Lions Season Ends With Heated Defeat

Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms 6-1 Lee Valley Lions (14/03/2020)

The Lee Valley Lions travelled to Peterborough on Saturday 14th March for what was expected to be their penultimate game of the season. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it ultimately turned out to be their last game of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Lions were low on numbers for the trip to Peterborough, as defencemen Thomas Baptist, Simon Jones and Richie Pickering were missing, as well as forwards Leonie Charles, Joe Berry, Robert Cole, Jordan Sullivan and Vinny Ferrara.

Naomi Healey got the start in net ahead of James Andrew, who was backing up.

First Period: The hosts got off to a perfect start as Polish forward Michal Magiera made it 1-0 to the Phantoms with just 55 seconds gone in the game. And Magiera would go on to score two more goals in the opening ten minutes to seal a rather quick hat-trick – the last of his three goals coming exactly at the 10:00 mark to put the Phantoms 3-0 up midway through the period. That third goal was also a short-handed goal, with Peterborough’s Kieran Raynor sitting two minutes for interference.

The home side added a fourth goal in the 18th minute as Shaun Yardley scored a powerplay marker; but the Lions got back into the game with just 18 seconds left in the period through a powerplay goal of their own. It was Hong Kong international forward Jordan Ho (19:42, assisted Daniel Tamasauskas) who scored his 18th goal of the season, getting the deficit back to 4-1 at the end of the first period.

Second Period: The Phantoms went 5-1 up early in the second period through Kieran Raynor, putting the puck past James Andrew – who had replaced Naomi Healey in the Lions net in the first intermission – with 1:25 gone in the period.

There were to be no more goals in the middle period though, as Andrew made 18 saves and his opposite number Luke Clark made nine to keep the scoreline at 5-1.

However, after the officials had already handed out 34 penalty minutes in the first period including two 10-minute misconducts, the tension rose further in the game during the second period as a further 28 penalty minutes were handed out, including two further 10-minute misconducts – this was a sign of what was to come in the final period.

Third Period: There was to be only one goal in the third period as well, with Phantoms captain Kenny Bavin grabbing a powerplay goal to put his side 6-1 up. James Andrew stopped the Phantoms’ other 12 shots in the period, while Phantoms goalie Luke Clark had 19 saves to make as the Lions peppered the home net with shot after shot.

But it was the penalty minutes, rather than the goals, that continued to rise as the game wore on. In the first 17 minutes of the last period, there were a further 30 penalty minutes handed out, including incitement and fighting penalties against Peterborough’s Jack Sansby, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Lee Valley’s Harry Sage.

The game had already been heated, and things escalated completely in the 57th minute when an incident involving players from both teams led to the game being abandoned. Over 300 penalty minutes were handed out by the officials for the incident – 286 of them to the Phantoms and 28 to the Lions – as the game finished with Peterborough winning by a 6-1 scoreline.

Sadly with the news from the EIHA that all hockey until the end of May has been cancelled, this game brought the curtain down on the Lions’ 2019-20 season, with next weekend’s planned season finale against Streatham now not going ahead.

The Lee Valley Lions would like to thank everyone associated with the team for their efforts and support this season – see you all next season!

EIHA Statement: Board meeting confirms competitive hockey cancelled through May 31

Ice Hockey UK, English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) and Scottish Ice Hockey (SIH) have met to confirm all competitive activity sanctioned by the EIHA and SIH up to and including 31st May 2020 is cancelled from Tuesday 17th March 2020 with a further statement on 1st May 2020 for all competitive activities after 31st May 2020.

All leagues operated by the EIHA and SIH will be amended over the next 48 hours to complete standings for the 2019/20 season.

Training may continue subject to current government advice. Internal communications will be sent in due course to clubs.

More information will follow regarding those who have purchased tickets to end-of-season events.

This means that the Lee Valley Lions’ planned last game of the season, away to the Streatham Hawks on March 21st, will now not go ahead.

