Faltering Lions Allow Tigers Easy Ryde on the Island

Lee Valley Lions travelled south to the Isle of Wight to take on the Wightlink Tigers, hoping to to continue their good form and add to their win over the home side earlier in the season. Missing from the Lions’ line-up were James Hepburn, Romanas Fedotovas, Max Gerstein and Adam Peach.

First Period: The small island rink was a problem for the visitors early on as the Tigers found themselves on top of the match. Several chances cropped up for the home side but the Lions’ defence battled well early on. Eventually though the pressure told and Joseph Denness (8:18, assist Ricketts) put the Tigers on the scoreboard. Lee Valley responded well to the goal and began to up the ante on the hosts, the small surface aiding the occurrence of some notable hits from both sides. After a quick turnover in their own zone, Joe Berry (11:26, assist Yufit) found himself in alone on goalie Aaron Craft where he calmly scored the equaliser. Chances went both ways but the Tigers found themselves on the good side of the officials when a bundle on Aaron Mallet’s net found the Tigers celebrating amidst confusion amongst the away side, who believed the puck hadn’t crossed the line. The referees gave the goal in the end and the period finished 2-1 to Wightlink.

Second Period: Things couldn’t have started worse for Lee Valley; a breakdown in communication saw the Tigers double their lead courtesy of Sean Richardson (21:53, assists MacFarlane and Wyatt). Lee Valley started to come back into the match; Theo Abban forced a last-ditch save from Craft and the Lions also hit the post. One Tiger found himself open in front of a sprawled Mallet but the Lions’ netminder denied him with a huge glove save. Neither side could find a way through despite the spring of chances and the Tigers kept their two-goal cushion going into the third.

Third Period: Lee Valley came out knowing that the next goal would be crucial, but it was the hosts who scored as Graham MacFarlane (42:24, assist Wyatt) notched the hosts three goals ahead. Soon after the Tigers scored another; as the Lions failed to capitalise on a powerplay they coughed up the puck and Andrew Robinson (46:09, assist Trendall) latched on to make it 5-1. Tempers started to flare as the visitors’ frustration showed through and not long after Nick Alley was sin-binned for boarding, the Tigers had hit the Lions for six. Sean Richardson (51:11, assist Wyatt) came through with the powerplay goal and a little over a minute later, Wightlink had their seventh through Aaron Edwards (52:23, assist Ricketts and Denness). Lee Valley did pull back a consolation goal when Joe Berry (57:45, assists Hodge and Wootton) was put through for his second breakaway goal, however it was too little too late as the Lions went home empty handed.

Next week sees the first London derby for Lee Valley since 2008, when local rivals Haringey Racers come to the Den. Be sure to follow the Lions on Twitter & Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Period Scores: Wightlink 2-1/1-0/4-1 Lee Valley
Shots on Goal: Not given.
Penalties in Minutes: Wightlink 16-10 Lee Valley
Man of the Match: Theo Abban
Scorers: Lee Valley – Joe Berry (2+0), Gennadi Yufit, Richard Hodge & Bailey Wootton (0+1)
Wightlink – Joseph Denness (2+1), Greg Wyatt (0+3), Sean Richardson (2+0), Aaron Edwards & Graham MacFarlance (1+1), Jordan Ricketts (0+2), Andrew Robinson (1+0), Alexander Trendall (0+1)