The first came just 15 seconds in, Kinkor (20:15, assisted Martyn Gray and Josh Florey) grabbing his second of the night. Before the 24 minute mark, two more goals were to follow as first Stewart Tait (21:58, assisted Conor Redmond) and then Josh Florey (23:52, assisted Kinkor and Joe Edwards) extended Oxford’s lead to 7-1.

The Lions then managed to keep the Stars out for seven minutes, before a whirlwind of goals followed: Oxford went from 7-1 to 14-1 up between the 31st and 38th minutes. There were two goals for Josh Florey, who completed his hat-trick, and one for Kinkor who also completed his; as well as two for Dax Hedges and one each for Josh Oliver and Conor Redmond. The period ended 14-1 in Oxford’s favour, with James Andrew facing 20 shots on the period and Duffy having to make just two saves.

3rd Period: The Lions swapped netminders in the third period, with Robyn Maby getting a chance between the pipes in relief of Andrew. And although Oxford went 15-1 up after just 49 seconds – Kinkor (40:49, unassisted) grabbing his fourth of the night – Maby had a strong period in net and made some big saves to prevent the scoreline being even higher. Nonetheless, 16-1 came in the 45th minute with Joe Edwards (44:11, assisted Kinkor and Josh Florey) scoring his first of the night.

Two more goals followed in the period, both for the home side. Josh Oliver (49:14, assisted Tait and Redmond) became the third Oxford player to complete a hat-trick as he made it 17-1, while youngster Will Harrison (57:53, assisted Tait and Redmond) put the icing on the cake. The final score was 18-1, with Oxford peppering Maby with 21 shots in the period and Duffy in the Oxford net

Robyn Maby took the Player of the Game award for the Lions after making 16 saves in the final period on 21 shots, while Josh Florey took the award for the home side.

It was the expected heavy defeat for the Lions in perhaps their toughest game of the season. They were nonetheless praised for their relentless determination and team spirit by neutral observers, and will hope there are better things to come in 2018.

GAME STATS

Final Score:
Oxford City Stars 18-1 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 4-1/10-0/4-0

Shots: Oxford 63-10 Lee Valley (22-4/20-2/21-4)

Penalty Minutes: Oxford 0-2 Lee Valley

Scorers: Oxford – Kamil Kinkor (4+5), Josh Florey (3+3), Stewart Tait (1+3), Conor Redmond (1+3), Josh Oliver (3+0), Dominic Hopkins (1+2), Joe Edwards (1+2), Dax Hedges (2+0), Andrew Cox (1+1), Michael Whillock (0+2), Will Harrison (1+0), Jake Florey (0+1), Jason William Ikin (0+1), Matthew Lawday (0+1), Alexander Staples (0+1), Martyn Gray (0+1)

Lee Valley – Simon Geldart (1+0), Matt Brown (0+1)

Goaltenders: Oxford – Mark Duffy (60:00 played, 10 shots/1 goal against)

Lee Valley – James Andrew (40:00 played, 42 shots/14 goals against), Robyn Maby (20:00 played, 21 shots/4 goals against)

Player of the Match – Robyn Maby (Lee Valley), Josh Florey (Oxford)

Lions Gain Another Point After Overtime Defeat

The Lee Valley Lions played their last home game of 2017 on Saturday, as they welcomed the Cardiff NIHL2 Fire to East London. The home side were still looking for their first win of the season, after narrowly losing out in OT to Invicta seven days earlier.

The Lions were without Ben Duffy, Jordan Turner, Lee Hounslow, Michael Crosse, Robin Young, Robyn Maby and Samuel Awoyemi, but welcomed forward Tom Hurley who made his Lee Valley debut. This gave Lee Valley 15 skaters, with 17-year-old Brett Shepherd starting in net for the second consecutive game. Cardiff brought 12 skaters and also fielded a 17-year-old between the pipes as Lewis Davies got the start.

1st Period: The Lions have started many games slowly this season; and unfortunately for them, the same occurred here as Cardiff went 1-0 up just over three minutes in, captain Ross Wilkinson (3:29, assisted Thomas Stevens and Lewis Smith) scoring on a shot that squeezed past Lions netminder Shepherd and into the net. The home side started to crank up the pressure after this as they tried to get back in the game, drawing two penalties.

The Fire managed to kill a holding minor against Thomas Stevens, but when Lewis Stevens went into the box for tripping, the Lions took advantage with just one second left in the powerplay to tie the game up. Matt Brown (14:25, assisted Chris Fox and Simon Jones) sniped one past Lewis Davies and sent the goalie’s water bottle flying. No more penalties or goals followed in the first period, as it ended 1-1 with the Lions outshooting Cardiff 14-10.

