Lions Overpowered in Guildford

The Lee Valley Lions went down 9-2 in Guildford to the Phoenix on Sunday, in their penultimate road game of the season.

Goals from Conner Smith and Richard Hodge weren’t enough for the Lions, with Guildford taking a win that locked them into a fifth place finish in NIHL South Division 2 this season.

The Lions were able to welcome back several players who had missed the previous few games; however top scorer Tom Hnilica was absent for the East London side.

And the hosts dominated proceedings in the first period, peppering Lions netminder James Andrew with 26 shots in the opening frame, while the Lions could only manage five.

However only one of those 26 Guildford shots were able to find a way through Andrew’s defences, as Luke Tull scored in the tenth minute to put the Phoenix 1-0 up.

For the remaining ten minutes of the period, both Andrew and the Lions defence held firm to go into the first intermission with a one goal deficit.

The Phoenix came out strong at the start of the second period, racing into a 3-0 lead just two minutes in thanks to goals from Bailey Wootton and Andrew Hemmings.

But the Lions roared back in the 26th minute to cut the deficit to 3-1, as Conner Smith (25:30) scored his fourth goal of the season with assists from Simon Jones and Dexter Crawford.

17-year-old Smith recently played two games for the Streatham Redhawks in the league above, and the confidence that those appearances must have given him was on full display as he finished past Guildford netminder Sam Calder.

Guildford would go on to score just one more goal in the second period, as Josh Abbott netted in the 37th minute, with the Phoenix taking a 4-1 lead into the final frame. Lions netminder Andrew was once again strong in the second period, turning away 23 shots to keep his side in the game.

The Phoenix were then able to extend their lead to 5-1 early in the final period as Hemmings scored his second of the night, but the Lions then bounced back again as Richard Hodge (44:38) scored his fourth goal of the season to narrow Guildford’s lead to 5-2. The assist on Hodge’s goal came from Alex Clarke.

As the final period wore on, the Phoenix were able to demonstrate why they will finish the season ten places above the Lions, as they added four more goals through Hemmings (completing his hat-trick), Abbott, Tull, and Jack Woodstock to take a 9-2 win when the final buzzer sounded.

Man of the Match for the Lions was goaltender Andrew, who had an extremely busy night between the pipes facing 77 shots and making 68 saves.

The Lions are next in action on Sunday 24th March, as they take on the Romford Raiders’ NIHL2 team. It will be the Lions’ final home game of the season, with faceoff at Lee Valley Ice Centre scheduled for 17:30.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Guildford Phoenix 9-2 Lee Valley Lions

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

Shots: Guildford 77-19 Lee Valley (26-5/26-8/25-6)

Penalty Minutes: Guildford 8-30 Lee Valley

Scorers: Guildford – Andrew Hemmings 3+3, Josh Abbott 2+2, Jared Lane 0+4, Bailey Wootton 1+2, Luke Tull 2+0, Jack Woodstock 1+0, Monty Gailer 0+1, Matthew Tull 0+1, Harry Hatfield 0+1, Jacob Rondeau-Smith 0+1, Joe Stephenson 0+1
Lee Valley – Conner Smith 1+0, Richard Hodge 1+0, Simon Jones 0+1, Dexter Crawford 0+1, Alex Clarke 0+1

Goaltenders: Guildford – Sam Calder (60:00 played, 19 shots/2 goals against)
Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 77 shots/9 goals against)

Man of the Match – James Andrew (Lee Valley)

Lions Grounded by High-Flying Jets

The Lee Valley Lions suffered a heavy defeat to league leaders Slough on Saturday evening, going down 15-4 at home.

The Jets came into the game riding an unbeaten streak of 21 games in a row, so the Lions knew they would have a tough game on their hands.

Around half of the Lions roster was unavailable for the game, leaving the home side with just 12 skaters; while the Jets were able to ice a full roster of 20.

First Period: A tough task got even tougher for the Lions early on, as versatile player Gus Zimmerman suffered an ankle injury after falling awkwardly following a collision with a Jets player, and he had to be helped from the ice.

Zimmerman played no further part in the game, leaving the Lions with just 11 skaters for the remainder of the contest.

The Lions held off the Jets charge for a while despite the numbers disadvantage, but towards the end of the first period the Jets started to turn on the style, and were rewarded as goals from Luke Smital and Adam Rosbottom put the visitors 2-0 up.

The home side fought back though, halving the deficit in the 19th minute through a Joe Miller (18:45, assisted Richard Hodge) goal. The Lions thus trailed 2-1 heading into the first intermission.

