Decimated Lions Defeated in Bracknell

The Lee Valley Lions suffered another defeat on Saturday night, with a severely short-benched side going down 10-1 to the Bracknell Hornets.

With over half of the roster unavailable to play the game, the Lions were left with just 10 skaters – giving them only two lines each of forwards and defence. The Hornets, meanwhile, were able to ice an almost full roster of 19 skaters.

First Period: Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Lions played a very strong opening period; they showed good defensive discipline in preventing the Hornets from scoring in the early stages. Steve Grout in the Lions goal also came up with some big saves to keep the scores level.

Tempers then flared in the seventh minute, as Lions defenceman James O’Brien and Hornets forward Ben Ealey-Newman dropped the gloves and had a fight. Both players received four penalty minutes for fighting.

It would take until the 16th minute for the home side to score, and it was Ealey-Newman himself who grabbed the goal to put the Hornets 1-0 up. The score would remain that way until the first intermission, with the home side out-shooting the Lions 23-6.

Second Period: The middle period would turn out to be a disastrous one for the Lions. As their short bench started to tire, they took more and more penalties – which the Hornets duly punished, scoring eight unanswered goals between the 24th and 40th minutes. Danny Hughes (three goals), Josh Ealey-Newman, Ben Ealey-Newman, Adam Bicknell, Connor Hutchison and Luke Jackson did the damage for the home side, with three of those goals coming on the powerplay.

The second period would finish 9-0 to the hosts, with a shot difference of 23-3 in favour of Bracknell in the middle frame.

Third Period: The Lions then seemed to find a second wind in the final period, again putting in a disciplined defensive performance and also getting good goaltending from James Andrew, who had come into net in relief of Steve Grout after the seventh Hornets goal.

And it was the East London side who scored next to cut the deficit to 9-1, as Gus Zimmerman buried past Hornets netminder Rory Edwards. Assists came from player-coach James Joseph and captain Simon Jones.

Impressively, the Lions only conceded one goal in the whole of the third period, as Ben Ealey-Newman netted to complete his hat-trick in the 54th minute and make it 10-1. Despite the short bench, the Lions managed to hold on until the end of the game, drawing the final period 1-1 despite a shot disadvantage of 16-5.

It was a performance to be proud of for the Lions players who were able to make the fixture, as they played very well in both the first and third periods, only losing their way for 16 mad minutes in the middle period. Man of the Match for the Lions was goalscorer Gus Zimmerman.

The Lions return home to Lee Valley Ice Centre this upcoming Saturday 9th March as they welcome league leaders Slough to the Den. Faceoff will be at 17:30.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Bracknell Hornets 10-1 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 1-0/8-0/1-1

Shots: Bracknell 62-14 Lee Valley (23-6/23-3/16-5)

Penalty Minutes: Bracknell 18-32 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Bracknell – Danny Hughes 3+0, Ben Ealey-Newman 3+0, Adam Bicknell 1+2, Matt Jordan 0+3, Josh Ealey-Newman 1+1, William Stead 0+2, Conor Sheehan 0+2, Riley Ikin 0+2, Jakub Fojtik 0+2, Luke Jackson 1+0, Connor Hutchison 1+0
Lee Valley – Gus Zimmerman 1+0, Simon Jones 0+1, James Joseph 0+1

Goaltenders: Bracknell – Rory Edwards (60:00 played, 14 shots/1 goal against)
Lee Valley – Steve Grout (32:15 played, 39 shots/7 goals against); James Andrew (27:45 played, 23 shots/3 goals against)

Man of the Match – Gus Zimmerman (Lee Valley), Danny Hughes (Bracknell)



Injury-Hit Lions Downed by Clinical Phantoms

The Lee Valley Lions suffered a heavy road defeat in Peterborough, as they went down 10-0 to the Phantoms on Sunday night.

The Lions were missing several first-team regulars, including Joe Berry and Conner Smith who both picked up injuries in the previous week’s defeat to Invicta. This left the Lions with just 14 skaters, while the Phantoms were able to ice 17 skaters including former Lions captain Nick Alley.