2nd Period: The second period started off badly for the Lions, as they again shipped an early goal. This time Joe Morris (20:24, assisted Elliott Murdoch) shot past Shepherd with just 24 seconds gone in the period to give the Welsh side another lead. As in the first period, the Lions fought back to equalise, with captain Nick Alley (24:39, assisted Ross Sin-Hidge) equalising four minutes later after good work in the build-up from linemate Sin-Hidge. Unlike the first period, this time the Lions pushed on and took the lead, Brown (29:54, assisted Ben Gillingham) putting the hosts 3-2 up just before the halfway point of the game following some industrious play from Ben Gillingham.

And it got better for the Lions just 44 seconds later as Alley (30:38, assisted Sin-Hidge and Matthew Hepburn) also notched up his second goal of the game to put the Lions 4-2 up; this was a well-worked powerplay goal with Fire’s Lewis Stevens in the box for cross checking. The Lions pressed on looking for even more goals – they out-shot Cardiff 17-13 on the period – but couldn’t find a way past Lewis Davies who came up with some big saves. With just 30 seconds left in the period, Cardiff pounced on a defensive lapse by the Lions to get back to 4-3 behind. Lewis Smith (39:30, unassisted) was left alone in front of Lions netminder Shepherd and finished coolly.

3rd Period: The third period was a tight affair in the early stages, as the Lions looked to extend their lead and the Fire tried to equalise. Both young netminders made some great stops and frustrated their opposition, with no goals falling in the first eight minutes of the period. The Fire then managed to tie the game up at four apiece, L. Smith (48:20, assisted Andre Norris and Murdoch) grabbing his second of the evening – again taking advantage of some slack defending.

A scary moment followed in the 50th minute as Lions debutante Tom Hurley was left down in the corner after a hit from Fire captain Ross Wilkinson. Hurley was eventually stretchered off the ice while Wilkinson received a match penalty for checking from behind. This gave the Lions a five minute powerplay but they could not convert; indeed when Simon Geldart and Matt Brown both took minor penalties at the same time, the Lions suddenly found themselves killing a 4-on-3 situation. Another Cardiff penalty meant some 3-on-3 time, before the Lions went back on the powerplay but still could not find the go-ahead goal. As time expired on the third period, the score was tied at 4-4 meaning the Lions would go into overtime for the second Saturday in a row.

Overtime: The 3-on-3 overtime period saw both sides trying to take advantage of the extra space on the ice to create the all-important winning goal. While the Lions had a single shot at net, Cardiff managed six; and the last of those shots proved to be the game winner as Elliott Murdoch (62:52, assisted Norris) broke across the blueline and sniped a perfectly placed shot past Shepherd to seal the win for the Fire.

For the second Saturday in succession, the Lions had lost in overtime – gaining a point for their troubles but still awaiting their first win of the season. Matthew Hepburn took the man of the match award for the home side after a tireless performance, while Cardiff netminder Lewis Davies took the award for his side.

GAME STATS*
*Please note, some stats vary from those on the official game sheet

Final Score:
Lee Valley Lions 4-5 Cardiff Fire (OT)

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

Shots: Lee Valley 49-47 Cardiff (14-10/17-13/17-18/1-6)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley 8-39 Cardiff

Scorers: Lee Valley – Matt Brown (2+0), Nick Alley (2+0), Ross Sin-Hidge (0+2), Matthew Hepburn (0+1), Chris Fox (0+1), Ben Gillingham (0+1), Simon Jones (0+1)

Cardiff – Lewis Smith (2+1), Elliott Murdoch (1+2), Andre Norris (0+2), Joe Morris (1+0), Ross Wilkinson (1+0), Thomas Stevens (0+1)

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – Brett Shepherd (62:52 played, 47 shots/5 goals against)

Cardiff – Lewis Davies (62:52 played, 49 shots/4 goals against)

Man of the Match – Matthew Hepburn (Lee Valley), Lewis Davies (Cardiff)

Update on Tom Hurley

Last night Lions’ debutante Tom Hurley was injured in the 3rd period of our game with Cardiff Fire.

After a delay of about 10 minutes, Tom was stretchered off the ice and was taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Tom was discharged at approximately 2am with suspected concussion, muscle sprain in his neck and a broken first metacarpal bone in his left hand.

We’d like to thank those who’ve sent messages of support on Twitter and we wish Tom a speedy recovery.