Promising Performance in Peterborough Defeat

Lee Valley Lions 2-7 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms (16/11/2019)

The Lee Valley Lions welcomed the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms to East London on Saturday night for the first of four meetings between the two sides this season. And while the Lions would slip to a 7-2 defeat, it was another promising performance to follow up on the previous Sunday’s tight defeat to league leaders Haringey.

The Lions were able to ice 18 skaters, with only Daniel Tamasauskas and Lewis Blore missing out, and James Andrew started in goal. The Phantoms also brought a big bench, with 19 skaters and netminder Jack Peacock.

First Period: The first period got off to a frantic start with chances and penalties on both sides. In the fourth minute, both the Lions’ Robert Cole and the Phantoms’ Michal Magiera were in the penalty box when Peterborough forward Bailey Wootton took advantage of the extra space on the ice to score on the breakaway past Lions netminder James Andrew, giving the visitors the lead.

Lions forward Joe Berry then had a good chance to equalise and shot just wide, before the Phantoms doubled their lead in the 11th minute with a powerplay goal through Jordan Liddell. This came after the Lions had killed almost four minutes of penalties, first against James Joseph and then against Harry Sage.

The home side bounced back before the first period was over though with a powerplay goal of their own, Robert Cole (17:23, assisted Harry Sage) finishing past Phantoms netminder Peacock in the 18th minute with an assist from Harry Sage. The first period ended with the Lions trailing 1-2, with Peterborough narrowly edging the shots on goal for the period by a margin of 17-14.

Second Period: It was a cagey beginning to the middle stanza, with neither side getting on the scoreboard in the opening seven minutes of the period – although both teams did have their chances.

It was a quickfire double from Peterborough’s Polish import Michal Magiera that turned the tide in the game, as the 19-year-old scored in the 28th and 30th minute to put his side 4-1 up.

The Lions fought back though as Cole (37:20) scored his second goal of the evening in the 38th minute, as he scored an unassisted goal.

But it was the Phantoms who would have the last laugh at the end of the second period, Wootton scoring his second of the night with just 1:33 left in the frame to put the Phantoms 5-2 up and give them an edge going into the second intermission. Shots on goal in the middle period were once again close, with the Phantoms edging them by a margin of 14-12.

Third Period: The final period was split down the middle in terms of shots on goal, with each side having 15, but the Lions struggled to put the puck in the net as they found 20-year-old Peacock on strong form in the visiting net.

It was Peterborough who grabbed the first goal of the period in the 46th minute, as Magiera completed his hat-trick, before things all got a bit heated a minute later with Lee Valley’s Harry Sage and Peterborough duo Ryan Winters and Storm Lister all heading to the penalty box at the same time.

The Phantoms completed the scoring for the night in the 51st minute as Liddell grabbed his second of the evening, effectively putting the game to bed.

There were still chances for the home side to get back into the game, but they couldn’t quite convert and as the final buzzer sounded, the Phantoms travelled back up to Peterborough with a 7-2 win. Nonetheless it was another encouraging performance for the Lions as they search for their first win of the season.

Man of the Match for the home side was Robert Cole after he scored a brace, while hat-trick hero Michal Magiera was Man of the Match for the Phantoms.

The Lions are in action twice next weekend; first travelling up to Peterborough for an immediate rematch with the Phantoms on Saturday 23rd November (7pm faceoff), before welcoming the Bracknell Wasps to Lee Valley Ice Centre on Sunday 24th November for a 5:30pm faceoff.

Rollercoaster Derby Double-Header Weekend for Lions

It was a truly up-and-down weekend for the Lee Valley Lions, as they followed up a heavy 15-3 away defeat at Haringey with an extremely tight 5-4 home defeat against the same opposition just 24 hours later.

Saturday – Haringey Huskies 15-3 Lee Valley Lions (09/11/2019)

The Lions were missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge (last game of his suspension), Robert Cole, Joe Berry, Joe Miller and Harry O’Brien for Saturday’s road game, as well as defenceman Richie Pickering. Getting the start in net for the Lions was James Andrew.

First Period: The league-leading Huskies, who are yet to lose a league game this season, started off like a house on fire as they racked up six goals in the first period of play through Stephen Woodford (x2), former Lions forward Matthew Hepburn (x2), Lee Mercer and Luke Martin-Digby.

At the other end, the Lions managed to bag two goals in the opening period; firstly through Harry Sage (6:19), who was making his debut for the club after signing from Streatham, and then Jordan Ho (13:08) who scored a shorthanded goal. That was already the Hong Kong international forward’s 13th tally of the season in only his ninth game for the club.

