Lions Lose Another Tight One in Bracknell

Bracknell Wasps 5-3 Lee Valley Lions (18/01/2020)

The Lee Valley Lions went down their second tight 5-3 defeat in a row on Saturday afternoon, as they narrowly missed out on victory against the Bracknell Wasps.

The Lions had gone down 5-4 in a penalty shootout on the road in Bracknell back in September for what was their only point of the season to date, so were hoping to take their first win of the season against the same opponents – a feat they came close to accomplishing.

Lee Valley were missing goaltender Naomi Healey; defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas, James O’Brien and Tom Baptist; and forwards Joe Berry, Ross Sin-Hidge and Joe Miller for the game in Berkshire. Starting in net was James Andrew.

First Period: The visitors took the lead early in the opening period, as top scorer Jordan Ho – who had missed the previous weekend’s 5-3 home defeat to Streatham – bagged his 16th goal of the season in his 16th game for the Lions. The assist on the goal came from Vinnie Ferrara.

It didn’t take long for the Wasps to equalise however, with James Eldridge making it 1-1 in the ninth minute. And as the home side put the pressure on later in the period, the Lions took two penalties – Robert Cole and Jordan Sullivan sitting two minutes for holding and a late hit respectively – but both the penalties were killed off, meaning that the teams went into the first intermission locked at 1-1.

Second Period: The middle period was cagey to start off with, with both sides unable to create clear-cut chances and mostly cancelling each other out. The Lions did get an opportunity on the powerplay as Wasps forward Craig Cowell sat two minutes for roughing, but couldn’t take advantage of it.

However the Lions did take advantage of their next powerplay – with Wasps captain Liam Poulson in the box for tripping, Lions trio Vinnie Ferrara, Jordan Ho and Jordan Sullivan combined for a well-worked powerplay goal which was finished off by Ferrara.

Once again though, the Lions didn’t keep the lead for long; back to back penalties against Ferrara and Richie Pickering gave the Wasps almost four continuous minutes of powerplay time, with Danny Hughes making the most of it to equalise at 2-2 in the 36th minute. This would also be the score at the end of the second period.

Third Period: The Lions took the lead for the third time in the game at the 1:22 mark of the final period, Robert Cole finishing past Wasps goalie Aaron Burton with assists from James Joseph and Tyrone Wells.

But this lead lasted just 70 seconds, with the Wasps equalising through Hughes who grabbed his second goal of the game. The tide would then turn in the 46th minute when James Eldridge capitalised on a Lions defensive breakdown to score his second of the game, putting his side in the lead for the very first time at 4-3.

The visitors threw everything they had at the Wasps for the remainder of the game as they searched for an equalising goal, but were unable to get that crucial fourth goal. And it was the Wasps who would put the icing on the cake with just under three minutes left, as Joshua Sherrington finished off a quick counter to give the Wasps a 5-3 win.

It was a frustrating game for the Lions, who played well for most of the game and took the lead three times, only to see it slip away into their second 5-3 defeat in six days.

The Lions are back in action at home this coming Sunday 26th January, as they host Peterborough at Lee Valley Ice Centre. Faceoff will be at 17:30.

Lions Suffer Narrow Streatham Defeat

Lee Valley Lions 3-5 Streatham Hawks (12/01/2020)

The Lee Valley Lions went down to a narrow 5-3 home defeat against the Streatham Hawks last Sunday, in their first home game of 2020.

The Lions were missing top goalscorer Jordan Ho for the game, as well as forward Ross Sin-Hidge, defenceman James O’Brien, and netminder James Andrew. Defenceman Tom Baptist made his home debut for the East London side, with Naomi Healey starting in goal.

First Period: The opening period was a close one to start with, as both sides neutralised each other and struggled to create clear goalscoring opportunities. It was the away side who would open the scoring in the ninth minute however, Alec Goldstone putting the Hawks 1-0 up with an unassisted goal.

The hosts fought back though, creating several good chances before Robert Cole equalised in the 15th minute, firing home after good work from Lions forward Joe Berry behind the Streatham net.

The first period would end with the sides locked in a 1-1 tie, and Streatham leading the shots on goal 10-4.

Second Period: The middle period started off with a bang, as Lee Valley’s ex-Streatham forward Harry Sage fought with his former team-mate Daniel Botting; both received 2+2 penalty minutes for fighting.

