After defeat on Saturday to Chelmsford, the Lions were looking to bounce back immediately, and avenge the loss two weeks ago against neighbours Haringey.
Lions welcomed back Sam Awoyemi and Joe Weare, taking the team’s contingent to three lines for the first time in 5 games.
Haringey arrived with four lines, featuring former Lion Stuart Spence and ex London Raider Rob Veares.
1st Period: The game got off to the worst possible start for the Lions as Matt Brown (1:21, assists Whittleston, Appleby) was left alone to skate out of the corner and score. Despite the early wake up call, Lee Valley couldn’t shake their rustiness and after being turned away by James Andrew, Haringey doubled their lead through Ben Osborne (9:18, assists Clayton, Veares) through similar circumstance. Lions began to find their feet but a spell of pressure saw a shot blocked from a face off in the Haringey zone, and Daniel Clayton (11:24, assist Osbourne) broke away to score their third). Lee Valley called a timeout, and although they stopped the hosts from scoring again, they weren’t able to find the net themselves.
2nd Period: Lee Valley came out with a new found intensity that was much needed in the first period. Forcing the Racers into ill-discipline and mistakes in their own zone, but they still couldn’t convert the powerplay opportunities given to them. After a spell of back and forth play, Ben Gillingham found Matt Hepburn (37:01, assists Gillingham, Aiken) with a deflected stretch pass and Hepburn scored with the rebound trickling through Steve Nightingale. Lions continued to pile on the pressure but couldn’t find a way through as the period ended 3-1.
3rd Period: Carrying the momentum from the 2nd period, Lee Valley looked like they were playing with more urgency, setting up in the Racers’ zone but not getting clear enough shots on Nightingale. Haringey did find space on the counter attack but James Andrew was doing well to deflect their efforts. As the period wore on the Lions were making a a hash of getting into the Haringey end on their own powerplay, but when they did Nightingale stood strong. Finally with under five minutes remaining, a scramble saw the puck fall to Ollie Glover (55:40, assists Fox, Alley) to bring the game within one goal. Ross Sin-Hidge and Nick Alley came close to equalising and Lions had another opportunity with six seconds remaining but were unable to convert, leaving Haringey to escape with another one goal victory this season.
Final Score: Haringey 3-2 Lions
Period Scores: 3-0/0-1/0-1
Shots on Goal: Haringey 33-41 Lions (14-10/9-17/10-14)
Penalties in Minutes: Haringey 12-8 Lee Valley
Scorers: Lions – Matthew Hepburn & Ollie Glover (1+0), Nick Alley, Chris Fox, Henry Aiken & Ben Gillingham (0+1)
Haringey – Daniel Clayton & Ben Osbourne (1+1), Matt Brown (1+0), Rob Whittleston, Stuart Appleby & Rob Veares (0+1)
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew 33 shots/3 goals (90.91%)
Haringey – Steve Nightingale 41 shots/2 goals (95.12%)
The Lions return to NIHL 2 Cup action with a visit from Bristol Pitbulls on Saturday (8/10).
Face off at Lea Bridge Road is at 5:30pm.
Ticket and travel information can be found in the ‘Game Day’ section of our website.