Narrow Road Defeat Ends Lions Cup Season

Bristol Pitbulls 4-2 Lee Valley Lions (NIHL South 2 Cup – 07/03/2020)

The Lee Valley Lions ended their NIHL South 2 Cup campaign on the road last Saturday, as they travelled to Oxford to take on the Bristol Pitbulls. It would prove to be a frustratingly tight defeat for the East London side.

The Lions were missing a host of players for the game; with forwards Leonie Charles, Robert Cole, Joe Berry, Lewis Blore, Charlie Nichols, Joe Miller and Ben Margerison all unavailable, as well as defencemen James Joseph, Richie Pickering and Tom Baptist. Getting the start in net for the Lions was James Andrew.

First Period: The opening period was a close one in terms of shots on goal, with the Lions out-shooting the Pitbulls 13-12. But it was Bristol who opened the scoring in the seventh minute, as Zachary Dolphin grabbed the opening goal of the game.

There was to be no more scoring action until right at the end of the period. Bristol’s Jordan Jefferies and Lions duo Tyrone Wells and Harry Sage all went to the penalty box with just five seconds left before the interval, giving the Pitbulls a powerplay. They converted this with a goal right at the buzzer to go 2-0 up, with Zachary Dolphin getting his second of the night.

Second Period: The Pitbulls dominated the shot count in the second period, but found Lions netminder James Andrew on top form as he turned away almost everything he faced.

It was the visitors who scored the first goal of the middle period, as Rowan Champney (35:16, assisted Ross Sin-Hidge and Simon Jones) grabbed a powerplay goal in the 36th minute with Pitbulls’ Liam O’Connell in the penalty box for roughing.

Unfortunately for the Lions, the Pitbulls fired back with two quick goals of their own to go 4-1 up heading into the second intermission. Firstly it was Giovanni Raffaelli who scored just 43 seconds after the Lions’ opening goal; and then it was the other Dolphin, Joshua, who made it 4-1 just 42 seconds later.

Third Period: The final period was a quiet one in terms of shots and goal, with the Lions scoring the only goal of the period through Jordan Sullivan (48:40, assisted Jordan Ho and Daniel Tamasauskas).

The Lions had two powerplay opportunities in the period but couldn’t make them count, as the Pitbulls held onto their lead right up until the final buzzer to end the Cup campaign for both sides.

The final score was 4-2 to Bristol, with the Pitbulls topping the shots 41-26. Man of the Match for the Lions was netminder James Andrew for his 37 saves.

The Lions have two more league games to come this season, the first of which is in Peterborough this upcoming Saturday 14th March against the Phantoms. Faceoff will be at 7pm.

Double Defeat for Lions

It was another difficult weekend for the Lee Valley Lions last time out as they slipped to two more defeats; firstly on the road to league leaders Haringey, and then at home 24 hours later against Bracknell.

Saturday 29/02/2020 – Haringey Huskies 11-1 Lee Valley Lions

The Lions were missing forwards Robert Cole, Joe Berry, Lewis Blore and Charlie Nichols for Saturday’s trip to Alexandra Palace, as well as defencemen Richie Pickering, Daniel Tamasauskas, Tom Baptist and Oscar Kally. Starting in net for the Lions was James Andrew, while Harry Sage – usually a forward – would play on defence for this game.

First Period: The high-flying Huskies started the game off well, with import defenceman Gheorghe Dragomir scoring the opening goal of the game just two and a half minutes in. But both the Lions defence, and netminder James Andrew, stood firm for the next 14 minutes to keep the deficit at 1-0.

The Huskies did manage to score two more goals before the opening period ended though; firstly former Lions captain James Hepburn, and then Dragomir with his second of the game, put the Huskies 3-0 up after the first period, having outshot the Lions 15-5.

Second Period: It was the visiting Lions who scored first in the middle period as Harry O’Brien (23:43, assisted Vinny Ferrara and Simon Jones) slot the puck past Huskies netminder Ruth Cattell – another former Lions player – after good build-up play from Ferrara and Jones. It was a first goal in Lions colours for the younger of the O’Brien brothers.

The Huskies fired back, however, scoring three goals to lead 6-1 at the midway point of the game; those goals came through James Pentecost and two from captain Stephen Woodford (one of those on the powerplay).

