Summer trials/practice sessions

The club invites players to come along to the Lions’ practice sessions, which would also function as trials for the 2014/15 season. The sessions will run each Tuesday from 13 May, 8.15-9.30pm, at a cost of £10 per player.

Alex needs wheels! Help Paul O’Neill achieve Ironman challenge

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).

Lions Almost Shock Bristol in 12-Goal Thriller

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.

Match Stats:
Final Score: Bristol 6-6 Lee Valley
Period Scores:
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:

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Early Trampling Sees Buffalo Past Battling Lions

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.

Match Stats
Final Score: Lee Valley 5-7 Basingstoke
Period Scores:
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).

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