Chelmsford Double Header Report

Lions Conquered by Chieftains

The Lee Valley Lions began the month of March by welcoming the Chelmsford Chieftains to the Den, for the first of two back-to-back games between the sides over the weekend. The return match at the Riverside in Chelmsford would take place the very next day.

The Lions iced a somewhat weakened side of 12 skaters plus netminders James Andrew (who got the start) and Brett Shepherd. Missing for the Lions were Chris Fox, Ashley West, Ben Gillingham, Arran Hartley, Robyn Maby, Tom Hurley and Ashley Earll as well as long-term injured forward Ben Duffy.

The visitors from Essex also brought along 12 skaters, but it was a high quality roster; six of those 12 were part of the Chieftains sides that dominated NIHL South 1 in recent years, while import Michal Oravec scored at a rate of 1.18 points per game across five seasons in the league above. Young netminder Billy Cook started between the pipes for the Chieftains.

1st Period: The Lions came out confidently at the start of the game, trying to get in the faces of the opposition and not letting them dictate the pace. Lee Valley captain Nick Alley saw a shot ricochet off the pipes in the fifth minute before the Lions took the lead shortly afterwards, as a shot from a long way out by Matt Brown (5:16, assisted by Daniel Tamasauskas) squeezed through Cook and into the Chieftains’ net. It took the visitors just over two minutes to equalise however, forward Ross Brears (7:35, assisted Donald Campbell) levelling the scores at one apiece.

Chelmsford then took the lead just 40 seconds later, captain Anthony Leone (8:15, assisted Cameron Bartlett and Grant Bartlett) firing past Andrew in the Lions net after good interplay with the Chieftains’ dangerous Bartlett twins. When veteran Chelmsford defenceman Danny Wright sat a penalty for holding, the Lions tried all they could to get back into the game on the powerplay; but the Chieftains were able to kill off the penalty. The home side did create some good chances as the period wore on, with Matt Brown and Oliver Glover forcing Cook into some impressive saves. At the other end, James Andrew flashed the leather to deny Cameron Bartlett on the breakaway.

Sadly for the Lions, the visitors were able to extend their advantage with just over two minutes left until the first intermission as Grant Bartlett (17:37, assisted Donald Campbell) showed why he was chosen as NIHL South 2 Player of the Month for February as he unleashed a rocket of a slapshot past a helpless James Andrew. The Lions continued trying to fight back after this, with Alley forcing a save from Cook, but the Chieftains would make it 4-1 with a buzzer beater right at the end of the period as Thomas Wilson (20:00, assisted C. Bartlett and Michal Oravec) put the puck past Andrew. The first period finished 4-1 to the visitors, who outshot the Lions 24-10.

2nd Period: The home side once again came out strongly at the start of the second period, with Ross Sin-Hidge forcing a good save from Cook in the 22nd minute. At the other end, Lions netminder James Andrew was hurt whilst stopping a shot and stayed down for some time, but was able to continue. However the Chieftains would break the Lee Valley resistance with a pair of braces within the following six minutes. Firstly Michal Oravec (25:20, assisted Wilson) scored on the breakaway and Wilson (25:30, assisted C. Bartlett and Oravec) scrambled the puck home to put the visitors 5-1 and 6-1 up respectively just ten seconds apart. Not too long after that, Oravec (29:23, assisted G. Bartlett and Leone) scored on the PP with Simon Jones in the box for hooking to make it 7-1, and G. Bartlett (29:36, assisted Will Polston and Danny Wright) made it 8-1, just 13 seconds apart.

At this point, the Lions swapped goaltenders with Brett Shepherd relieving James Andrew in net. This seemed to galvanise the Lions for a while, as Sin-Hidge had a shorthanded chance in the 33rd minute before defenceman Matthew Hamilton shot wide of Cook’s net in the 36th minute. However when Lions forward Matt Brown went to the box for hooking, the Chieftains took advantage on the subsequent powerplay as G. Bartlett (38:39, assisted C. Bartlett and Wilson) put the visitors 9-1 up. There was still time for the Chieftains to hit double figures as C. Bartlett (39:23, assisted Elliott Dervish and TJ Fillery) made the score 10-1, and with just three seconds left in the second period the Essex side extended the lead to 11-1 as Brears (39:57, assisted Oravec) completed the scoring in the second period. The Chieftains outshot the Lions 28-8 in the middle frame.

3rd Period: The home side came out for the third period with purpose despite the large deficit, and got a consolation goal in the third minute of the period as Ross Sin-Hidge (42:55, assisted Nick Alley and Matthew Hamilton) finally got on the board with a powerplay marker after creating several chances throughout the game. The Lions had a further chance in the 47th minute but James Joseph shot wide of Cook’s net. At the other end of the ice, the Chieftains extended the lead to 12-2 as Wilson (47:43, assisted Oravec) broke the deadlock for the period in the 48th minute. Two more goals would follow in the next three minutes with G. Bartlett (49:52, assisted Dervish and C. Bartlett) grabbing his fourth of the night before Brears (50:58, assisted Dervish) unleashed a hard slapshot past Shepherd for 14-2. The last goal of the evening came from Wilson (55:17, unassisted) who bagged his fourth of the night and made the final score 15-2, the visitors outshooting the hosts 21-12 in the third period.

