Lions Downed by Hawks in Season Opener

After a long off-season of more than five months, the Lee Valley Lions finally kicked off the new National Ice Hockey League South 2 campaign with a home game against the Streatham Hawks.

The Lions were beaten on the night, but the end scoreline of 9-2 is not fully reflective of the game as a whole, and there were plenty of positives for the Lions coaching staff to take away from the opening game of the season.

The East London side iced 14 skaters for the game as well as netminder James Andrew, with eight players making their Lions debut. Five of the players on show for the Lions were born in 2001, giving the team a very youthful feel.

First Period: Streatham came out well in the early stages of the game and put the Lions under pressure, but found Andrew in good form in the Lee Valley net. The Hawks then let themselves down with ill-discipline, taking several penalties which disrupted their momentum in the game.

The Hawks nonetheless took the lead just after the midway point of the first period, Ryan Burgess scoring a 4-on-3 powerplay goal to put them 1-0 up at 11:02. Streatham then followed that up with another goal six minutes later, Czech forward Kamil Kinkor slotting the puck past Andrew with a precise shot at the 17:07 mark.

Lee Valley created a lot of chances towards the end of the period, with Joe Miller and newcomer Lewis Blore both testing Hawks netminder Harry Buckingham, but the Lions couldn’t quite get the puck in the net and ended the first period 2-0 down.

Second Period: The Lions came out extremely well at the start of the second period, with Hong Kong international forward Jordan Ho having a couple of chances to score and Ben Margerison also coming close.

They were finally awarded for their persistence at the 29:23 mark, as Jordan Ho scored a powerplay goal to halve Streatham’s lead, and bring the Lions back into the game at 1-2 down.

Unfortunately for the Lions, towering defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas then headed to the box for checking to the head, and Streatham’s Czech sharpshooter Kinkor punished them for that as he buried a powerplay goal to put the Hawks 3-1 up, a score that would remain until the end of the second period.

This was despite more Lions chances for Miller, Blore and Ho, who all impressed for the East London side but couldn’t quite solve the riddle of Buckingham more than once in the second frame.

Third Period: The Lions came out very slowly at the start of the third period, and were made to pay twice as Kinkor scored two more goals on the night with precise shots, putting the South Londoners into a seemingly unassailable 5-1 lead.

But the Lions didn’t let their heads dropped, and managed to get themselves back into the game in the 49th minute as Jordan Ho scored his second goal of the night with an assist from fellow newcomer Ben Margerison, to give the Lions hope at 5-2 down.

However the Lions seemed to tire in the closing stages, shipping four goals in the final seven minutes to give the scoreline a rather ugly feel; Alec Goldstone, Leo Saoncella, Harry Sage and former Lion Gus Zimmerman each had a goal to complete the scoring for the night.

It was a disappointing end to the game for the Lions, but they can take pride in the way they played in the first 40 minutes – and will feel they have unearthed a gem of a player in Jordan Ho, who scored both of his club’s goals on debut and was awarded Man of the Match for his efforts.

The Lions are next in action over the weekend of the 28th and 29th of September, travelling to Bracknell on the Saturday before hosting another London derby on the Sunday as Haringey come to town.

Lions Sign Leonie Charles

The Lions have added another forward ahead of the start of the 2019-20 season, as Leonie Charles signs up.

Leonie will become the first female forward to play for the Lions since GB Women’s international Angela Taylor scored 17 points in 14 games for the club in the 2009-10 season.

18-year-old Leonie has spent the last two years with the Invicta U18s, splitting her time between the U18 2nd and 3rd divisions. Last season she captained the Invicta Broncos in the 3rd division, whilst also appearing nine times for the Invicta Colts in the 2nd division.

In parallel to that, she played in the Women’s Division 1 South for the Invicta Dynamics in 2017-18, before making the step up to the Women’s Elite League with the Guildford Lightning last season.

Now she joins up with the Lions for her first season of NIHL hockey.

Click here to view Leonie’s career statistics courtesy of eliteprospects.com.