Second Period: The Huskies extended their lead to 8-2 midway through the second period with goals from Ricky Rutherford and Stuart Appleby, before the Lions made a change of netminders with Naomi Healey relieving James Andrew at the 30 minute mark.

This didn’t stem the flow of Huskies goals however, as Rutherford scored again before Huskies captain Woodford bagged his third and fourth markers of the evening to give the home side a big 11-2 lead going into the final period.

Third Period: It was the Lions who scored the third goal of the last period, as Vinnie Ferrara (42:58) grabbed his second goal of the season with an assist from James Joseph.

But as the Lions tired more and more as the period wore on, the Huskies didn’t let up. The home side scored four more goals through James Pentecost (x2), Matthew Hepburn who completed a hat-trick, and Stephen Woodford who rounded things off with his 5th goal of the night, for a very one-sided final score of 15-3 to Haringey.

Sunday – Lee Valley Lions 4-5 Haringey Huskies (NIHL South 2 Cup – 10/11/2019)

The same two sides then met again at Lee Valley Ice Centre the very next day, this time in NIHL South 2 Cup action. The Lions welcomed back Sin-Hidge, Berry, Miller and Pickering for this game, giving them a much healthier bench size of 17 players. James Andrew once again got the nod between the pipes.

First Period: The Lions definitely showed they had a point to prove, starting the game strongly and putting the Huskies under real pressure. And it was the home side that opened the scoring in the ninth minute, 18-year-old forward Lewis Blore (8:17) getting his first goal of the season after defenceman Oscar Kally – playing just his second game for the Lions – showed great attacking instincts to take the puck into the offensive zone, which led to the goal.

However it was 1-1 just a minute later as James Pentecost equalised for the Huskies; and the visitors then went 2-1 up late in the opening period through former Lions forward Ben Duffy after a defensive breakdown for the home side. The score remained 2-1 at the end of the first period – much improved from a Lions perspective compared to the previous evening.

Second Period: The opening six minutes of the middle period would prove to be crucial in the game, as the Huskies came out very well and scored three more goals through Mark Robinson, Ryan Payne and James Hepburn – all former Lions players – to make it 5-1 to the visitors in the 26th minute.

This would have left some Lions fans feeling a sense of déjà vu and fearing another heavy defeat, but instead the home side raised their game once again, creating several chances and finally getting rewarded in the 39th minute as Simon Jones took a slapshot from the blueline and Joe Berry (38:22) tucked home the rebound on the powerplay, to get the deficit back to 2-5 from a Lions perspective.

Third Period: And the last period would start out very well for the Lions as Ross Sin-Hidge (45:00) celebrated his first game back after a four match ban, scoring a goal on the breakaway after a superb steal from Jordan Sullivan in the Lions defensive zone. This brought the score back to 3-5 with 15 minutes left to play.

The rest of the game was frantic, with chances at both ends; the Lions cut the deficit even further in the 56th minute as Jordan Ho (55:18) tucked the puck home from a tight angle for his 14th goal of the season, making it 4-5 with four minutes to go.

But try as they might, the Lions were not able to score that equalising goal, despite pulling netminder James Andrew for an extra attacker late on. As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions went down to an agonisingly close 5-4 defeat after what was likely their best performance of the season.

Oscar Kally took home the Player of the Game award for the Lions after making a good impression on the blueline, with Stuart Appleby taking home the same award for the visitors.

The Lions are next in action against Peterborough this upcoming Saturday 16th November in league action. Faceoff at Lee Valley Ice Centre will be at 17:30.

Lions Suffer Narrow Road Defeat in Streatham

Streatham Hawks 6-4 Lee Valley Lions (03/11/2019)

The Lee Valley Lions travelled south of the river on Sunday night, visiting the Streatham Hawks for the first time this season. The two sides had met back in September at Lee Valley Ice Centre, with the Hawks skating away with a 9-2 win on the night.

The Lions were missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge (suspended) and Jordan Sullivan for this game. Starting in net for the East London side was James Andrew.

First Period: The Lions came out well in the opening period, creating several chances early on and forcing Streatham netminder John Abbott into some good saves.

The visitors were rewarded for their efforts in the sixth minute, as Robert Cole (5:49, assisted Joe Berry and Jordan Ho) scored his second goal for the Lions in as many games as he tapped home a rebound after a shot from Joe Berry. Also involved in the build-up was Jordan Ho.

As the period wore on, the Hawks had more chances – including a two-minute powerplay as the Lions had too many men on the ice – but Lions goalie Andrew stopped all 11 shots in the period, with Lee Valley taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Second Period: The Hawks came out quickly to start the second period, and equalised just over two minutes in as Ryan Burgess scored after inventive build-up play from former Lions favourite Gus Zimmerman, who is now captain of the Hawks.