First Period: It was the Phantoms who made the best start, with Alley scoring in the seventh minute to put them 1-0 up. It then took less than two minutes for the next goal to arrive, as Shaun Yardley made it 2-0 to the hosts.

The Lions then held firm for a while, before conceding the third goal in the 18th minute; Alley getting his second of the evening. This put the Lions 3-0 down going into the first intermission.

Second Period: The middle period was disrupted by a number of penalties, with the Lions getting several powerplay opportunities but being unable to convert these. The Phantoms then extended their lead in the 28th minute mark, as Alley – who had swapped Lee Valley for Peterborough last summer – completed his hat-trick.

Things got worse for the Lions with just a minute and a half remaining in the second period, as they went 5-0 down courtesy of Clint Herring. This is how the score would remain going into the second intermission.

Third Period: The Lions then had a powerplay chance to start the final period, and over-committed as they tried to break Peterborough netminder Dan Lane’s shutout – this allowed the Phantoms to counter and go 6-0 up with a shorthanded goal by Herring.

The lead for the home side then became 7-0 just a minute and a half later, as Conor Pollard killed the game off as a contest once and for all with a goal in the 43rd minute.

As the Lions started to tire in the later stages of the game, the Phantoms were relentless as they added three further goals to bump the score up to 10-0; Jake Samal and Craig Ellis each got on the scoresheet while Alley grabbed his fourth of the night, with Lions goaltender James Andrew powerless to stop the late onslaught.

Things got heated later in the game when Clint Herring of the Phantoms received a 2+10 penalty for boarding, which led to a fight between Lee Valley’s Yasin Sridhar and Peterborough’s Shaun Yardley – both combatants receiving four penalty minutes for roughing.

The final buzzer sounded with the Phantoms taking a comfortable 10-0 win against a short-benched Lions side. Man of the Match for the Lions was Ben Gillingham, while unsurprisingly it was four-goal man Alley who took home the award for the Phantoms.

The Lions hit the road again this upcoming Saturday 2nd March, as they take on the Bracknell Hornets. Faceoff in Bracknell will be at 18:00.

GAME STATS*
*Please note, some stats vary from those on the official game sheet

Final Score: Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms 10-0 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 3-0/2-0/5-0

Shots: Peterborough 51-27 Lee Valley (21-8/13-12/17-7)

Penalty Minutes: Peterborough 40-18 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Peterborough – Conor Pollard 1+4, Nick Alley 4+0, Clint Herring 2+1, Craig Ellis 1+1, Shaun Yardley 1+1, Jake Samal 1+1, Callum Worthington-Evans 0+1, Robert McDonald 0+1, Bernard Bradford 0+1, Kenny Bavin 0+1, Jordan Liddell 0+1, Jon Binder 0+1, Connor Hunter 0+1, James Pentecost 0+1

Goaltenders: Peterborough – Dan Lane (41:04 played, 21 shots/0 goals against); Jack Peacock (18:56 played, 6 shots/0 goals against)
Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 51 shots/10 goals against)

Man of the Match – Ben Gillingham (Lee Valley), Nick Alley (Peterborough)



Lions Fall to Mustangs Road Defeat

The Lee Valley Lions fell to a 6-3 away defeat against the Invicta Mustangs on Saturday, having trailed by just a single goal going into the final period.

Goals from Joe Berry, Gus Zimmerman and Simon Jones weren’t quite enough for the East London side, who were missing top scorer Tom Hnilica for the tricky trip to Kent.

First Period – The Lions made the better start to the game, as Berry (17:27, assisted Zimmerman) scored his eighth goal of the season in the 18th minute to put the visitors 1-0 up.

But the Mustangs hit back, beating Lions goaltender Steve Grout twice within the next 65 seconds of the game as first Joseph Bliss (18:06, assisted Thomas Dennis) and then Harry Blake (18:32, assisted Bliss) put the hosts 2-1 up.

This was to be the score at the end of the first period, with the Mustangs outshooting the Lions 20-6.