The Lions swapped netminders at this point, with Naomi Healey replacing Andrew between the pipes, but she couldn’t stop the Huskies putting up two more goals to go into the second break 8-1 up; this time the goals came through Luke Martin-Digby and yet another former Lions player Gus Zimmerman.

Third Period: The Lions’ tiredness and low numbers on defence were showing by the third period, and they were unable to muster much in the way of dangerous offence, while the Huskies scored twice more through former Lions captain Nick Alley, and Dragomir who completed a hat-trick, to lead 10-1.

The last ten minutes of the game were rather quiet scoring-wise, but there was a fight between Haringey’s Martin-Digby and the Lions’ Sage in the closing stages.

Martin-Digby received 2+2+2 for the fight, while Sage received 2+2; but instead of taking advantage of the resulting powerplay, the Lions instead gave the puck away to Woodford, who scored a shorthanded goal to complete his own hat-trick and give the Huskies an 11-1 win.

Man of the Match for the Lions was Harry O’Brien, as the 18-year-old was rewarded for scoring his first goal for the club.

Sunday 01/03/2020 – Lee Valley Lions 4-8 Bracknell Wasps

The Lions hoped for a better result 24 hours later at Lee Valley Ice Centre, as they welcomed a Bracknell side against whom they had suffered two tight away losses this season, as well as one heavy home loss.

The home side were able to ice a full roster of 20 skaters, with only Oscar Kally, Joe Berry and Robert Cole missing out. James Andrew once again started in goal.

First Period: The opening period was a tight one, with both sides pushing for goals but netminders James Andrew (Lions) and Rory Edwards (Bracknell) making some strong saves to keep the scoreline goalless.

The Lions successfully killed minor penalties against Tyrone Wells and Harry Sage, while the Wasps also killed a penalty of their own – meaning both sides went into the first intermission locked in a 0-0 deadlock. The hosts narrowly edged the shots 10-9 in the period.

Second Period: The middle period got off to a bad start for the hosts, as first Wasps player-coach Danny Hughes and then Ben Edwards scored to give the visitors a 2-0 lead in the 27th minute.

The Lions were not perturbed by this though, and got back into the game through a lovely finish at the back post by Joseph Gibson (28:55, assisted Rowan Champney) following a slick pass from Rowan Champney. It was former Streatham defenceman Gibson’s first goal for the East London club.

The scoreline was then 2-2 in the 33rd minute as Ross Sin-Hidge (32:12, assisted Jordan Ho and Daniel Tamasauskas) scored on the powerplay. It was Sin-Hidge’s first goal since November, having only returned to action the previous night against Haringey after missing nine games through injury.

Things all went a bit wrong for the Lions in the next three minutes though, as they shipped three goals through Ben Edwards (x2) and James Eldridge to give the Wasps a 5-2 lead.

There was time for one more Lions goal before the break though, and it was Jordan Ho (37:39, assisted Sin-Hidge) who scored his 17th goal of the season to bring the deficit back to 5-3 heading into the final period.

Third Period: And the last period would start out very well for the Lions as Sin-Hidge (41:04) scored an unassisted goal just 1:04 after the break, his second marker of the game bringing the deficit back to 4-5 and giving the Lions hope that they could come back.

Sadly for the home side – those hopes started to fade away as first Scott Anda and then Ciaran Norris scored for the Wasps, giving them a 7-4 lead with just over ten minutes to play in the game.

And try as they might, the Lions just couldn’t solve the riddle of Rory Edwards in the Wasps net, eventually giving up an eighth and final goal just two and a half minutes from time as Hughes made it 8-4 to the Wasps – condemning the Lions to defeat in their last home game of the season.

Joseph Gibson took home the Man of the Match award for the Lions after scoring his first goal for the club as well as putting in a solid defensive effort.

The Lions are next in action on the road on Saturday 7th March 2020, as they visit Oxford Ice Rink to take on the Bristol Pitbulls in their final Cup game of the season. Faceoff in Oxford will be 17:15.

