After two weeks off following the Cup loss to Peterborough. Lee Valley were looking to end the calendar year with a win against an Invicta side, who hadn’t played the sides last played each other in October.
Making his debut for the Lions was former Chelmsford and Haringey forward Lee Hounslow, who made it to Gillingham after his registration was confirmed at the 11th hour.
Missing were Oskar Horter, Joe Weare & Jordan Turner.
1st Period: Lions made a shakey start and withstood a lot of early pressure from the Mustangs. The game took a controversial turn when James Hepburn was given a game misconduct for Boarding in the 10th minute, which resulted in the Lions battling a 5 minute powerplay. A strong effort saw the Lions kill the penalty but after going back to 5-on-5 they remained under pressure but James Andrew was a stand out performer, including a superb diving save to stop a certain open net goal. Andrew’s heroics were enough to see the Lions through the end of the period with honours even at 0-0.
2nd Period: Lee Valley started the second stanza much more settled hockey. They created more opportunities and Matthew Passmore was the busier of the goalies in this period. Roughing penalties were given to Invicta’s Greg Hales, Thomas Mallet, Lee Valley’s Nick Alley & Chris Fox, but shortly after became a Powerplay opportunity for the Lions when Danny Terry was called for Delay of Game. The play remained even but when Mustangs’ Jake Stedman was given 2+10 for Checking from Behind, Lee Valley begun to gain control of the match and thought they’d taken the lead but referee Ian Hayden waved it off. With the clock ticking down, Lions won a face off in the Mustangs’ zone and Simon Jones (39:33, assist Hounslow) found the net through a screen created by Matt Hepburn & Simon Geldart, seeing the period end 1-0 to Lee Valley.
3rd Period: It didn’t take long for Lee Valley to pick up where’d they’d left off and a quick chip out of the zone allowed Chris Fox to rush up the ice, fire a shot and Ben Duffy (41:15, assist Fox) poke in the rebound. From there though the game turned in Invicta’s favour. Lee Valley failed to clear the puck several times and after an attempt to skate out of their zone was turned over, Jake Luton (43:22, unassisted) halved the lead, before another turnover allowed Danny Terry (48:54, unassisted) to tie the game, despite a timeout being called in between the two goals. Lee Valley remained under the kosh and more poor play saw Invicta take the lead through Jake Luton (52:55, assist Dennis). This forced a response from the Lions but they weren’t picking up the rebounds coming from Passmore, and despite pulling Andrew for the extra man, they weren’t able to steal a draw like they had last season. The game finishing 3-2 to Invicta.
Final Score: Invicta Mustangs 3-2 Lee Valley Lions (0-0/0-1/3-1)
Shots on Goal: Invicta 43-44 Lee Valley (17-13/13-12/13-19)
Penalties: Invicta 24-37 Lee Valley
Scorers: Lee Valley – Ben Duffy & Simon Jones (1+0), Chris Fox & Lee Hounslow (0+1)
Invicta – Jake Luton (2+0), Danny Terry (1+0), Thomas Dennis (0+1)
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew 43 shots/3 goals, 93.02%
Invicta- Matthew Passmore 44 shots/2 goals, 95.45%
Man of the Match: Lee Hounslow
The Lions now have a month’s break over the festive period before returning to action on Saturday 14/01/2017 vs Bristol Pitbulls in Oxford.
Our next home game is on Saturday 21/01/2016 vs Chelmsford Warriors.
The Lions would like to wish our supporters & everyone involved with the club a Merry Christmas and Happy new year.