Second Period – The Mustangs then extended their advantage to 3-1 in the 24th minute, as Blake (24:00, assisted Anthony Baskerville) scored his second goal of the game.

But the Lions roared back as Zimmerman (28:51) cut the deficit to 3-2 in the 29th minute, with the assists coming from Elvis Timofejevs – the Latvian defenceman getting his first point in a Lions jersey – and Joe Miller.

There was to be no more scoring in the second period, with the Lions trailing 3-2 going into the final frame having been outshot 12-7 in the period.

Third Period – Unfortunately for the Lions, it was the Mustangs who got on the scoreboard first in the final period as 16-year-old Gregor Mcallan (43:10, assisted Bliss) put them 4-2 up in the 44th minute. And things got worse for the Lions in the 48th minute as Bliss (48:00, assisted Michael Stokes) got his second goal of the game, giving the home side a 5-2 lead.

Mustangs forward Blake (52:22, assisted Dennis) then completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute to give the Mustangs a seemingly unassailable 6-2 advantage.

But the Lions still had some fight left in them, and cut the deficit to 6-3 just 21 seconds later as Simon Jones (52:43, assisted Michael Jacobs) scored his second goal of the season.

The Lions then looked to attack in the closing stages and try to get some more goals on the board, but were unable to get any more pucks past Mustangs netminder Matthew Passmore.

And things got heated with just 65 seconds left to go in the game, as Lions defenceman Dexter Crawford was tossed from the match for kneeing after a hit on Mustangs youngster Mcallan. Crawford and Mustangs’ Connor Pike then dropped the gloves and were handed four penalty minutes each for roughing.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions went down to a 6-3 road defeat to the Mustangs – a frustrating scoreline considering the East London side were only 3-2 down in the 44th minute.

Man of the Match for the Lions was Gus Zimmerman, who impressed with a goal and an assist; while Mustangs youngster Harry Blake took home the award for his side after scoring a hat-trick.

The Lions are next in action next Sunday 24th February, as they hit the road again to take on Peterborough. Faceoff at Planet Ice Peterborough will be at 5:30pm.

GAME STATS

Final Score: Invicta Mustangs 6-3 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 2-1/1-1/3-1

Shots: Invicta 52-20 Lee Valley (20-6/12-7/20-7)

Penalty Minutes: Invicta 8-31 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Invicta – Joseph Bliss 2+2, Harry Blake 3+0, Thomas Dennis 0+2, Gregor Mcallan 1+0, Michael Stokes 0+1, Anthony Baskerville 0+1
Lee Valley – Gus Zimmerman 1+1, Joe Berry 1+0, Simon Jones 1+0, Joe Miller 0+1, Elvis Timofejevs 0+1, Michael Jacobs 0+1

Goaltenders: Invicta – Matthew Passmore (60:00 played, 20 shots/3 goals against)
Lee Valley – Steve Grout (60:00 played, 52 shots/6 goals against)

Man of the Match – Gus Zimmerman (Lee Valley), Harry Blake (Invicta)

Lions Edged out by Buffalo in 11 Goal Thriller

The Lee Valley Lions suffered defeat by the odd goal in 11 on Saturday night, as they went down 5-6 at home to the Basingstoke Buffalo.

Goals from Joe Berry, Tom Hnilica, Alex Clarke, Michael Jacobs and Joe Miller – the 17-year-old scoring his first goal for the club – weren’t enough, as the Lions couldn’t quite recover from a slow start in which they went 1-5 down at the midway point of the game.

Both sides iced 18 skaters for the game; with the Lions starting with James Andrew in net, and the Buffalo handing a start to 18-year-old Ethan Frain between the pipes.

First Period: The game started well for the Lions as they went 1-0 up, Joe Berry (7:03, assisted Tom Hnilica) scoring his seventh goal of the season after a lovely pass across the face of goal from Czech forward Hnilica.

