Lions faced a tough trip to Slough NIHL Jets on Saturday evening, looking to avenge the 5-2 defeat on the opening day of the season. Still missing were Gennadi Yufit and Max Gerstein whilst James Hatfull was also missing from the line-up. Nick Alley and Theo Abban returned and Jarvis Mewett also stepped up from the Under 18s’ side.
First Period: It didn’t take long for the controversy to start, and the officials were soon facing the wrath of the Lions’ bench when a Jets forward tried to jump around Nick Alley and they went knee-to-knee. As a result of the injury, Alley was thrown from the game only 39 seconds in. With the visitors clearly rattled and frustrated by the decision, Slough were quick to capitalise and were ahead at 1:03 when Zoran Kozic was put through by Joseph Day. Lions settled and worked themselves back into the game, James Hepburn (10:23, assist Fedotovas) taking advantage of a Slough penalty to tie the game. Romanas Fedotovas (15:18, assist given to Ball) then got in on the act when Theo Abban sent him through with a brilliant cross-ice pass, the Lithuanian rounding Laura Saunders. Brandon Miles (15:39, assist Kozic) evened the scores shortly after before Joseph Day went in unassisted at 19:19 to give Slough the lead at the end of the period, ending 3-2.
Second Period: It didn’t take long for the hosts to extend their lead, Nathan Darmanian (23:39, assist Kozic) before Ben Ealey-Newman was put through (25:03, assist Kozic) to make it five. Now having to chase the game, the Lions began to put pressure on the Jets’ goal with Saunders making a couple of big stops. Both sides were letting the officiating get to them and it was a retaliatory roughing call to James Buckingham that gave Lee Valley their opening. The Lions were able to set up in the Slough zone, and good work from James Hepburn allowed Fedotovas to score a screened slap shot from the blue line (28:47, assist Berry and Hepburn). With Lee Valley upping their hitting game, the Jets began to take more penalties. Miles, Kozic and Gilheany all sat after reacting but there were to be no more goals and the period ended 5-3 to Slough.
Third Period: Despite the early powerplay advantage, Lee Valley couldn’t capitalise. As they tried to break out, a loose cross pass from a Lions forward went straight to a waiting Joshua Condren (40:45, unassisted) who went in on Aaron Mallet to put Slough ahead by three. That goal seemed to take the wind out of the Lions’ sails, despite the early niggles and tension between the two sides. The game petered out and apart from a couple of penalties, the Lions weren’t able get back into the match, Saunders and Mallet both making good saves. The Jets eventually saw the game off when Condren (55:29, assists Miles and Griffiths) again broke through the visitors’ defences to end it Slough 7-3 Lee Valley.
Period Scores: Slough 3-2/2-1/2-0 Lee Valley
Shots on Goal: on Saunders (Slough) 38-40 on Mallet (LV)
Penalties: Slough 28-35 Lee Valley
Scorers: Slough – Zoran Kozic (1+3), Joshua Condren (2+0), Brandon Miles & Joseph Day (1+1), Ben Ealey-Newman (1+0), Simon Griffiths (0+1).
Lee Valley – Romanas Fedotovas (2+1), James Hepburn (1+1), Joseph Berry & Jack Ball (0+1)
Next Saturday, the Peterborough Islanders travel to the Den for our first meeting of the season, face off at 5:15pm