The Lions played two road games last weekend, making short journeys to Haringey on Saturday to take on the Hornets, and Romford on Sunday to take on the NIHL2 Raiders.
Saturday at Haringey
The Lions arrived at Alexandra Palace with 15 skaters – missing were Jack Ball, Ben Gillingham, Joe Trotter, Joe Weare and Gus Zimmerman. Starting in goal was James Andrew.
First Period – For the second game in a row, the Lions were stung by a soft early goal as Haringey struck first through Gheorghe Dragomir (0:32). Following this early shock, the Lions battled back well and played one of their best periods of the season to date, creating several chances but not finding a way past David Wride in the Haringey net. And the Huskies made them pay late in the period as Dragomir (17:12) got his second of the night following a Lions defensive breakdown, with the Huskies leading 2-0 going into the first intermission.
Second Period – The Lions started the second period well and created a few opportunities, but as the period wore on the Huskies started to dominate possession more and created more chances of their own. The visitors also ran into penalty trouble, taking four minor penalties on the period, and the Huskies punished them with two powerplay goals as well as an even-handed marker – all three coming through Stephen Woodford – to lead 5-0 after two periods.
Third Period – The Lions came into the last period looking to get some goals back and make a game of it, but instead seemed to lose their energy and focus as the home side exerted their dominance and scored seven further goals. Stuart Appleby, Ricky Rutherford (x2), Ashlee Cave, Mark Robinson, Bryn Griffiths and Ben Osborne all did the damage as the Huskies ran rampant and pushed the score up to 12-0. Two of those goals came when the Huskies were shorthanded, while Robinson’s marker was on the powerplay.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions were left to rue the chances they didn’t take in the first two periods, as well as a disastrous third period in which they conceded seven goals. Man of the Match for the Lions was Michael Jacobs.
Final Score: Haringey Huskies 12-0 Lee Valley Lions
Period Scores: 2-0/5-0/7-0
Shots: Haringey Huskies 64-22 Lee Valley Lions (17-9/23-6/24-7)
Penalty Minutes: Haringey Huskies 32-20 Lee Valley Lions
Scorers: Haringey – Gheorghe Dragomir 2+3, Stephen Woodford 3+1, Mark Robinson 1+2, Ricky Rutherford 2+0, Stuart Appleby 1+1, Ben Osborne 1+1, Bryn Griffiths 1+0, Ashlee Cave 1+0, Jack Lee 0+1, David Wride 0+1, Sebastian Downing 0+1
Goaltenders: Haringey – David Wride (60:00 played, 22 shots/0 goals against)
Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 64 shots/12 goals against)
Man of the Match – Michael Jacobs (Lee Valley)
Sunday in Romford
The Lions took an almost identical lineup to Romford as had played in the previous night’s game, with the exception of Nicky Brathwaite who missed out and was replaced by a returning Gus Zimmerman.
First Period – The Lions came out well to start against the NIHL2 Raiders, determined to avoid a one-sided scoreline like that of the previous night. Despite an improved showing however, the Lions came unstuck several times during the period as individual errors cost them several goals. The Raiders scored four goals in the period, Alan Lack, Jake Hall, George Gell and Sam Roberts all getting the scoresheet, while the Lions couldn’t find a way past impressive Raiders netminder Brad Windebank so went into the first break trailing 4-0, despite a relative close shot count of 15-11 in favour of Romford.
Second Period – The following period was more of the same; the Lions hustled and worked hard to create chances but couldn’t beat Windebank, while at the other end, the hosts found ways to capitalise on mistakes and bury the puck. Just like in the first period, the Raiders scored four goals – these coming through Kamil Kinkor, Gell with his second of the night, Matthew Hamilton and Bailey Chittock. The Lions didn’t back down, actually outshooting the Raiders 13-12 during the period, but could not find that elusive goal so trailed 8-0 after two.
Third Period – The Raiders made it 10-0 in the first half of the final period, Ewan Hill scoring the ninth goal of the night and Chittock scoring his second of the evening to put the home side into double figures. The Lions continued to fight hard though, and were rewarded in the 54th minute as Tom Hnilica (53:15, assisted Gus Zimmerman and Joshua Irish) grabbed his fifth goal of the season to finally put the Lions on the board for the weekend and reduce the deficit to 10-1.
There was to be no more scoring in the game, but there was late drama as Raiders captain Sam Roberts checked Lions player-coach James Joseph hard with just four seconds left in the game, receiving a 2+10 for checking to the head for the hit. Lions defenceman Jake Wadge dropped the gloves and stood up for his teammate as he fought with Roberts. This did not affect the outcome of the game however, as the home side came away with a 10-1 win. Joe Berry took home the Man of the Match award for the Lions.
It was a frustrating weekend overall for the Lions; strong first and second periods on Saturday, and a strong third period on Sunday, bookending some disappointing periods of play in between. Next up for the Lions is a home game this coming Sunday against reigning league champions Oxford – faceoff will be at 17:30.
Final Score: Romford NIHL2 Raiders 10-1 Lee Valley Lions
Period Scores: 4-0/4-0/2-1
Shots: Raiders 44-32 Lee Valley Lions (15-11/12-13/17-8)
Penalty Minutes: Raiders 32-6 Lee Valley Lions
Scorers: Raiders –George Gell 2+3, Bailey Chittock 2+1, Ewan Hill 1+2, Kamil Kinkor 1+2, Matt Brown 0+3,Alan Lack 1+1, Sam Roberts 1+1, Matt Hamilton 1+0, Jake Hall 1+0, Thomas Baptist 0+1, Daniel Hitchings 0+1, Tommy Huggett 0+1
Lee Valley – Tom Hnilica 1+0, Joshua Irish 0+1, Gus Zimmerman 0+1
Goaltenders: Raiders – Brad Windebank (60:00 played, 32 shots/1 goal against)
Lee Valley – James Andrew (60:00 played, 44 shots/10 goals against)
Man of the Match – Joe Berry (Lee Valley)