The Lee Valley Lions suffered another defeat on Saturday night, with a severely short-benched side going down 10-1 to the Bracknell Hornets.
With over half of the roster unavailable to play the game, the Lions were left with just 10 skaters – giving them only two lines each of forwards and defence. The Hornets, meanwhile, were able to ice an almost full roster of 19 skaters.
First Period: Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Lions played a very strong opening period; they showed good defensive discipline in preventing the Hornets from scoring in the early stages. Steve Grout in the Lions goal also came up with some big saves to keep the scores level.
Tempers then flared in the seventh minute, as Lions defenceman James O’Brien and Hornets forward Ben Ealey-Newman dropped the gloves and had a fight. Both players received four penalty minutes for fighting.
It would take until the 16th minute for the home side to score, and it was Ealey-Newman himself who grabbed the goal to put the Hornets 1-0 up. The score would remain that way until the first intermission, with the home side out-shooting the Lions 23-6.
Second Period: The middle period would turn out to be a disastrous one for the Lions. As their short bench started to tire, they took more and more penalties – which the Hornets duly punished, scoring eight unanswered goals between the 24th and 40th minutes. Danny Hughes (three goals), Josh Ealey-Newman, Ben Ealey-Newman, Adam Bicknell, Connor Hutchison and Luke Jackson did the damage for the home side, with three of those goals coming on the powerplay.
The second period would finish 9-0 to the hosts, with a shot difference of 23-3 in favour of Bracknell in the middle frame.
Third Period: The Lions then seemed to find a second wind in the final period, again putting in a disciplined defensive performance and also getting good goaltending from James Andrew, who had come into net in relief of Steve Grout after the seventh Hornets goal.
And it was the East London side who scored next to cut the deficit to 9-1, as Gus Zimmerman buried past Hornets netminder Rory Edwards. Assists came from player-coach James Joseph and captain Simon Jones.
Impressively, the Lions only conceded one goal in the whole of the third period, as Ben Ealey-Newman netted to complete his hat-trick in the 54th minute and make it 10-1. Despite the short bench, the Lions managed to hold on until the end of the game, drawing the final period 1-1 despite a shot disadvantage of 16-5.
It was a performance to be proud of for the Lions players who were able to make the fixture, as they played very well in both the first and third periods, only losing their way for 16 mad minutes in the middle period. Man of the Match for the Lions was goalscorer Gus Zimmerman.
The Lions return home to Lee Valley Ice Centre this upcoming Saturday 9th March as they welcome league leaders Slough to the Den. Faceoff will be at 17:30.
Final Score: Bracknell Hornets 10-1 Lee Valley Lions
Period Scores: 1-0/8-0/1-1
Shots: Bracknell 62-14 Lee Valley (23-6/23-3/16-5)
Penalty Minutes: Bracknell 18-32 Lee Valley Lions
Scorers: Bracknell – Danny Hughes 3+0, Ben Ealey-Newman 3+0, Adam Bicknell 1+2, Matt Jordan 0+3, Josh Ealey-Newman 1+1, William Stead 0+2, Conor Sheehan 0+2, Riley Ikin 0+2, Jakub Fojtik 0+2, Luke Jackson 1+0, Connor Hutchison 1+0
Lee Valley – Gus Zimmerman 1+0, Simon Jones 0+1, James Joseph 0+1
Goaltenders: Bracknell – Rory Edwards (60:00 played, 14 shots/1 goal against)
Lee Valley – Steve Grout (32:15 played, 39 shots/7 goals against); James Andrew (27:45 played, 23 shots/3 goals against)
Man of the Match – Gus Zimmerman (Lee Valley), Danny Hughes (Bracknell)