The Lee Valley Lions welcomed the Invicta Mustangs to the Den last weekend, with both sides hoping to take their first win of the season.
The Lions hoped to ice a larger line-up than they had managed in the three games to date, but were without Richard Hodge, Jack Ball, Joshua Irish and Joe Trotter, leaving them with 13 skaters. Steve Grout started in the Lions net.
The Mustangs also brought along 13 skaters – including former Lions defenceman Jarvis Mewett – as well as netminder Matthew Passmore.
1st Period: The Mustangs got off to a good start in the first period, taking a 1-0 lead through Tom Dennis (2:36, unassisted) in the third minute, after a tight angle shot found its way past Grout. The visitors were then able to kill off a kneeing penalty against Jarvis Mewett, and the Lions were able to do the same after receiving a bench penalty for too many men.
Invicta then added a second goal in the 13th minute, Bradley Gutridge (12:59, assisted Aaron Ferris) finishing nicely past Grout after nice build-up play with Aaron Ferris. And they extended that lead a few minutes later as Thomas Mallett (16:43, assisted Regan O’Neil) fired a hard shot into the net past Grout.
The Lions came alive a bit towards the end of the period, with Joe Berry and Michael Jacobs linking up nicely and creating a few chances, but Matthew Passmore in the Mustangs net stood tall – and the score was 3-0 to the visitors at the end of period one.
2nd Period: Just a minute into the second period, there was a break in play as young Lions defenceman James O’Brien took a puck to the mouth and needed to be helped off the ice. Coupled with fellow defenceman Joe Weare not returning to the game after period one due to injury, this put the home side down to 11 skaters for the rest of the night.
However, losing O’Brien and Weare initially seemed to fire the Lions up – they created many chances in the second period, with Berry and Jacobs again creating numerous opportunities, and Czech forward Tom Hnilica also testing Matthew Passmore on several occasions. The Mustangs goalie was on red hot form, and kept out everything that the Lions threw at him – albeit also having some luck when Berry rang one off the pipes with Passmore beaten.
It was against the run of play that the Mustangs scored their fourth of the night, Aaron Ferris (33:57, assisted Luke Thirkettle and O’Neil) finishing past Grout in amongst all the Lions pressure. There was still time in the period for the Lions to create a few more opportunities, with Ben Gillingham also being robbed by Passmore, but frustratingly for the home side no goals came in the second period, as they trailed 4-0 going into the third.
3rd Period: The energy that the Lions had found in the second period seemed to evaporate in the third; a combination of tired legs and frustration as not being able to beat the Mustangs keeper seemed to get to the home side. The Lions conceded just 47 seconds into the final period, Gutridge (40:47, assisted Ferris and Dennis) getting his second of the night and extending the visitors’ lead to 5-0.
And things wouldn’t get much better from there on, with the Mustangs adding four more goals before the night was over to give a lop-sided look to the scoreline; first Mewett (52:50, unassisted) made it 6-0 against his former side before Ferris completed his hat-trick on the night, with goals coming at 54:31 (unassisted) and 55:02 (assisted Anthony Baskerville).
The Lions were also unable to take advantage of two powerplay chances – including a 2+10 for boarding against Connor Tourish Pike – with the Mustangs defence and again goalie Passmore doing enough to keep the home side at bay. The last goal came with just 1:17 left in the game as Thirkettle (58:43) completed the scoring with an unassisted goal to make it 9-0 to the Mustangs.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions had lost their fourth game on the bounce and are still searching for their first victory of the season. Another frustrating night for the East London side, as they were not able to convert their chances at one end and lost their shape at the back towards the end of the game too. Man of the Match for the Lions was player-coach James Joseph who had a strong evening on the blueline, while Mustangs goalie Matthew Passmore took the award for the visitors.
Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 0-9 Invicta Mustangs
Period Scores: 0-3/0-1/0-5
Shots: Lee Valley Lions 31-83 Invicta Mustangs (10-33/16-14/7-34)
Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley Lions 4-18 Invicta Mustangs
Scorers: Invicta – Aaron Ferris 3+2, Bradley Gutridge 2+0, Tom Dennis 1+1, Luke Thirkettle 1+1, Regan O’Neil 0+2, Thomas Mallett 1+0, Jarvis Mewett 1+0, Anthony Baskerville 0+1
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – Steve Grout (60:00 played, 83 shots/9 goals against)
Invicta – Matthew Passmore (60:00 played, 31 shots/0 goals against)
Man of the Match – James Joseph (Lee Valley), Matthew Passmore (Invicta)
The Lions’ next game is away to the Solent Devils this upcoming Saturday the 13th of October. Faceoff in Gosport will be at 5pm.