After a tough night for the Lions against a strong opponent, forward Matt Brown took home the Man of the Match award for a determined offensive performance including the first Lee Valley goal. Chelmsford’s import forward Oravec picked up the award for his side.


Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 2-15 Chelmsford Chieftains

Period Scores: 1-4/0-7/1-4

Shots: Lee Valley Lions 30-73 Chelmsford Chieftains (10-24/8-28/12-21)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley Lions 20-16 Chelmsford Chieftains

Scorers:  Lee Valley – Matt Brown 1+0, Ross Sin-Hidge 1+0, Matthew Hamilton 0+1, Nick Alley 0+1, Daniel Tamasauskas 0+1

Chelmsford – Thomas Wilson 4+2, Grant Bartlett 4+2, Cameron Bartlett 1+5, Michal Oravec 2+4, Ross Brears 3+0, Elliott Dervish 0+3, Anthony Leone 1+1, Donald Campbell 0+2, TJ Fillery 0+1, Will Polston 0+1, Danny Wright 0+1

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew (29:36 played, 38 shots/8 goals against), Brett Shepherd (30:24 played, 35 shots/7 goals against)

Chelmsford – Billy Cook (60:00 played, 30 shots/2 goals against)

Man of the Match – Matt Brown (Lee Valley), Michal Oravec (Chelmsford)

Lions Fall to Chieftains Despite Alley Hat-Trick

After losing 15-2 at home to the Chelmsford Chieftains the previous night, the Lee Valley Lions travelled to Essex for the return game 24 hours later hoping for a better performance and result.

The Lions welcomed back Ben Gillingham and backup netminder Robyn Maby, but were missing Brett Shepherd, Chris Fox, Ashley West, Ross-Sin-Hidge, Arran Hartley, Tom Hurley, Oliver Glover and Ashley Earll as well as long-term injured forward Ben Duffy – giving them just 11 skaters. James Andrew started in net for the second night in a row. Chelmsford iced an unchanged side of 12 skaters plus goaltender Billy Cook.

1st Period: The Lions were unable to repeat the strong start they showed the previous night, this time going down 1-0 in the third minute as Cameron Bartlett (2:27, assisted Robert Veares) put the home side ahead. The Chieftains would double their advantage four minutes later when Czech forward Michal Oravec (6:50, assisted Ross Brears and Danny Wright) put them 2-0 up.

However the visitors knuckled down after this and made it tough for the Chieftains, with the home side also taking a couple of penalties. While they killed off a roughing call against Ross Brears, the hosts were unable to do the same when Danny Wright went to the box for delay of game; Lions captain Nick Alley (16:09, assisted Ben Gillingham) halved the deficit on the powerplay with a well-worked goal. Alley had won the puck with a big hit on the Chieftains blueline, then played a give-and-go with Ben Gillingham before taking the return feed and burying past Billy Cook in the Chieftains net. There was still time for one more goal in the first period, and this came from the home side as C. Bartlett (17:34, assisted Thomas Wilson and Grant Bartlett) extended Chelmsford’s lead to 3-1. The hosts outshot the Lions 15-3 in the opening frame.

2nd Period: The second period did not start well for Lee Valley, as they conceded three goals in the first six minutes to go 6-1 down. Doing the damage for the Chieftains were blueliner Donald Campbell (22:10, assisted Wright), NIHL South 2 Player of the Month for February Grant Bartlett (25:15, assisted Oravec and C. Bartlett) and then his twin brother Cameron Bartlett (26:01, unassisted) who completed his hat-trick.

The last 14 minutes of the second period would be tighter, as the Lions cut down on mistakes and put pressure on the home side. Chelmsford had a few penalties to kill, but they managed to keep the Lions’ powerplay quiet and did not concede. Just one more goal would fall in the second frame as G. Bartlett (34:09, assisted Anthony Leone and C. Bartlett) scored his second of the night in the 35th minute to extend the Chelmsford lead to 7-1. The period ended with both sides level on shots, both James Andrew and Billy Cook having faced 16 each in their respective nets.

3rd Period: The third and final period had a wild start with two goals within the first two minutes. First of all the Chieftains made it 8-1 as G. Bartlett (41:05, assisted C. Bartlett and Leone) became the second Bartlett twin to compete his hat-trick on the night with a shorthanded goal, before the Lions would score a goal on the same powerplay through Matthew Hepburn (41:20, assisted Gillingham) with Ben Gillingham getting his second assist of the night.