Lions Well Beaten by Mustangs

Lee Valley Lions 2-9 Invicta Mustangs (16/02/2020)

After a tough home defeat against league leaders Haringey the previous weekend, the Lee Valley Lions had another difficult game to contend with on Sunday 16th February as they welcomed the Invicta Mustangs to town.

The Mustangs were hunting a victory that would put them level on points with Haringey at the top of the NIHL South East 2 (Wilkinson) standings – a victory they would comfortably take in the end.

The Lions welcomed back top scorer Jordan Ho after he missed the last three games injured, but were missing forwards Joe Berry, Ross Sin-Hidge and Vinny Ferrara, as well as defencemen Joe Gibson and Tom Baptist, for this game. James Andrew started in net for the hosts.

First Period: The first period got off to the worst possible start for the home side as forward Robert Cole went down injured in the opening stages following a collision. Cole, who had scored 11 goals in 13 games prior to this one, did not return to the ice for the remainder of the contest.

The Mustangs followed that up with an early goal as captain Thomas Dennis made it 1-0 in the 4th minute, assisted by Richard Harris. A second goal then followed in the 11th minute, as Wesley Jackson made it 2-0 for the visitors, assisted by Joseph Bliss and Jake Luton.

The home side did create several chances during the opening period, with first Jordan Sullivan and Jordan Ho combining to force Mustangs netminder Matthew Passmore to make a good save, before Simon Jones and Joe Miller did the same.

But there were to be no more goals in the first period, with Lions netminder James Andrew making 13 saves to keep the deficit at a manageable 2-0 going into the first intermission.

Second Period: The Lions came out with tons of energy in the middle period, creating numerous early chances as they looked to get back into the game. Jordan Sullivan, Charlie Nichols and Jordan Ho all had scoring opportunities, while Daniel Tamasauskas and Oscar Kally also had good attempts on the powerplay with Invicta’s Ashley Bushell sitting two penalty minutes for elbowing.

Unfortunately for the hosts, during this powerplay they would give up a goal after a defensive breakdown, as Joseph Bliss scored a shorthander to put the Mustangs 3-0 up in the 31st minute, assisted Regan O’Neil.

However the Lions didn’t let that deter them, and they got back into the game in the 33rd minute as Jordan Sullivan (32:48) finished at the back post after a delightful pass from Jordan Ho, making the score 3-1 in favour of the visitors. It was Sullivan’s second goal of the season, and was also his first home goal for the club. An additional assist went to Daniel Tamasauskas.

The period ended with the Mustangs taking a 4-1 lead with just over two minutes left before the break, as Richard Harris scored with assists from Jake Luton and Michael Stokes.

Third Period: The final period also started off well for the Mustangs, with two goals within the opening five minutes putting the game out of reach at 6-1; first it was Thomas Mallett who scored with an assist from Jack Rowland, before Jake Luton scored just over a minute later, assisted by Joseph Bliss and Jarvis Mewett.

The Lions had a few chances on the powerplay to get back into the game, but after the Mustangs successfully killed a penalty against Aaron Ferris, it was Ferris himself who latched onto a loose puck and scored an unassisted goal past James Andrew to make it 7-1 to the visitors in the 52nd minute.

The hosts were able to get a goal back in the 55th minute as 18-year-old Rowan Champney (54:31) – playing just his second game for the Lions – was fed with another beautiful pass from Jordan Ho, and buried the puck past Mustangs goalie Kieran Wyatt to reduce the deficit to 2-7. Wyatt had come into net in relief of starting netminder Matthew Passmore just a few minutes prior.

The Mustangs wrapped up the game in the last few minutes with two more goals; firstly Richard Harris scored a shorthander in the 57th minute to make it 8-2, before Harris was again on the scoresheet as he scored a penalty shot just one second before the end of the game, making the final score 9-2 in favour of the high-flying Mustangs.

Man of the Match for the Lions was Rowan Champney after scoring his first goal for the club, while Harris took home the award for the Mustangs after scoring a hat-trick.

The Lions are next in action in a double-header over the weekend of Saturday 29th February (away at Haringey)and Sunday 1st March (home to Bracknell). Both of those games will face off at 17:30.