The Buffalo hit back in the 12th minute with a goal from Oscar Evans (11:26, unassisted) to tie the scores, before the Lions hit penalty trouble. The Buffalo went 2-1 up with a powerplay goal through Jack Peacock (14:20, assisted Samuel Compton), before another powerplay allowed the Buffalo to extend their lead to 3-1 as Cameron Buckle (19:38, assisted Warren Jones and Samuel Brooks) put the puck home.

There was to be no more scoring on the period, with the Buffalo narrowly outshooting the Lions 13-11.

Second Period: The middle frame was dominated by the Buffalo in the early stages, as they peppered Lions goaltender James Andrew with shot after shot. He made some great saves to keep the score low, but was eventually beaten in the 26th minute as Samuel Brooks (25:40, assisted Buckle and Jones) made it 4-1 for the Buffalo with a bizarre goal that deceived Andrew.

And the Buffalo didn’t let up there, as they continued to attack and were rewarded with another goal in the 28th minute as Buckle (27:55, assisted Brooks and Jones) grabbed a shorthanded goal on the counter-attack – Andrew made a great save on the initial shot, but could do nothing about the rebound which Buckle tucked home for his second goal of the game.

This fifth goal seemed to jolt the Lions into life, as they started creating more chances towards the end of the second period, and were rewarded with just four seconds to go until the intermission as Hnilica (39:56, assisted Berry) scored his 16th goal of the season, assisted by Berry, as the two forwards once again showed great chemistry. This goal reduced the deficit to 2-5 at the second intermission, the Buffalo having outshot the Lions 22-13 during the period.

Third Period: The Lions then started the third period well, getting the score back to 4-5 in the first ten minutes of the period as Alex Clarke (41:05, assisted Berry and James Joseph) and Michael Jacobs (49:47, assisted Conner Smith and Joseph) both scored powerplay goals to set up a tense final ten minutes.

The Buffalo then extended their lead to 6-4 with a goal from Brooks (51:50, assisted Jones), but the Lions came storming back to cut that lead to 6-5 just a few minutes later as 17-year-old forward Joe Miller (55:51, assisted Dexter Crawford) scored his first goal in a Lions jersey with just over five minutes left in the game.

The Lions then spent the last few minutes of the game throwing shot after shot on the Buffalo net as they looked for an equaliser, even pulling goaltender James Andrew towards the end and replacing him with an extra attacker. But young Buffalo goalie Ethan Frain stood tall in the visitors’ net, and the Buffalo held on to a tense 6-5 victory on the road.

Both goaltenders – Andrew for the Lions and Frain for the Buffalo – were deservedly awarded Man of the Match for their respective teams after strong performances in net.

The Lions now hit the road over the next three weekends, with their next home game not coming until the 9th of March.

They are next in action this Saturday 16th February, as they travel to Kent to take on the Invicta Mustangs. Faceoff at Planet Ice Gillingham will be at 17:30.

GAME STATS*
*Please note, some stats vary from those on the official game sheet

Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 5-6 Basingstoke Buffalo

Period Scores: 1-3/1-2/3-1

Shots: Lee Valley 50-47 Basingstoke (11-13/13-22/26-12)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley 14-14 Basingstoke

Scorers: Lee Valley – Joe Berry 1+2, Tom Hnilica 1+1, James Joseph 0+2, Joe Miller 1+0, Alex Clarke 1+0, Michael Jacobs 1+0, Conner Smith 0+1, Dexter Crawford 0+1
Basingstoke – Samuel Brooks 2+2, Warren Jones 0+4, Cameron Buckle 2+1, Jack Peacock 1+0, Oscar Evans 1+0, Samuel Compton 0+1

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew (59:03 played, 47 shots/6 goals against)
Basingstoke – Ethan Frain (60:00 played, 50 shots/5 goals against)

Man of the Match – James Andrew (Lee Valley), Ethan Frain (Basingstoke)

Tom Hnilica shoots at goal during the Lions’ narrow defeat to Basingstoke (Photo: Jason Newman)

Lions Suffer Disappointing Defeat as Wildcats Get Revenge

Swindon look on as Connor Smith shoots on target (photo © John H Lee)

The Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats got revenge for their defeat to the Lee Valley Lions the previous weekend, as they won 12-3 in East London in Saturday’s return game.