The Lions would then show their spirit in scoring two more goals within the next four minutes to get the score back to 8-4 and give the Chieftains something to think about. First Alley (43:19, assisted Simon Geldart) bagged his second of the night before Hepburn (45:15, assisted Matt Brown and Gillingham) followed suit just two minutes later. And although the Chieftains extended the lead to 9-4 with C. Bartlett (49:38, assisted Campbell) scoring his fourth of the night, the Lions were again able to respond on the powerplay as Alley (52:34) got an unassisted marker to complete his hat-trick on the night and bring the score back to 9-5. Alley was moved to centre in this game from his usual position on the wings, and was able to make the most of his altered position to grab a hat-trick, his second of the season.

Two more Chieftains goals followed as the Lions tired late in the game, home captain Anthony Leone (53:12, assisted C. Bartlett and G. Bartlett) scoring their 10th and Wilson (54:43, assisted Oravec and C. Bartlett) completing the scoring with a powerplay goal which was their 11th of the evening. As the final buzzer sounded, the away side could be proud of their efforts as they put in a much better performance than the previous night, and were rewarded for their efforts with five goals on the night. Lions hat-trick hero Alley took home the Man of the Match award, while Grant Bartlett took home the award for his side.


Final Score: Chelmsford Chieftains 11-5 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 3-1/4-0/4-4

Shots: Chelmsford Chieftains 43-31 Lee Valley Lions (13-5/16-16/14-10)

Penalty Minutes: Chelmsford Chieftains 40-8 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Chelmsford – Cameron Bartlett 4+5, Grant Bartlett 3+2, Michal Oravec 1+2, Anthony Leone 1+2, Thomas Wilson 1+1, Donald Campbell 1+1, Danny Wright 0+2, Ross Brears 0+1, Robert Veares 0+1

Lee Valley – Nick Alley 3+0, Ben Gillingham 0+3, Matthew Hepburn 2+0, Matt Brown 0+1, Simon Geldart 0+1

Goaltenders: Chelmsford – Billy Cook (60:00 played, 31 shots/5 goals against)

Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 43 shots/11 goals against)

Man of the Match – Nick Alley (Lee Valley), Grant Bartlett (Chelmsford)

The Lions’ next match is a trip to face Swindon Wildcats on Saturday March 17th.

You can keep up to date with the Lions on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LeeValleyLions.

Oxford & Basingstoke Report

Lions Shut Out by Leaders Oxford

In their only home game in the month of February, the Lee Valley Lions welcomed the league leading Oxford City Stars to town on Saturday. The Stars won the previous meeting between the sides 18-1 back in December and had only lost two games all season coming into this one.

The Lions iced a strong lineup of 17 skaters as well as goaltenders Brett Shepherd – who once again got the start in net – and James Andrew. Missing from the Lions lineup were Ben Duffy, Chris Fox, Robyn Maby, Jordan Turner and Michael Crosse. The Stars also brought 17 skaters to east London, with Milan Ronai starting in net and Mark Duffy backing up.

1st Period: It was a good start to the game for the Lions, who defended solidly in the opening stages as they didn’t allow themselves to be overawed by a side 13 places ahead of them in the table. Oxford found it tough to break down the Lions defence and, when they did, young netminder Shepherd was equal to the task. The Lions were also able to kill an early tripping penalty against Ben Gillingham. Only in the eighth minute were the Stars able to break the deadlock, Josh Oliver (7:18, assisted Conor Redmond and Stewart Tait) finishing past Shepherd at the back door after nice passes from defenceman Stewart Tait and forward Conor Redmond. And the visitors doubled their advantage just over a minute later, Czech import Kamil Kinkor (8:23, assisted Redmond) burying the puck past Shepherd for 2-0.

Just after the midway point in the opening period, the Stars stretched their advantage to three, Matthew Lawday (10:10, assisted Michael Whillock) finishing past Shepherd from a tight angle. The Stars were then able to kill an interference call against Jake Florey, as the Lions never quite got going on the powerplay. Two penalties against the Lions then put Oxford on a 5-on-3 powerplay for 49 seconds, with first Ashley West sitting two minutes for holding and then James Joseph being called for high sticking. The Lions managed to kill both penalties but, just six seconds after the Lions were back to full strength, Kinkor (19:14, assisted Dominic Hopkins and Jake Florey) took advantage of a gap in the Lee Valley defence to finish past Shepherd on the breakaway for 4-0, which was also the score at the end of the first period.

2nd Period: The Lions came out for the second period determined not to let in any more goals, and they were again strong in the opening stages as they prevented Oxford from adding to their four goal advantage. The Lions successfully killed a boarding minor against Ashley West in the early stages of the period too. And indeed the Lions created a dangerous scoring chance in the 25th minute as Matt Brown tested Ronai in the Stars net after a good feed from captain Nick Alley. This time it took Oxford until the ninth minute of the period to finally grab a goal, and it was Kinkor (28:53, assisted Jason Ikin and Andrew Cox) who completed his hat trick and put the visitors 5-0 up.