Second Period: Slough extended their advantage to 4-1 at the midpoint of the game thanks to goals from Dan Rose and Bradley Hildreth, but the Lions still hoped to keep the scoreline close as the game wore on.

However, the home side conceded four more goals towards the end of the second period as they began to tire. Rose scored twice to complete his hat-trick, with Rosbottom also grabbing his second of the night and Jets player-coach Lukas Smital getting the other goal.

The Lions’ second goal of the evening was sandwiched in between the Jets’ sixth and seventh goals, as Czech forward Tom Hnilica (36:25, assisted Joe Berry) scored his 17th goal of the season. The score was thus 8-2 in favour of the Jets heading into the third period.

Third Period: Unfortunately for the Lions, the final period brought more of the same as their tired legs couldn’t cope with the rampant league leaders. Slough added a further seven goals in the final period to complete a rout, with Rosbottom grabbing two more, Lukas Smital scoring his second, and further tallies coming through Ryan Handisides (two goals), Juha Lindgren and Tom Fisher.

There were a few high points for the Lions fans to cheer during the last period though; Joe Berry (49:58, assisted Jordan Sullivan) crowned a successful return from injury with a goal, while Hnilica (59:55, assisted Berry) grabbed his second of the night and 18th of the season with just five seconds to go in the game.

The final buzzer sounded with the Jets taking a comfortable victory and extending their unbeaten streak to 22 games on the bounce.

Man of the Match for the Lions was Hnilica, while four-goal man Rosbottom took home the award for the Jets.

The Lions are next in action on Sunday 17th March, as they travel to Surrey to take on the Guildford Phoenix. Faceoff at the Spectrum will be at 18:15.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 4-15 Slough Jets

Period Scores: 1-2/1-6/2-7

Shots: Lee Valley 34-68 Slough (12-20/9-20/13-28)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley 6-10 Slough

Scorers: Lee Valley – Joe Berry 1+2, Tom Hnilica 2+0, Joe Miller 1+0, Jordan Sullivan 0+1, Richard Hodge 0+1
Slough – Adam Rosbottom 4+2, Daniel Rose 3+2, Lukas Smital 2+3, Ryan Handisides 2+2, Luke Smital 1+2, Tom Fisher 1+1, Juha Lindgren 1+1, Simon Griffiths 0+2, Harry Harcup 0+2, Bradley Hildreth 1+0, Jamie Chandler 0+1, Harry Wright 0+1, Luke Dreelan 0+1, Robert Horsfall 0+1, Liam Poulson 0+1, Luke Reynolds 0+1

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew (37:40 played, 36 shots/7 goals against); Steve Grout (22:20 played, 32 shots/8 goals conceded)
Slough – Matthew Smital (29:23 played, 19 shots/1 goal against); Brett Shepherd (30:37 played, 15 shots/3 goals against)

Man of the Match – Tom Hnilica (Lee Valley), Adam Rosbottom (Slough)



Decimated Lions Defeated in Bracknell

The Lee Valley Lions suffered another defeat on Saturday night, with a severely short-benched side going down 10-1 to the Bracknell Hornets.

With over half of the roster unavailable to play the game, the Lions were left with just 10 skaters – giving them only two lines each of forwards and defence. The Hornets, meanwhile, were able to ice an almost full roster of 19 skaters.

First Period: Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Lions played a very strong opening period; they showed good defensive discipline in preventing the Hornets from scoring in the early stages. Steve Grout in the Lions goal also came up with some big saves to keep the scores level.

Tempers then flared in the seventh minute, as Lions defenceman James O’Brien and Hornets forward Ben Ealey-Newman dropped the gloves and had a fight. Both players received four penalty minutes for fighting.

It would take until the 16th minute for the home side to score, and it was Ealey-Newman himself who grabbed the goal to put the Hornets 1-0 up. The score would remain that way until the first intermission, with the home side out-shooting the Lions 23-6.

Second Period: The middle period would turn out to be a disastrous one for the Lions. As their short bench started to tire, they took more and more penalties – which the Hornets duly punished, scoring eight unanswered goals between the 24th and 40th minutes. Danny Hughes (three goals), Josh Ealey-Newman, Ben Ealey-Newman, Adam Bicknell, Connor Hutchison and Luke Jackson did the damage for the home side, with three of those goals coming on the powerplay.

The second period would finish 9-0 to the hosts, with a shot difference of 23-3 in favour of Bracknell in the middle frame.

Third Period: The Lions then seemed to find a second wind in the final period, again putting in a disciplined defensive performance and also getting good goaltending from James Andrew, who had come into net in relief of Steve Grout after the seventh Hornets goal.