Streatham would then go 2-1 up in the 28th minute as Goldstone scored his second goal of the night, this time with an assist from Ryan Burgess.

But after Lions forward Tyrone Wells went to the penalty box for delay of game, the home side would surprisingly equalise through Vincenzo Ferrara, who lobbed a speculative effort at the Streatham net from the halfway line only to see it squeeze in past Hawks netminder James Richardson.

There were to be no more goals in the second period, despite both sides getting chances on the powerplay. Lions defenceman Richie Pickering received 2+10 for checking from behind late in the period, meaning he would miss half of the third period; while Lions newcomer Tom Baptist left the game injured in the second period and did not return.

Third Period: The Hawks came out well to start the third period, scoring twice in the first seven minutes through Joseph Tearall and former Lions favourite Gus Zimmerman to take a 4-2 lead, assisted by Burgess and Leo Saoncella.

The hosts created several chances after this though, as they looked to get back into the game and force a positive result. But disaster would strike for the Lions as forwards Harry Sage and Lewis Blore collided in the neutral zone, leaving both down on the ice. The Hawks took advantage of the confusion and scored to make it 5-2, Leo Saoncella getting the goal in the 50th minute with assists from Burgess and Zimmerman.

That fifth goal seemed to put the game to bed, and the Hawks would have been confident of going further ahead shortly afterwards when the Lions had to kill a full two minutes of 5-on-3 time after concurrent penalties for Joe Miller and Tyrone Wells; but the Lions managed to kill off both penalties and just about stay in the game and keep the score at 5-2.

The Lions managed to get the score back to 5-3 with just 1:34 left in the game as Cole got his second goal of the game, assisted Joe Berry and Simon Jones – but there was no time left in the game for any further goals, and the home side slipped to a tight 5-3 defeat as the final buzzer sounded.

Man of the Match for the Lions was forward Harry O’Brien who impressed with his work ethic all game long, while former Lions defenceman Gus Zimmerman took home the award for the Hawks for his one goal and two assists.

The Lions are back in action away from home this coming Saturday 18th January, as they travel to Bracknell to take on the Wasps. Faceoff will be at 15:20.

Lions Bested by Mustangs in First Game of 2020

Invicta Mustangs 7-1 Lee Valley Lions (04/01/2020)

Five weeks after their previous game, the Lee Valley Lions finally returned to action this past weekend as they travelled to Kent to take on an in-form Invicta Mustangs side, in what was both sides’ first match of 2020.

The Mustangs came into this game sitting second in the league, level on points with leaders Haringey, so the Lions knew it would be a tough road game – especially with several key players such as Joe Berry, Jordan Sullivan and Ross Sin-Hidge missing.

Lee Valley handed a debut to former Romford and Chelmsford defenceman Tom Baptist, with James Andrew starting in net.

First Period: The opening ten minutes of the game were tight, with no goals being scored by either side. The Lions went on the powerplay in the 11th minute as Mustangs forward Aaron Ferris went to the box – but rather than capitalising on it, the Lions instead shipped the first goal of the game as Michael Stokes scored short-handed to put the hosts up 1-0.

A couple of fights followed, with both of the O’Brien brothers – James and Harry – involved from the Lee Valley side, as well as Joseph Bliss and Regan O’Neil from the Invicta side.

There would only be one more goal in the opening period, and it went the way of the home side as Daniel Clayton put them 2-0 up heading into the first intermission. The hosts dominated the shots 20-9 in the first period, with Lions netminder James Andrew on good form as he turned away 18 of them.

Second Period: After the Lions successfully killed a minor penalty against James Joseph early in the middle period, the Mustangs struck twice between the 28th and 29th minutes to go 4-0 ahead through Jarvis Mewett and Thomas Mallett – the second of those goals being another short-hander.

But the Lions didn’t let their heads drop, and got on the scoreboard in the 34th minute as Jordan Ho (33:54, assisted Tom Baptist) grabbed his 15th goal of the season in his 15th game to continue his excellent first season for the club, bringing the scoreline back to 4-1. The assist came from Tom Baptist, who grabbed a point on his Lions debut.

However the Lions were not able to grab another in the middle period, and the Mustangs were able to extend their lead to 5-1 with just 1:40 remaining in the period, former Lions defenceman Mewett grabbing his second of the night to put the hosts 5-1 up going into the second break.