After a cross checking penalty against Jake Florey, the Lions would have hoped to get a goal back on the powerplay; but instead, after a mix-up in the Lions defence, the Stars scored a shorthanded goal to go 6-0 up as captain Darren Elliott stole the puck and fed Michael Whillock (34:46, assisted Elliott) who finished calmly past Shepherd. With just over three minutes to go in the period, tempers would flare as Oxford’s Josh Oliver and Lions defenceman Matt Jackson clashed, both receiving two minutes for roughing while the Lee Valley man also received a 10 minute misconduct. The Lions then had another powerplay chance late in the period as Andrew Cox sat two minutes for tripping, but the home side could not convert and went into the second period break 6-0 down.

3rd Period: Once again the Lions would start the period well, not letting the Stars take control of the game and having a few chances of their own. Lions forward Ben Gillingham was particularly impressive as he tested Stars netminder Mark Duffy – who replaced Ronai for the third period – a couple of times. But after a cross-checking call against Lee Valley’s Matt Brown, the Stars finally notched up their first powerplay goal of the evening to go 7-0 up in the 48th minute as Hopkins (47:37, assisted Redmond) finished nicely past Shepherd. And it was defenceman Andrew Cox (56:00, assisted Will Harrison and Joe Edwards) who completed the scoring at 56 minutes exactly, scoring Oxford’s eighth and last goal of the evening to make the score 8-0.

The Lions still refused to give up though, and had perhaps their best chance of the game in the 58th minute as Ross Sin-Hidge fed Nick Alley, but the Lions skipper was unable to get the puck past Duffy in the Stars net. As the buzzer sounded to end the game, the Lions could be proud of their efforts in going down 8-0. Despite being defeated and shut out, the Lions competed with and frustrated the league leaders for large portions of the game and made the Stars work for the win. Man of the match for the Lions was Ben Gillingham, who epitomised the home side’s work ethic with an industrious performance, while hat-trick hero Kinkor took home the award for the Stars.

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

Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 0-8 Oxford City Stars

Period Scores: 0-4/0-2/0-2

Shots: Lee Valley Lions 29-69 Oxford City Stars (5-29/12-20/12-20)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley Lions 24-10 Oxford City Stars

Scorers:  Oxford – Kamil Kinkor 3+0, Conor Redmond 0+3, Andrew Cox 1+1. Michael Whillock 1+1, Dominic Hopkins 1+1, Josh Oliver 1+0, Matthew Lawday 1+0, Jake Florey 0+1, Jason Ikin 0+1, Stewart Tait 0+1, Will Harrison 0+1, Joe Edwards 0+1, Darren Elliott 0+1

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – Brett Shepherd (60:00 played, 69 shots/8 goals against)

Oxford – Milan Ronai (40:00 played, 17 shots/0 goals against), Mark Duffy (20:00 played, 12 shots/0 goals against)

Man of the Match – Ben Gillingham (Lee Valley), Kamil Kinkor (Oxford)

Lions Bested in Basingstoke

After going down 8-0 at home to league leaders Oxford the previous evening, the Lee Valley Lions travelled to Hampshire to take on a Basingstoke Buffalo side that hadn’t won a game since mid-November. Once again the Lions hoped this would be the occasion for them to finally take their first win of the campaign.

For the first time this season, the Lions could field a full line-up of 20 skaters as Chris Fox returned to the lineup. James Andrew started in goal with Brett Shepherd backing up. The home side iced 15 skaters including former Lions player-coach Blair Dubyk, with Aaron Craft starting in net and Kevin McGurk backing up.

1st Period: The home side got the better of the early stages, with the Lions on the back foot and netminder Andrew called into action several times to thwart Basingstoke forwards. However the Lions weathered that early storm and started to get back into the game as the period wore on. When Buffalo forward Mark Austen was penalised for boarding in the 15th minute, the Lions would have hoped to take the lead on the powerplay. But instead the Lions took two penalties themselves – Simon Jones sitting for interference and James Joseph for holding – which put the hosts on a 4-on-3 powerplay. And Basingstoke duly converted this as defenceman Sam Dollin (15:48, assisted Samuel Compton and Cameron Buckle) fired past Andrew for 1-0.

Things would get worse for the visitors just 23 seconds later, as Basingstoke doubled their lead to 2-0 through a goal from Warren Jones (16:11, assisted Neil Leary and Blair Dubyk). Following this quick double for the Buffalo, however, the Lions came back into the game strongly, peppering netminder Aaron Craft with shots and finally getting their reward with just 14 seconds left in the period as Ben Gillingham (19:46, assisted Matt Brown) drove the net and tipped in a feed from Matt Brown to get the score back to 2-1. It was the first goal of the season for hard-working forward Gillingham. The first period ended with the Lions 2-1 down and having been outshot 20-11.