Two More for Lions as Sullivan Stays and Ferrara Joins

The Lee Valley Lions can today announce two more forwards for the 2019-20 season, as Jordan Sullivan stays with the club while Vincenzo “Vinnie” Ferrara joins the East London side.

23-year-old Jordan Sullivan made his senior bow for the Lions last season following four years at university.

Jordan had previously been a Lee Valley Junior between 2004 and 2014.

The power forward scored one assist in 21 games last term, and will look to add to that tally this time around as he returns for his second league season at the Den.

Versatile 27-year-old Vinnie Ferrara, who can also play as a defenceman, came through the junior system at Peterborough. He then played 17 games for the Peterborough Islanders in the ENL (now NIHL) between 2008 and 2011, scoring two goals and four assists.

He followed that up with three seasons in BUIHA (British Universities Ice Hockey Association) competition with the Coventry and Warwick Panthers, tallying seven goals and nine assists in 16 games, before taking a break from the sport.

Vinnie now joins the Lions ahead of the new campaign, and will hope to help the East London side with his experience and versatility.

Click here to view Jordan’s career statistics on eliteprospects.com.
Click here to view Vinnie’s career statistics on eliteprospects.com.

Jordan Sullivan returns for his second senior season at the Den (Photo: Tori Rigby)

Joseph and Jones Return to Lead Lions

The Lee Valley Lions are delighted to confirm that defensive stalwarts James Joseph and Simon Jones will return to form the club’s leadership team for the 2019-20 season, with both men taking on the role of Player-Coach for the upcoming campaign.

32-year old James Joseph has been with the Lions ever since the senior club reformed in 2005. He has now played 14 seasons in a Lions jersey, racking up 268 league appearances which makes him the club’s all-time appearance leader by some distance.

In that time, the stay-at-home blueliner has scored 11 goals and added 19 assists for 30 career points.

Last season he took on the role of Player-Coach for the first time, leading the club to their first win in over a year as the Lions won 5-0 in Swindon. He also managed to score six points (one goal, five assists) in 2018-19, which was the most points and assists he had ever scored for the Lions in a single league season.

James will once again combine Player-Coach duties with patrolling the Lee Valley blueline in the 2019-20 campaign.

Click here to view James’ career statistics courtesy of Elite Prospects.

James Joseph returns as Player-Coach for the 2019-20 season (Photo: Phil Hutchinson)

The Lions can also announce the return of Simon Jones, who acted as the club’s captain last season.

The 32-year-old defenceman is something of an iron man, having missed a total of just five games in his four seasons in a Lions jersey. He has racked up 84 league appearances in green and blue, notching up four goals and 18 assists for a total of 22 points.

He will also be a part of the club’s coaching staff as a Player-Coach this season, as well as continuing to add defensive leadership.

Click here to view Simon’s career statistics courtesy of Elite Prospects.

Defensive iron man Simon Jones will form part of the club’s coaching staff this season (Photo: Phil Hutchinson)

Lions Add Prospects Blore and Nichols

The Lee Valley Lions have added two more names to our 2019-20 roster, with teenage forwards Charlie Nichols and Lewis Blore signing on.

18-year old Charlie Nichols started his junior career at Romford, before moving to Lee Valley juniors when the Romford rink closed down. He spent two seasons with Lee Valley Under 14s, playing 32 games and scoring 12 points (three goals and nine assists).

He then moved on to Slough Under 15s, before playing two seasons for Chelmsford Under 18s. Charlie then spent last season at Romford Under 18s, scoring 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 10 games.

Now he joins the Lions for his first senior season in the sport.

Welshman Lewis Blore, who has played junior hockey at both Oxford and Milton Keynes, will also be stepping up to play his first senior campaign this season.

He was an alternate captain at Milton Keynes Under 18s last season, scoring 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games. He was also a team-mate of fellow Lions newcomer Harry O’Brien.

Click here to view Charlie Nichols’ statistics courtesy of Elite Prospects.
Click here to view Lewis Blore’s statistics courtesy of Elite Prospects.