Double-Header Weekend to Forget for the Lions

Last weekend was one to forget for the Lee Valley Lions. They lost 7-2 on the road to the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms thanks to one poor period of hockey, before a very disappointing 0-10 home defeat to the Bracknell Wasps the next day. Their wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Saturday

Having lost 7-2 at home to the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms the previous Sunday, the Lions were out for revenge just six days later in an away fixture. The East London side were missing forwards Leonie Charles, Robert Cole and Joe Berry for the game, as well as defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas. Getting the start in goal was James Andrew.

First Period: The opening period was a tight one, with both teams having chances but no goals being scored until the tenth minute. It was the Phantoms who broke the deadlock at the 9:50 mark as Polish forward Michal Magiera, who had scored a hat-trick against the Lions the previous week, picked up where he left off and bagged a powerplay goal.

But that didn’t deter the Lions, and they were back on level terms less than three minutes later as Tyrone Wells (12:30) scored his first goal in a Lions jersey to tie the scores at one apiece, with the assist coming from Jordan Ho.

And it was the Lions who finished the first period on a high, scoring in the 18th minute to go 2-1 up. The goal came from Jordan Sullivan (17:32), the former Lee Valley junior forward finally scoring his first goal for the senior side in his 30th game for the club. The assist came from Richie Pickering.

Second Period: After having played such an impressive first period, it all unravelled for the Lions in the middle frame as Peterborough scored five unanswered goals to go 6-2 up by the intermission. The goals for the Phantoms came from Kieran Raynor, Ryan Winters, and a hat-trick from former Lee Valley forward Bailey Wootton.

Third Period: The Lions recovered well in the third period, playing well despite the scoreline being against them and putting Phantoms netminder Luke Clark under pressure with several chances.

But it was the Phantoms who scored the only goal of the final period, Taylor Romeo grabbing a powerplay goal to wrap up the scoring. The game finished 7-2 to Peterborough, with the Lions rueing the poor middle period that they had lost 5-0, which really killed the game off as a contest.

Sunday

The Lions returned to action less than 24 hours later at home, as they welcomed the Bracknell Wasps to Lee Valley Ice Centre. When the two sides last met in September in Bracknell, it was a thrilling game that the Lions lost on penalty shots after 65 minutes of action couldn’t separate the sides.

The home side were missing Ross Sin-Hidge and Oscar Kally, who both picked up injuries the previous evening in Peterborough, as well as Leonie Charles and Joe Berry for the clash with the Wasps.

First Period: The Lions came out well in the opening period, peppering young Wasps netminder Rory Edwards with a number of dangerous shots – but they were unable to find the target.

At the other end, the Wasps scored a powerplay goal through player-coach Danny Hughes, followed by a goal just 28 seconds later through Brandon Martin-Digby, to go 2-0 up in the 13th minute.

And despite out-shooting the Wasps 18-9 in the first period, it was the Lions who went into the first intermission trailing by two goals.

Second Period: The middle period of this game was a carbon copy of the previous night’s effort, as the Lions again conceded five unanswered goals to kill off the game as a contest.

The Wasps got goals from Hughes, Scott Anda, Mark Austen, Casey Wilson and Bailey Hind-Pitcher, while some impressive saves from Lions netminder James Andrew prevented the scoreline from getting even uglier.

The home side did have their chances, getting ten shots on Wasps goalie Edwards, but again they were unable to put any pucks past the 17-year-old netminder and went into the second intermission trailing 0-7.

Third Period: The home side came out with more energy for the third period, putting a lot more shots on the Wasps net and looking a lot more dangerous. But nothing was coming off for them, and they remained scoreless.

Meanwhile the Wasps added three more goals to reach double figures, with Hughes scoring two more goals to reach his hat-trick and Hind-Pitcher grabbing his second.

Naomi Healey, who relieved James Andrew in the Lions net at the start of the third period, made some good saves in the closing stages, as did Edwards in the Wasps net as he managed to secure a shutout.

Tensions boiled over towards the end, with Lions forward Lewis Blore involved in two separate tussles; first with Brandon Martin-Digby, for which both players sat two penalty minutes, and then with Scott Anda, for which Blore was tossed from the game late on. Lions forward Jordan Sullivan also suffered a nose injury late in the game and didn’t return.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions had gone down to a very disappointing 0-10 home defeat, as their wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Vincenzo Ferrara took home the Player of the Game award for the Lions after a hard-working game, with shutout hero Rory Edwards taking home the same award for the visitors.

The Lions complete their fixtures for the calendar year 2019 this upcoming Saturday 30th November, as they face the in-form Invicta Mustangs in league action away from home. Faceoff in Kent will be at 17:15.