2nd Period: The Lions again came out slowly for the second period, with Andrew having to come up big on several occasions as he faced a lot of rubber. Once again, as the period wore on, the Lions were able to get into the game more, but couldn’t make the most of their possession in the Buffalo zone as the well-drilled hosts prevented them from getting any clear-cut chances. A powerplay opportunity with Basingstoke’s Matthew Levy in the box for roughing also went by without any success.

Also similar to the first period was the fact that the Lions then conceded two goals in quite quick succession to allow Basingstoke to go 4-1 up. First Dubyk (30:58, unassisted) went it alone and finished past Andrew, before under three minutes later Gregory Martyn (33:18, assisted Samuel Brooks and Dubyk) netted on the powerplay with James Joseph sitting two minutes for delay of game. The Lions continued to show good fighting spirit though, getting back into the game when Nick Alley (37:30, assisted Ross Sin-Hidge and Matt Brown) scored his 14th goal of the season as he raced up the ice on a 2-on-1 with Ross Sin-Hidge and elected to shoot past Craft. A nice stretch pass from James Joseph had started the move. The second period ended with the Lions 4-2 down and having been outshot 21-13.

3rd Period: The Lions were much better in the final period, dominating the majority of possession and trying everything they could to get back into the game. They put 19 shots on Buffalo netminder Craft in the period, but the Basingstoke shot stopper was equal to everything the Lee Valley forwards threw at him. The Lions were also wasteful in possession at times, not taking full advantage of the puck possession they had in Basingstoke’s zone. Despite all the pressure, they simply could not find a way past Craft and, with just 16 seconds left in the game and Andrew pulled for an extra attacker, a wayward Lions pass was intercepted by Mark Austen (59:44, unassisted) who finished into the empty net for the final score of 5-2 to the home side.

A frustrating loss for the Lions, who came back strongly in the first two periods before dominating the third but couldn’t create enough clear cut chances and couldn’t take the win. The hosts for their part were well-organised and took their chances well. The Man of the Match award for the Lions went to Matt Brown for his two assists, while Mark Austen took home the award for the Buffalo.

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

Final Score: Basingstoke Buffalo 5-2 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 2-1/2-1/1-0

Shots: Basingstoke Buffalo 53-43 Lee Valley Lions (20-11/21-13/12-19)

Penalty Minutes: Basingstoke Buffalo 8-6 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers:  Basingstoke – Blair Dubyk 1+2, Warren Jones 1+0, Gregory Martyn 1+0, Sam Dollin 1+0, Mark Austen 1+0, Neil Leary 0+1, Samuel Compton 0+1, Samuel Brooks 0+1, Cameron Buckle 0+1

Lee Valley – Matt Brown 0+2, Nick Alley 1+0, Ben Gillingham 1+0, Ross Sin-Hidge 0+1

Goaltenders: Basingstoke – Aaron Craft (60:00 played, 43 shots/2 goals against)

Lee Valley – James Andrew (59:06 played, 52 shots/4 goals against)

Man of the Match – Matt Brown (Lee Valley), Mark Austen (Basingstoke)

Lions Pay the Penalty in Pitbulls Defeat

Two weeks after their third overtime loss of the season against Slough, the Lions travelled to Oxford to take on the Bristol Pitbulls, hoping to go one better and finally win a game this campaign. The Pitbulls had won the reverse fixture 11-1 earlier in the season, however, so this looked to be another tough task for the East London side.

The Lions handed a debut to defenceman Matt Jackson, the third player to join the Lions from the MK Cyclones rec team this season after Tom Hurley and Ashley West. Missing from the Lions lineup were Ben Duffy, Robyn Maby, Ben Gillingham, Ross Sin-Hidge, Jordan Turner and Michael Crosse, giving them 16 skaters. Young netminder Brett Shepherd once again got the start with James Andrew backing up. The Pitbulls also iced 16 skaters, while Ross Miller started in net ahead of Andrew Leckie.

1st Period: The Lions started the first period with good intensity, getting in the Pitbulls’ faces and not allowing them time to settle on the puck. The away side were rewarded with the first goal as captain Nick Alley (6:08, assisted Chris Fox and Ashley Earll) followed up on a rebound from an Ashley Earll shot and put the puck past Miller for a 1-0 Lions lead. It was Alley’s 13th goal of the season, while the assist on the goal was also the first Lions point for former Invicta Mustangs defenceman Earll. It didn’t take long for the Pitbulls to equalise however, Bristol also getting a goal from their captain as Olly Shone (7:39, assisted Tom Egerton) buried past Shepherd in the Lions net to level the scores. It was Shone’s 150th career goal in Pitbulls colours.

As the period wore on, the Pitbulls put more and more shots on Shepherd – but the young netminder stood firm and did not concede any more goals in the opening stanza. At the other end, the Lions would take the lead with just under two minutes to play until the intermission, Matt Brown (18:03, assisted Simon Jones) putting a speculative shot on the Pitbulls net that found its way past Miller. It was the former Haringey Racers forward’s sixth goal of the season. This put Lee Valley 2-1 up, a lead they would hold until the first period break despite Shepherd facing 23 shots to Miller’s 13 in the period.