Third Period: Despite the fact that the Mustangs were icing a full roster and the Lions were missing several players, the hosts were not able to score any goals for the first 16 minutes of the final period, with James Andrew turning away everything that was thrown at him. It was only in the 57th minute of the game that the Mustangs were able to go 6-1 up through Harry Blake, and Richard Harris would then round out the scoring with just 12 seconds left in the game for a final score of 7-1.

It was a good effort from the Lions in their first game of the calendar year, and should give them hope for the rest of the season to come. Player of the Game for the Lions was James Andrew who stopped 52 of the 59 shots that he faced.

The Lions are next in action on Sunday 12th January, as they welcome the Streatham Hawks to Lee Valley Ice Centre. The game will face off at 17:30.

Lions End 2019 With Road Defeat

Invicta Mustangs 7-2 Lee Valley Lions (30/11/2019)

The Lee Valley Lions travelled to Kent for their final fixture of the calendar year 2019, to take on a high-flying Invicta Mustangs outfit which had won nine games on the bounce coming into this one.

The Lions were missing a host of first team regulars for the game. Defencemen Daniel Tamasauskas, Oscar Kally and Richie Pickering; forwards Joe Berry, Ross Sin-Hidge, Jordan Sullivan and Vincenzo Ferrara; and netminder Naomi Healey were all unable to make the trip, leaving the Lions with 13 skaters plus netminder James Andrew.

First Period: The home side came out with a lot of confidence in the opening period and dominated possession, but Lions goalie James Andrew was on top form and made a number of great saves to keep the game goalless up until the 16 minute mark.

It was in the 17th minute that the Mustangs finally got on the board with a quickfire double, as Regan O’Neil and Joseph Bliss scored within 23 seconds of each other to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

There was to be no further scoring in the first period, with the Mustangs dominating the shots 21-6 against the short-benched Lions, but only managing to score twice thanks to Andrew’s heroics.

Second Period: The Lions came out well to start the second period – in a stark contrast to both of their games last weekend – and halved the deficit to 2-1 just ten seconds in. It was 18-year-old forward Charlie Nichols who grabbed the goal for the Lions, scoring his first goal for the club after moving across from Romford juniors in the summer.

There was barely time to breathe before the Mustangs scored again to make it 3-1 however, with Anthony Baskerville restoring the home side’s two-goal cushion. This advantage was then stretched to 4-1 in the 27th minute as Daniel Clayton got in on the goal-scoring action.

The Lions didn’t let their heads drop though, and got the scoreline back to 4-2 in the 33rd minute as Robert Cole scored a powerplay goal, with an assist from Jordan Ho. It was Cole’s fifth goal for the club in just his seventh game, as he continues to show goalscoring prowess in front of net.

There was to be just one more goal in the middle period and it went the Mustangs’ way, Baskerville grabbing his second of the night in the final minute of the period. Once again the home side dominated the shots, putting 29 shots on James Andrew in the period – with the Lions netminder once again proving to be on fine form as he made 26 saves to keep the score at 5-2.

Third Period: It wouldn’t have been a surprise if the short-benched Lions struggled in the last period, but they put in a strong defensive performance – once again led by Andrew between the pipes – to keep the scoreline fairly tight right to the end.

It took ten minutes of the period before the Mustangs could score again, when Richard Harris made it 6-2; and it was not until the 55th minute that Invicta wrapped up the scoring as Michael Stokes made it 7-2.

There were quite a few penalties towards the end of the game, with the Lions getting several powerplay chances; but the weary visitors were unable to take advantage, and as the final buzzer sounded on the calendar year 2019, they went down 7-2 in Kent.

Man of the Match for the Lions was goalscorer Cole, while netminder Andrew deserves special credit for stopping 62 of the 69 shots that he faced.

The Lions now have an extended five-week break, before facing off against the same opponents away from home on Saturday 4th January 2020. Faceoff at Planet Ice Gillingham for that game will be at 17:15.

Double-Header Weekend to Forget for the Lions

Last weekend was one to forget for the Lee Valley Lions. They lost 7-2 on the road to the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms thanks to one poor period of hockey, before a very disappointing 0-10 home defeat to the Bracknell Wasps the next day. Their wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Saturday – Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms 7-2 Lee Valley Lions (23/11/2019)

Having lost 7-2 at home to the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms the previous Sunday, the Lions were out for revenge just six days later in an away fixture. The East London side were missing forwards Leonie Charles, Robert Cole and Joe Berry for the game, as well as defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas. Getting the start in goal was James Andrew.