Despite a combined total of 33 shots in the period – 18 for the Hawks and 15 for the Lions – there were to be no more goals until the second intermission, with both netminders Abbott and Andrew playing excellently in net for their respective sides.

Third Period: The final period would turn out to be a crazy one, with a combined total of 37 shots being fired at both nets, and eight goals being scored. The Hawks started off the scoring through Ryan Burgess, who used his speed well to get through the Lions backline and fire home to put Streatham 2-1 up.

But the Lions fought back, with Jordan Ho (44:37, assisted Lewis Blore) grabbing his 12th goal of the season in eight matches with a lovely snipe, assisted by Lewis Blore. This made the score 2-2 in the 45th minute, but the Hawks would re-take the lead just 28 seconds later as William Poles put them 3-2 up.

Things would then get worse for the Lions in the 48th minute, with Richie Pickering taking a two minute penalty for cross-checking and Gus Zimmerman scoring a one-timer to make it 4-2. Zimmerman then followed that up with a back-hander six minutes later, putting the Hawks 5-2 up in the 56th minute and seemingly killing the game off.

But the Lions refused to go down without a fight, and got the score back to 5-3 in the 57th minute with a powerplay goal of their own – Joe Berry taking a shot from the blue line and Daniel Tamasauskas (56:38, assisted Joe Berry and Robert Cole), usually a defencemen but stationed in front of the net on the powerplay, tipping the puck home.

And despite Lions forward Ben Margerison taking a two minute penalty for a late hit with just 1:30 to play, it was the Lions who would score next. Joe Berry (59:34, assisted Jordan Ho) took a stretch pass from Jordan Ho, went past two Streatham defencemen and backhanded the puck past Abbott to get the score back to 5-4 with 25 seconds left in the game.

Agonisingly for the Lions, with just 12 seconds left in the game, the Hawks completed the scoring as Isabell Whiteley made it 6-4, killing off all hopes of a late Lions equaliser.

Nonetheless, it was one of the Lions’ best performances of the season so far, and is a good sign of things to come as they search for their first win of the campaign. Player of the game for the Lions was Joe Berry for a goal and two assists, while Isabell Whiteley took home the award for the Hawks.

The Lions are next in action this upcoming weekend with back-to-back games against Haringey. First up is an away league game on Saturday 9th November, followed by a home NIHL South 2 Cup game on Sunday 10th November.

Lions Defeated by Pitbulls in Cup Action

Lee Valley Lions 3-10 Bristol Pitbulls (27/10/2019 – NIHL South 2 Cup)

The Lee Valley Lions continued their NIHL South 2 Cup campaign on Sunday night, as they welcomed the Bristol Pitbulls to Lee Valley Ice Centre for the first of two meetings between the sides this season.

The Lions were missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge and Joe Berry as well as defenceman Simon Jones, and handed a first start between the pipes to netminder Naomi Healey.

First Period: The opening period got off to the worst possible start for the Lions, as they conceded just 1:31 into the game with Richard Hargreaves getting the opening goal for the visitors. The home side didn’t let the early goal get to them though, creating several chances – particularly through Charlie Nichols and Joe Miller – but unable to get the puck past Pitbulls goalie Graeme Bird.

As the period wore on, the Pitbulls created more chances but Healey in the Lions net was equal to them – until the 16th minute when Bristol went 2-0 up through Nathan Darmanin. There would be no more scoring in the first period, with Bristol taking a 2-0 lead into the break.

Second Period: The Lions started the second period on the powerplay with Bristol’s Daniel Williams in the box for interference, and took full advantage of the opportunity as Robert Cole (21:27, assisted Jordan Sullivan) scored his first goal in a Lions jersey to halve the deficit to 1-2, with the assist coming from Jordan Sullivan.

The hosts then started taking too many penalties, with Bristol eventually taking advantage with a powerplay goal from Jordan Jefferies to make it 3-1 in the 29th minute.

And while the Lions had several chances to get back in the game in the latter stages of the second period, with both Tyrone Wells and Jordan Ho going close, it was Bristol who were to get the last goal of the period as Jamie Newton made it 4-1 to the visitors in the 39th minute, and the score would remain that way heading into the final period.

Third Period: A recurring theme for the Lions this season has been third period collapses and, sadly for them, the same would happen in this game. Bristol scored six goals uninterrupted between the 42nd and 58th minutes to well and truly take the game out of reach of the hosts – Daniel Williams, Adrian Smith (x2), Richard Hargreaves, Zachary Dolphin and Joshua Dolphin doing the damage.