2nd Period: While the first period was an impressive one for the Lions, they came totally unstuck in the second. A tripping penalty against Daniel Tamasauskas just six seconds into the period put the Pitbulls on the powerplay, and they duly converted through Adrian Smith (21:44, assisted Grant Richardson and Jordan Jefferies) to level the scores at two. And, when Nick Alley sat for slashing just a few minutes later, the Pitbulls again converted on the man advantage as they took the lead through Logan Prince (23:57, assisted Olly Shone and Josh Galea).

And things would go from bad to worse for the Lions between the 31st and 38th minutes, as they conceded three further goals. Olly Shone (30:49, assisted Jamie Newton) made it 4-2 in the 31st minute before Josh Dolphin (35:16, assisted Prince and Jefferies) increased the lead to 5-2, five minutes later. And skipper Olly Shone (37:37, assisted Ryan McFarlane and Macaulay Coppock) completed his hat-trick with just over two minutes left in the period to make it 6-2 to the Pitbulls.

Late in the period, Nick Alley was shunted into Pitbulls goaltender Miller by a Bristol defenceman. This led to a fight between Lions forward Chris Fox and Pitbulls blueliner Sam Shone, who both received 2+2+2 for their troubles. Miller was injured on the play and was replaced by Andrew Leckie in the net for the remainder of the game. There would be no more drama in the remaining 1:40 of the second frame, with the Pitbulls taking a 6-2 lead into the final period having outshot the Lions 18-11.

3rd Period: The third period saw the Lions try everything they could to claw back the deficit, but the visitors were unable to find their way past replacement netminder Leckie’s defences. And the Lions weren’t helped by taking two more penalties just as they looked to build momentum; a bench penalty for an icing infringement was followed by two minutes for tripping against Ollie Glover. While the Lions were able to kill these two penalties, valuable minutes were lost from the game. Meanwhile the disciplined Pitbulls gave up just one powerplay in the whole game as Jordan Jefferies sat two for tripping at 55:01, but Bristol killed that penalty and also saw out the game as the final buzzer sounded with the score at 6-2. The Pitbulls edged the shot count 13-12 in the tight, goalless final period.

It was a tale of what might have been for the Lions. They were leading coming into the second period, but two early penalties saw them go behind in the game, and they never quite recovered from that. Bristol for their part were disciplined and made the most of their chances, skating off with a comfortable win despite only being on top for one of the three periods. Man of the Match for the Lions was defenceman Simon Jones, while captain and hat-trick hero Olly Shone took home the award for the Pitbulls.


Final Score: Bristol Pitbulls 6-2 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 1-2/5-0/0-0

Shots: Bristol Pitbulls 54-36 Lee Valley Lions (23-13/18-11/13-12)

Penalty Minutes: Bristol Pitbulls 8-14 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers – Bristol: Olly Shone (3+1), Logan Prince (1+1), Jordan Jefferies (0+2), Adrian Smith (1+0), Josh Dolphin (1+0), Jamie Newton (0+1), Josh Galea (0+1), Macaulay Coppock (0+1), Tom Egerton (0+1), Grant Richardson (0+1), Ryan McFarlane (0+1)

Scorers – Lee Valley: Nick Alley (1+0), Matt Brown (1+0), Ashley Earll (0+1), Chris Fox (0+1), Simon Jones (0+1)

Goaltenders – Bristol: Ross Miller (38:20 played, 23 shots/2 goals against), Andrew Leckie (21:40 played, 13 shots/0 goals against)

Goaltenders – Lee Valley: Brett Shepherd (60:00 played, 54 shots/6 goals against)

Man of the Match: Simon Jones (Lee Valley), Olly Shone (Bristol)

The Lee Valley Lions are next in action at home to the Oxford City Stars on Saturday the 17th February. Faceoff is at 5:30pm.

You can keep up to date with the Lions on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LeeValleyLions.

Lions Foiled by Jets in Overtime Thriller

After seven weeks away from home, the Lee Valley Lions finally returned to the Den for their first home game of 2018. The visitors were the Slough Jets, who beat the Lions 8-3 in Berkshire earlier in the season.

The Lions were only missing Ben Duffy, Robyn Maby, Jordan Turner and Michael Crosse, giving them a strong bench of 17 skaters as well as netminders Brett Shepherd – who got the start – and James Andrew. Former Slough forward Ashley West made his Lions home debut while Tom Hurley made his comeback from injury. Slough brought 16 skaters to the Den including former Lions defenceman Stuart Spence. Veteran netminder Chris Douglas was between the pipes, backed up by Matthew Lowden.

