After three straight games with new champions Peterborough, the Lions travelled to last season’s league winners Chelmsford Warriors. The previous meeting in January saw the Lions pick up a 6-4 win but Chelmsford were going strong and had qualified for the playoffs.
Lee Valley arrived in the county town of Essex missing Jordan Turner, Ben Gillingham & James Gosling. However, Daniel Tamasauskas made his 2nd appearance for the side in as many weeks.
1st Period: Both sides created chances early as neither team got a foothold, it took a turnover on the Warriors’ blue line to break the deadlock, Brandon Webster (7:34, unassisted) scoring a breakaway goal. Lee Valley responded well, putting Billy Cook in the Chelmsford goal under pressure but their eagerness to get an equaliser boiled over, first Henry Aiken took a boarding penalty, then Matt Hepburn was called for charging. The Lions killed both penalties and then finally got the equaliser when a quick breakout allowed Lee Hounslow (17:34, assists Sin-Hidge, Alley) to race down the right hand side and rifle a wrist shot past Cook, tying the game going into the 2nd.
2nd Period: Lee Valley had the perfect start to the period when Chris Fox (20:49, assist Matt Hepburn) managed to find the net from a tight angle to give the Lions the lead. Had it not been for a couple of close chances and bad bounces, the Lee Valley could’ve doubled their lead but didn’t get the break they needed, and then the Lions’ discipline began to let them down. First Oskar Horter was called for Cross Checking then Henry Aiken was given 10 minutes for illegal equipment. With two D in the box, Chelmsford took their chance when Thomas Wilson (PP goal 33:44, assist Brears). Chelmsford then continued to put pressure on James Andrew’s goal but couldn’t score thanks to some dogged defending, a blocked shot from Nick Alley and a couple of near misses. Lions called a timeout to stem the flow of the Warriors attack, and saw out the period to keep it tied.
3rd Period: Lions’ discipline improved but they were reduced to long range shots on Cook and Chelmsford were keeping better possession of the puck. The visitors got an opportunity to add to their tally when Gary Brown was called for holding, after hitting Cook with a barrage of shots, Chelmsford managed to break free and Ross Brears (SH goal 50:17, assist Campbell) was on hand to nudge the Warriors ahead. Lions killed their only penalty of the period but another Chelmsford goal followed as Lee Valley began to tire, George Gell (53:34, assist Wicks) doubling the home side’s lead. Chelmsford had the final say in the game when Ross Brears (58:23, assists Brown, Dervish) put the result to bed.
Final Score: Chelmsford Warriors 5-2 Lee Valley Lions
Period Scores: 1-1/1-1/3-0
Shots: Chelmsford 48-42 Lee Valley (16-13/15-15/17-14)
Penalties: Chelmsford 10-20 Lee Valley
Scorers: Lee Valley – Lee Hounslow & Chris Fox (1+0), Nick Alley, Ross Sin-Hidge & Matt Hepburn (0+1)
Chelmsford – Ross Brears (2+1), Thomas Wilson, Brandon Webster & George Gell (1+0), Donald Campbell, Elliot Dervish, Jonathan Wicks & Gary Brown (0+1)
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew 48 shots/5 goals, 89.58%
Chelmsford – Billy Cook 42 shots/2 goals, 95.24%
Man of the Match: James Andrew
The Lions next fixture sees them renew acquaintances with local rivals Haringey Racers this Saturday (25/03) at Alexandra Palace.
Face off is at 5:30pm