First Period: The opening period was a tight one, with both teams having chances but no goals being scored until the tenth minute. It was the Phantoms who broke the deadlock at the 9:50 mark as Polish forward Michal Magiera, who had scored a hat-trick against the Lions the previous week, picked up where he left off and bagged a powerplay goal.

But that didn’t deter the Lions, and they were back on level terms less than three minutes later as Tyrone Wells (12:30) scored his first goal in a Lions jersey to tie the scores at one apiece, with the assist coming from Jordan Ho.

And it was the Lions who finished the first period on a high, scoring in the 18th minute to go 2-1 up. The goal came from Jordan Sullivan (17:32), the former Lee Valley junior forward finally scoring his first goal for the senior side in his 30th game for the club. The assist came from Richie Pickering.

Second Period: After having played such an impressive first period, it all unravelled for the Lions in the middle frame as Peterborough scored five unanswered goals to go 6-2 up by the intermission. The goals for the Phantoms came from Kieran Raynor, Ryan Winters, and a hat-trick from former Lee Valley forward Bailey Wootton.

Third Period: The Lions recovered well in the third period, playing well despite the scoreline being against them and putting Phantoms netminder Luke Clark under pressure with several chances.

But it was the Phantoms who scored the only goal of the final period, Taylor Romeo grabbing a powerplay goal to wrap up the scoring. The game finished 7-2 to Peterborough, with the Lions rueing the poor middle period that they had lost 5-0, which really killed the game off as a contest.

Sunday – Lee Valley Lions 0-10 Bracknell Wasps (24/11/2019)

The Lions returned to action less than 24 hours later at home, as they welcomed the Bracknell Wasps to Lee Valley Ice Centre. When the two sides last met in September in Bracknell, it was a thrilling game that the Lions lost on penalty shots after 65 minutes of action couldn’t separate the sides.

The home side were missing Ross Sin-Hidge and Oscar Kally, who both picked up injuries the previous evening in Peterborough, as well as Leonie Charles and Joe Berry for the clash with the Wasps.

First Period: The Lions came out well in the opening period, peppering young Wasps netminder Rory Edwards with a number of dangerous shots – but they were unable to find the target.

At the other end, the Wasps scored a powerplay goal through player-coach Danny Hughes, followed by a goal just 28 seconds later through Brandon Martin-Digby, to go 2-0 up in the 13th minute.

And despite out-shooting the Wasps 18-9 in the first period, it was the Lions who went into the first intermission trailing by two goals.

Second Period: The middle period of this game was a carbon copy of the previous night’s effort, as the Lions again conceded five unanswered goals to kill off the game as a contest.

The Wasps got goals from Hughes, Scott Anda, Mark Austen, Casey Wilson and Bailey Hind-Pitcher, while some impressive saves from Lions netminder James Andrew prevented the scoreline from getting even uglier.

The home side did have their chances, getting ten shots on Wasps goalie Edwards, but again they were unable to put any pucks past the 17-year-old netminder and went into the second intermission trailing 0-7.

Third Period: The home side came out with more energy for the third period, putting a lot more shots on the Wasps net and looking a lot more dangerous. But nothing was coming off for them, and they remained scoreless.

Meanwhile the Wasps added three more goals to reach double figures, with Hughes scoring two more goals to reach his hat-trick and Hind-Pitcher grabbing his second.

Naomi Healey, who relieved James Andrew in the Lions net at the start of the third period, made some good saves in the closing stages, as did Edwards in the Wasps net as he managed to secure a shutout.

Tensions boiled over towards the end, with Lions forward Lewis Blore involved in two separate tussles; first with Brandon Martin-Digby, for which both players sat two penalty minutes, and then with Scott Anda, for which Blore was tossed from the game late on. Lions forward Jordan Sullivan also suffered a nose injury late in the game and didn’t return.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions had gone down to a very disappointing 0-10 home defeat, as their wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Vincenzo Ferrara took home the Player of the Game award for the Lions after a hard-working game, with shutout hero Rory Edwards taking home the same award for the visitors.

The Lions complete their fixtures for the calendar year 2019 this upcoming Saturday 30th November, as they face the in-form Invicta Mustangs in league action away from home. Faceoff in Kent will be at 17:15.