1st Period: The Lions started the first period off with a bang. They spent most of the first few minutes camped in the Jets’ zone, creating several chances – all of which were stopped by Douglas. After a hooking penalty against Jack Standing, the Lions went on the powerplay. They almost went behind, however, as Slough player-coach Lukas Smital stole the puck and countered quickly; but Lions netminder Shepherd was alert to the danger and stopped his shot on the breakaway to keep the scores level.

The Lions managed to get the first breakthrough in the sixth minute of the game, 18-year-old defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas (5:42, assisted Chris Fox) scoring his first senior goal as he collected the puck after a Chris Fox faceoff win and fired a well-placed shot past Douglas. The rest of the period saw both sides creating numerous chances, but 38-year-old Douglas and 17-year-old Shepherd both stopped everything that came their way. The first period ended with the Jets on the powerplay as Lions captain Nick Alley sat two minutes for tripping, but they were unable to convert and the Lions took a deserved 1-0 lead into the first break, having played one of their best periods of hockey this season to date.

2nd Period: The start of the second period was delayed due to some ice issues, and when it finally got underway the Lions still had 52 seconds of Alley’s penalty to kill – which they did successfully. As the period wore on, both sides created more chances but a combination of good goaltending, and lack of composure in front of net, meant the score remained at 1-0 until the 28th minute. At this point, the Jets finally grabbed an equaliser after several minutes of pressure as Harry Harcup (27:21, assisted Lukas Smital and Liam Underdown) found himself all alone in front of the Lions net, and finished calmly after a pass from Smital.

The Jets then went ahead for the first time in the game just one minute 45 seconds later, a speculative effort from Harry Wright (29:06, unassisted) taking Lions netminder Shepherd by surprise and finding a way through the 17-year-old and into the net. The Lions did not let their heads drop after this quickfire double, however, as they continued to put pressure on Douglas in the Jets net, and actually thought they had scored just before the end of the period, but the puck was adjudged not to have crossed the line. The second period ended with the Jets 2-1 up, but the Lions still very much in the game having led the shot count 16-14. There was also some drama at the end of the period as Lions forward Matthew Hepburn received two minutes for roughing, and Jets’ Timo Lindgren received two minutes for charging, both on the final buzzer.

3rd Period: The Lions started the third period in the perfect manner: captain Nick Alley (40:24, assisted Matthew Hamilton) buried past Douglas just 24 seconds into the period after a lovely stretch pass by blueliner Hamilton had set him free. This made the score 2-2 with almost a full period to play. And the next 20 minutes would be as tense as the 40 that had come before; both sides continued to create chances, but poor finishing and strong goaltending combined to keep the score tied.

The Lions had their hearts in their mouths midway through the period as Smital received the puck after a long pass and fired past Shepherd; however he was rightly ruled to have been offside and the goal was waved off. The home side also had two powerplay chances that they were unable to capitalise on, and as the buzzer sounded to signal the end of 60 minutes of play, the sides were locked at two goals apiece with the game heading to overtime.

Overtime: For the third time this season, the Lions headed into overtime having secured one point and looking to take home the other. Early in the overtime period, Lions defenceman Matthew Hamilton was called for tripping, putting the away side on a 4-on-3 powerplay. And they used this to perfection, Luke Reynolds (61:08, assisted Smital and Underdown) burying the puck past Shepherd after a patient feed from Smital, giving the Jets a 3-2 win on the night.

So for the third time in the season, the Lions had lost in overtime as they still await their first victory. However this game really could have gone either way and was perhaps the Lions’ best performance of the season. Daniel Tamasauskas deservedly took home the Man of the Match award after an accomplished performance – as well as scoring his first senior goal, he made good defensive plays all night – while Slough youngster Harry Wright took home the award for his side.


Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 2-3 Slough Jets (OT)

Period Scores: 1-0/0-2/1-0/0-1

Shots: Lee Valley Lions 46-41 Slough Jets (15-14/16-14/15-11/0-2)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley Lions 8-14 Slough Jets

Scorers:  Lee Valley – Daniel Tamasauskas (1+0), Nick Alley (1+0), Chris Fox (0+1), Matthew Hamilton (0+1)

Slough – Liam Underdown (0+2), Lukas Smital (0+2), Harry Harcup (1+0), Harry Wright (1+0), Luke Reynolds (1+0)

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – Brett Shepherd (61:08 played, 46 shots/3 goals against)

Slough – Chris Douglas (61:08 played, 41 shots/2 goals against)

Man of the Match – Daniel Tamasauskas (Lee Valley), Harry Wright (Slough)

The Lee Valley Lions are next in action away to the Bristol Pitbulls (in Oxford) on Saturday the 3rd of February. Face-off is at 5pm.

You can keep up to date with the Lions on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LeeValleyLions.

Lions Vanquished by Phoenix

The Lee Valley Lions ended a run of three away games on the bounce on Sunday as they travelled to Surrey to take on the Guildford Phoenix. The Lions had gone down 2-0 to the Phoenix at home back in September, so hoped to reverse that result in this encounter.