The Wildcats welcomed back several players who had missed the previous weekend’s game, while the Lions were missing a few players including Joshua Irish, Ben Gillingham and Joe Berry – who had combined for two goals and four assists in the Lions’ first win of the season.

First Period: The opening stages of the game were disastrous for the Lions, as they fell 0-3 behind within seven minutes with Jason Warren, Eliot Randall and Jack Goodchild all netting for the Wildcats. The scoreline then became 4-0 in the 17th minute as Joseph Llewellyn also scored for Swindon.

This prompted a change of goaltenders for the Lions, with Steve Grout – who had kept a shutout in the previous weekend’s win against the Wildcats – coming into net in place of James Andrew, who had started this game. However, Grout was powerless to stop the Wildcats scoring twice more to take a shocking 6-0 lead into the first break – further goals coming from Eliot Randall and Mason Lipsey. This despite the Lions outshooting the Wildcats 15-12 in the opening frame

Second Period: The middle period was a lot closer, with just the one goal being scored – but unfortunately for the Lions, it was Swindon’s seventh of the evening as Reed Sayers got on the scoresheet for the away side to make it 7-0.

Both sides created numerous chances in the period, with Swindon having 18 shots and the Lions putting 16 pucks on Tyler Perre in the Wildcats net – but Sayers’ marker was to be the only goal of the second period.

Third Period: The final period started horribly for the Lions as they conceded twice within the first 26 seconds to go 9-0 down, goals coming through Jason Warren and Jake Williams.

This seemed to finally wake the Lions up, and they had a mini-revival between the 43rd and 47th minutes – scoring three goals to reduce the deficit to 9-3. Firstly, good build-up play from Gus Zimmerman led to a shorthanded goal by Tom Hnilica (42:42, assisted Zimmerman); then Alex Clarke (45:25, assisted Yasin Sridhar and Dexter Crawford) scored his second goal in as many games after good work in front of the net by Sridhar; and finally Michael Jacobs (46:14, assisted Zimmerman and Hnilica) scored with a shot that took a deflection off a Wildcats player, although the goal was credited to Zimmerman on the gamesheet.

However, Swindon made it 10-3 soon after through Harry Llewellyn, and Reed Sayers then increased Swindon’s lead to 11-3 just over half a minute later. This prompted a second goaltending change of the evening for the Lions, with Andrew returning to the net in relief of Grout.

There was just one more goal in the remaining 12 minutes of the game, and it was Swindon who had the last laugh as they made it 12-3 in the 58th minute, Eliot Randall sealing his hat-trick.

It was a night to forget for the Lions, as they were soundly beaten by the Wildcats who now sit three points ahead of them in the league table.

The Lions must now regroup to host the Basingstoke Buffalo this upcoming Saturday 9th February – faceoff at Lee Valley Ice Centre will be at 17:30.

GAME STATS*
*Please note, some stats vary from those on the official game sheet

Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 3-12 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Period Scores: 0-6/0-1/3-5

Shots: Lee Valley 59-42 Swindon (15-12/16-18/28-12)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley 34-6 Swindon

Scorers: Lee Valley – Tom Hnilica 1+1, Gus Zimmerman 0+2, Alex Clarke 1+0, Michael Jacobs 1+0, Dexter Crawford 0+1, Yasin Sridhar 0+1
Swindon – Eliot Randall 3+0, Reed Sayers 2+1, Jack Goodchild 1+2, Jason Warren 2+0, Mason Lipsey 1+1, Jake Williams 1+1, Joseph Llewellyn 1+1, Harry Llewellyn 1+1, Ethan Mayoh 0+1, William Harding 0+1

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew (27:43 played, 16 shots/5 goals against); Steve Grout (32:17 played, 26 shots/7 goals against)
Swindon – Tyler Perre (60:00 played, 59 shots/3 goals against)

Man of the Match – Tom Hnilica (Lee Valley), Eliot Randall (Swindon)