The Lions did have something to cheer in the final two minutes of the game, as Hong Kong international Jordan Ho – usually a forward but filling in as a defenceman for the second game in a row – scored two late markers to narrow the deficit to 10-3. Jordan Sullivan got assists on both of the goals, while Vincenzo Ferrara also got a helper on the last one.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions once again went down to a heavy defeat due to a poor third period, after two good periods to start the game. Man of the Match for the Lions was three assist man Jordan Sullivan, while Adrian Smith took home the award for the Pitbulls.

The Lions are next in action in a league game at Streatham on Sunday 3rd November. Faceoff in South London will be at 18:30.

Depleted Lions Defeated by Mustangs

Lee Valley Lions 4-11 Invicta Mustangs (19/10/2019)

After back-to-back Cup defeats to the Invicta Mustangs, the Lee Valley Lions welcomed the same opponents to East London on Saturday for the first league meeting between the sides this season.

The Lions were out for revenge, but their cause wasn’t helped by a number of first team players being unavailable for the fixture. In the end, a depleted Lions side went down to a tired 11-4 defeat.

With both Daniel Tamasauskas and James O’Brien unavailable for selection, the Lions only had three defencemen available for this game, meaning that forward Vinnie Ferrara dropped back to help bring that number up to four.

The East London side were also missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge (banned after being ejected from last week’s game for fighting), Charlie Nichols and Jordan Sullivan.

First Period: The opening period started off pretty poorly for the Lions, going 2-0 down within the first ten minutes as Harry Blake and Regan O’Neil both scored for the visiting Mustangs.

The Lions hit back in the 16th minute though; forward Joe Berry charged into the zone with the puck and was tripped, and in the ensuing scramble as Berry lay on the ice behind the goal, Jordan Ho (15:12, assisted James Joseph and Ben Margerison) put the puck in the net to halve the deficit to 2-1. The assists went to James Joseph and Ben Margerison, but Berry deserves special mention for starting the move off.

The first period ended with the Lions 2-1 down, having been out-shot 17-14 by the visitors.

Second Period: Lee Valley started the middle period with some 5-on-3 powerplay time, which they couldn’t convert. At the other end, the Mustangs punished them for this as they went 4-1 up within the first five minutes of the period, with goals from Jake Luton and Richard Harris.

The Lions showed good spirit after going 4-1 down though, creating several chances and finally being rewarded in the 31st minute as female forward Leonie Charles (30:58, assisted Ben Margerison) scored her first goal in a Lions jersey with a tight angle shot that got through Mustangs goalie Matthew Passmore’s defences. The assist went to Margerison, who got his second helper of the night.

That brought the deficit back to 4-2, and things would get even better for the Lions five minutes later as Jordan Ho (35:03, assisted Joe Berry) grabbed his second goal of the game – already his ninth of the season in six games – with the assist coming from Berry. This got the score back to 4-3, with the Lions hoping to go into the second intermission just a goal down.

However things would take a turn for the worse with just under two minutes left in the second period, as Jake Luton scored a shorthanded goal for the Mustangs to put the Kent side 5-3 up heading into the intermission.

Third Period: That goal at the end of the second period seemed to be a killer for the already-tiring Lions, who didn’t come out sharply for the third frame at all and were punished by three goals from Michael Stokes, Kevin Lake and Finnley Taylor; putting Invicta 8-3 up.

The Lions’ cause was also not helped by stand-in defenceman Vinnie Ferrara picking up a knock, forcing prolific forward Jordan Ho to make up the numbers at the back rather than playing in his preferred position up front.

Vinnie Ferrara did eventually make it back onto the ice during the third period, and it was him who scored the Lions’ fourth goal of the game (54:40, assisted Jordan Ho and Joe Miller), finishing past Mustangs goalie Passmore on the breakaway after good build-up play from Joe Miller and Jordan Ho.

But the Lions’ small roster was fully exposed towards the end of the game, as a rampant Mustangs side scored three more goals to put the cherry on the cake from their perspective; Jake Luton completed his hat-trick before Thomas Dennis and Richard Harris completed the scoring.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions slipped to a disappointing 11-4 home defeat. Player of the Game for the Lions was the impressive Leonie Charles after her first goal for the club, while hat-trick man Jake Luton took home the award for the Mustangs.

The Lions will be hoping for a better performance – and hopefully for a few of the injured players to be back in action – as they welcome the Bristol Pitbulls to Lee Valley Ice Centre for a Cup game on Sunday 27th October. Faceoff will be at 17:30.