The Lions were able to field a strong side; they were only missing Ben Duffy, Robyn Maby, Jordan Turner and Michael Crosse, giving them 17 skaters as well as netminding duo James Andrew and Brett Shepherd. Lee Valley also welcomed new signing Ashley West to the lineup. Guildford, meanwhile, iced 18 skaters – including former Lions Bailey Wootton and Henry Aiken – plus netminders Sam Calder and Jacob Stoodley.

1st Period: The opening period did not start well for the Lions, which has been a recurring theme this season. Within the first ten minutes they were already 4-0 down as the hosts got off to a perfect start. Phoenix player-coach Andrew Hemmings (3:17, assisted Joe Stephenson) opened the scoring just over three minutes in, with Josh Abbott (4:20, assisted Marcus Mitchell) doubling their advantage just 63 seconds later. The next goal followed before the seventh minute was out as Abbott (6:57, assisted Nick Minhinnick and Hemmings) scored his second of the night; and Abbott (9:26, assisted Hemmings) would complete a hat-trick before the game was even ten minutes old to put the home side in total control.

After the Lions took their timeout, the remaining ten minutes of the first period were a little quieter, with each team getting one powerplay opportunity but being unable to convert. With just 42 seconds left in period one, the Phoenix went 5-0 up as former Lee Valley junior Haydn Wootton (19:16, assisted Bailey Wootton and Scott Greenfield) put the puck past James Andrew. There would be no more scoring on the period, with the hosts taking a 5-0 lead into period two having outshot the East London side 17-12 in the first stanza.

2nd Period: The second period started better for the Lions; they were more solid at the back and kept the scoreline at 5-0 for the first eight minutes of the period. Guilford were able to extend their lead, however, as H. Wootton (28:10,assisted Greenfield) made it 6-0. With Lions captain Nick Alley in the box for slashing, Guildford’s seventh followed on the powerplay as Luke Tull (31:27, assisted H. Wootton and B. Wootton) fired past Andrew. And just three minutes later, the lead was up to 8-0 as Greenfield (34:22, unassisted) scored unassisted.

At this point, the Lions switched netminder to Brett Shepherd; the 17-year-old faced five shots in the next five minutes, conceding one goal as Jacob Rondeau-Smith (37:56, assisted Abbott and Minhinnick) managed to get one past him. The second frame finished with the Phoenix 9-0 up, having led the shot count 17-11 on the period.

3rd Period: The visitors got off to a bad start in the third period as Oliver Glover sat two minutes for elbowing at 41:50; Jonah Stoodley (43:38, assisted Monty Gailer and B. Wootton) scored on the resulting powerplay to bring up a double figure scoreline. After Lions forward Chris Fox and Guildford duo Marcus Mitchell and Jack Woodstock all received minor penalties at 44:33, this put the visitors on the powerplay; however a giveaway by the Lions in their own zone led to Minhinnick (46:07, assisted Abbott) putting the Phoenix 11-0 up with a shorthanded marker.

The scoring eased up in the next 12 minutes, with the score remaining at 11-0 until two quick goals towards the end of the game; first Jonah Stoodley (58:40, assisted Stephenson) completed Guildford’s scoring with their 12th goal of the night, before the Lions got a very late consolation goal through Oliver Glover (59:43, assisted Ben Gillingham and Ross Sin-Hidge) just 17 seconds from time.

The final score of 12-1 was a disappointing one for the Lions; after a strong performance in defeat to Bracknell the previous weekend, they would have hoped to have kept the scoreline a lot closer in this game. Guildford were ruthless in front of goal and took their chances, while the Lions were not able to take the chances that they created. Next up for Lee Valley is a crucial tie with Slough on Sunday 21st January, as the Lions finally return home after a seven week gap since their last home game.


Final Score: Guildford Phoenix 12-1 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 5-0/4-0/3-1

Shots: Guildford Phoenix 48-30 Lee Valley Lions (17-12/17-11/14-7)

Penalty Minutes: Guildford Phoenix 8-12 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Guildford – Joshua Abbott (3+2), Haydn Wootton (2+1), Andrew Hemmings (1+2), Nicholas Minhinnick (1+2), Scott Greenfield (1+2), Bailey Wootton (0+3), Jonah Stoodley (2+0), Joe Stephenson (0+2), Jacob Rondeau-Smith (1+0), Luke Tull (1+0), Montgomery Gailer (0+1), Marcus Mitchell (0+1)

Lee Valley – Oliver Glover (1+0), Ross Sin-Hidge (0+1), Ben Gillingham (0+1)

Goaltenders: Guildford – Sam Calder (60:00 played, 30 shots/1 goal against)

Lee Valley – James Andrew (34:22 played, 29 shots/8 goals against); Brett Shepherd (25:38 played, 19 shots/4 goals against)

The Lions are next in action at home to the Slough Jets on Sunday the 21st of January. Faceoff at the Den is at 5:30pm.

You can keep up to date with the Lions on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LeeValleyLions.