And it was the East London side who scored next to cut the deficit to 9-1, as Gus Zimmerman buried past Hornets netminder Rory Edwards. Assists came from player-coach James Joseph and captain Simon Jones.

Impressively, the Lions only conceded one goal in the whole of the third period, as Ben Ealey-Newman netted to complete his hat-trick in the 54th minute and make it 10-1. Despite the short bench, the Lions managed to hold on until the end of the game, drawing the final period 1-1 despite a shot disadvantage of 16-5.

It was a performance to be proud of for the Lions players who were able to make the fixture, as they played very well in both the first and third periods, only losing their way for 16 mad minutes in the middle period. Man of the Match for the Lions was goalscorer Gus Zimmerman.

The Lions return home to Lee Valley Ice Centre this upcoming Saturday 9th March as they welcome league leaders Slough to the Den. Faceoff will be at 17:30.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Bracknell Hornets 10-1 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 1-0/8-0/1-1

Shots: Bracknell 62-14 Lee Valley (23-6/23-3/16-5)

Penalty Minutes: Bracknell 18-32 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Bracknell – Danny Hughes 3+0, Ben Ealey-Newman 3+0, Adam Bicknell 1+2, Matt Jordan 0+3, Josh Ealey-Newman 1+1, William Stead 0+2, Conor Sheehan 0+2, Riley Ikin 0+2, Jakub Fojtik 0+2, Luke Jackson 1+0, Connor Hutchison 1+0
Lee Valley – Gus Zimmerman 1+0, Simon Jones 0+1, James Joseph 0+1

Goaltenders: Bracknell – Rory Edwards (60:00 played, 14 shots/1 goal against)
Lee Valley – Steve Grout (32:15 played, 39 shots/7 goals against); James Andrew (27:45 played, 23 shots/3 goals against)

Man of the Match – Gus Zimmerman (Lee Valley), Danny Hughes (Bracknell)



Injury-Hit Lions Downed by Clinical Phantoms

The Lee Valley Lions suffered a heavy road defeat in Peterborough, as they went down 10-0 to the Phantoms on Sunday night.

The Lions were missing several first-team regulars, including Joe Berry and Conner Smith who both picked up injuries in the previous week’s defeat to Invicta. This left the Lions with just 14 skaters, while the Phantoms were able to ice 17 skaters including former Lions captain Nick Alley.

First Period: It was the Phantoms who made the best start, with Alley scoring in the seventh minute to put them 1-0 up. It then took less than two minutes for the next goal to arrive, as Shaun Yardley made it 2-0 to the hosts.

The Lions then held firm for a while, before conceding the third goal in the 18th minute; Alley getting his second of the evening. This put the Lions 3-0 down going into the first intermission.

Second Period: The middle period was disrupted by a number of penalties, with the Lions getting several powerplay opportunities but being unable to convert these. The Phantoms then extended their lead in the 28th minute mark, as Alley – who had swapped Lee Valley for Peterborough last summer – completed his hat-trick.

Things got worse for the Lions with just a minute and a half remaining in the second period, as they went 5-0 down courtesy of Clint Herring. This is how the score would remain going into the second intermission.

Third Period: The Lions then had a powerplay chance to start the final period, and over-committed as they tried to break Peterborough netminder Dan Lane’s shutout – this allowed the Phantoms to counter and go 6-0 up with a shorthanded goal by Herring.

The lead for the home side then became 7-0 just a minute and a half later, as Conor Pollard killed the game off as a contest once and for all with a goal in the 43rd minute.

As the Lions started to tire in the later stages of the game, the Phantoms were relentless as they added three further goals to bump the score up to 10-0; Jake Samal and Craig Ellis each got on the scoresheet while Alley grabbed his fourth of the night, with Lions goaltender James Andrew powerless to stop the late onslaught.

Things got heated later in the game when Clint Herring of the Phantoms received a 2+10 penalty for boarding, which led to a fight between Lee Valley’s Yasin Sridhar and Peterborough’s Shaun Yardley – both combatants receiving four penalty minutes for roughing.

The final buzzer sounded with the Phantoms taking a comfortable 10-0 win against a short-benched Lions side. Man of the Match for the Lions was Ben Gillingham, while unsurprisingly it was four-goal man Alley who took home the award for the Phantoms.

The Lions hit the road again this upcoming Saturday 2nd March, as they take on the Bracknell Hornets. Faceoff in Bracknell will be at 18:00.

