Lee Valley were looking to continue their form from a strong away performance at Swindon two weeks ago. They had previously drawn in Cardiff and there was belief they could improve on that result and move up the league table. Missing were Theo Abban and James Hatfull.
First Period: The game started at a furious pace, the Lions making several inroads into the Cardiff zone. First Nick Alley (playing in defence to cover the absent Hatfull) rung a wrist shot off the post; the resulting rebound was almost turned in by a Cardiff defence-man but Ross Miller recovered well to stop an own goal being scored. The very next play, Alley took the puck from his own zone, skinning the Cardiff defence-men before forcing a good save from Miller. As the Lions swarmed, James Hepburn latched onto James Gosling’s pass (5:30) to put the Lions ahead. Lee Valley continued to dominate the period but in the last five minutes, Cardiff began to work their way into the game. In the final minute of the period the Lions failed to clear the zone and as the pressure built up, Owen Griffiths (20:00, assist Raffaelli) tipped a shot on the buzzer to equalise for the visitors – much to the anger of the Lions’ bench as it appeared to go in after the clock had run down.
Second Period: Needing to bounce back early, both sides failed to find any spark and with the ice still soaking from the resurface between periods. Lee Valley found several chances squandered as the puck stopped dead, including a breakaway chance for Gennadi Yufit. Once the pressure eased, Cardiff again found their stride and it was them who took the lead. After a turnover in their own end, the Devils rushed up ice and set up well for Giacomo Raffaelli (34:17, assist Elias) to take advantage of a planned screen on Aaron Mallet and shoot low to score. Few chances were created after that and the period ended 2-1 to Cardiff.
Third Period: Things failed to get better for the home side, as they couldn’t find the cutting edge needed to break the hard-working Devils. Several chances went begging for the Lions before Griffiths (44:11, unassisted) found himself open in front of net after sloppy Lions’ play to double the visitors’ lead. Cardiff continued to press and with the Lions tiring, Callum Wallace (48:51, assist Newton) latched onto a rebound and managed to roof the puck from a tight angle past a scrambling Mallet, to essentially kill off the game. Wallace’s part in proceedings hadn’t quite finished, though. As he made a late hit on young defenceman Jarvis Mewett, the under 18 took exception and slashed Wallace. This led to a coming together of players on the ice and when Mewett went to let Wallace know what he thought of him, a scrap between himself and Matt Griffiths ensued, both players sitting roughing penalties as a result. Giacomo Raffaelli was thrown from the game for abuse of an official but as a contest the game was done and Cardiff eased to victory, departing East London with a 4-1 win.
The Lions travel to Peterborough next weekend for our final game of the year.
Period Scores: Lee Valley 1-1/0-1/0-2
Shots on Goal: 33 on Mallet (Lee Valley), 26 on Cardiff (24 on Miller, 2 on Bird)
Penalties in Minutes: Lee Valley 6-20 Cardiff
Man of the Match: Lee Valley – Joe Berry, Cardiff – Callum Wallace