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

Final Score: Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms 10-0 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 3-0/2-0/5-0

Shots: Peterborough 51-27 Lee Valley (21-8/13-12/17-7)

Penalty Minutes: Peterborough 40-18 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Peterborough – Conor Pollard 1+4, Nick Alley 4+0, Clint Herring 2+1, Craig Ellis 1+1, Shaun Yardley 1+1, Jake Samal 1+1, Callum Worthington-Evans 0+1, Robert McDonald 0+1, Bernard Bradford 0+1, Kenny Bavin 0+1, Jordan Liddell 0+1, Jon Binder 0+1, Connor Hunter 0+1, James Pentecost 0+1

Goaltenders: Peterborough – Dan Lane (41:04 played, 21 shots/0 goals against); Jack Peacock (18:56 played, 6 shots/0 goals against)
Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 51 shots/10 goals against)

Man of the Match – Ben Gillingham (Lee Valley), Nick Alley (Peterborough)



Lions Fall to Mustangs Road Defeat

The Lee Valley Lions fell to a 6-3 away defeat against the Invicta Mustangs on Saturday, having trailed by just a single goal going into the final period.

Goals from Joe Berry, Gus Zimmerman and Simon Jones weren’t quite enough for the East London side, who were missing top scorer Tom Hnilica for the tricky trip to Kent.

First Period – The Lions made the better start to the game, as Berry (17:27, assisted Zimmerman) scored his eighth goal of the season in the 18th minute to put the visitors 1-0 up.

But the Mustangs hit back, beating Lions goaltender Steve Grout twice within the next 65 seconds of the game as first Joseph Bliss (18:06, assisted Thomas Dennis) and then Harry Blake (18:32, assisted Bliss) put the hosts 2-1 up.

This was to be the score at the end of the first period, with the Mustangs outshooting the Lions 20-6.

Second Period – The Mustangs then extended their advantage to 3-1 in the 24th minute, as Blake (24:00, assisted Anthony Baskerville) scored his second goal of the game.

But the Lions roared back as Zimmerman (28:51) cut the deficit to 3-2 in the 29th minute, with the assists coming from Elvis Timofejevs – the Latvian defenceman getting his first point in a Lions jersey – and Joe Miller.

There was to be no more scoring in the second period, with the Lions trailing 3-2 going into the final frame having been outshot 12-7 in the period.

Third Period – Unfortunately for the Lions, it was the Mustangs who got on the scoreboard first in the final period as 16-year-old Gregor Mcallan (43:10, assisted Bliss) put them 4-2 up in the 44th minute. And things got worse for the Lions in the 48th minute as Bliss (48:00, assisted Michael Stokes) got his second goal of the game, giving the home side a 5-2 lead.

Mustangs forward Blake (52:22, assisted Dennis) then completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute to give the Mustangs a seemingly unassailable 6-2 advantage.

But the Lions still had some fight left in them, and cut the deficit to 6-3 just 21 seconds later as Simon Jones (52:43, assisted Michael Jacobs) scored his second goal of the season.

The Lions then looked to attack in the closing stages and try to get some more goals on the board, but were unable to get any more pucks past Mustangs netminder Matthew Passmore.

And things got heated with just 65 seconds left to go in the game, as Lions defenceman Dexter Crawford was tossed from the match for kneeing after a hit on Mustangs youngster Mcallan. Crawford and Mustangs’ Connor Pike then dropped the gloves and were handed four penalty minutes each for roughing.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions went down to a 6-3 road defeat to the Mustangs – a frustrating scoreline considering the East London side were only 3-2 down in the 44th minute.

Man of the Match for the Lions was Gus Zimmerman, who impressed with a goal and an assist; while Mustangs youngster Harry Blake took home the award for his side after scoring a hat-trick.

The Lions are next in action next Sunday 24th February, as they hit the road again to take on Peterborough. Faceoff at Planet Ice Peterborough will be at 5:30pm.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Invicta Mustangs 6-3 Lee Valley Lions

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

Shots: Invicta 52-20 Lee Valley (20-6/12-7/20-7)

Penalty Minutes: Invicta 8-31 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Invicta – Joseph Bliss 2+2, Harry Blake 3+0, Thomas Dennis 0+2, Gregor Mcallan 1+0, Michael Stokes 0+1, Anthony Baskerville 0+1
Lee Valley – Gus Zimmerman 1+1, Joe Berry 1+0, Simon Jones 1+0, Joe Miller 0+1, Elvis Timofejevs 0+1, Michael Jacobs 0+1

Goaltenders: Invicta – Matthew Passmore (60:00 played, 20 shots/3 goals against)
Lee Valley – Steve Grout (60:00 played, 52 shots/6 goals against)

Man of the Match – Gus Zimmerman (Lee Valley), Harry Blake (Invicta)