Lions Bested by Mustangs in First Game of 2020

Invicta Mustangs 7-1 Lee Valley Lions (04/01/2020)

Five weeks after their previous game, the Lee Valley Lions finally returned to action this past weekend as they travelled to Kent to take on an in-form Invicta Mustangs side, in what was both sides’ first match of 2020.

The Mustangs came into this game sitting second in the league, level on points with leaders Haringey, so the Lions knew it would be a tough road game – especially with several key players such as Joe Berry, Jordan Sullivan and Ross Sin-Hidge missing.

Lee Valley handed a debut to former Romford and Chelmsford defenceman Tom Baptist, with James Andrew starting in net.

First Period: The opening ten minutes of the game were tight, with no goals being scored by either side. The Lions went on the powerplay in the 11th minute as Mustangs forward Aaron Ferris went to the box – but rather than capitalising on it, the Lions instead shipped the first goal of the game as Michael Stokes scored short-handed to put the hosts up 1-0.

A couple of fights followed, with both of the O’Brien brothers – James and Harry – involved from the Lee Valley side, as well as Joseph Bliss and Regan O’Neil from the Invicta side.

There would only be one more goal in the opening period, and it went the way of the home side as Daniel Clayton put them 2-0 up heading into the first intermission. The hosts dominated the shots 20-9 in the first period, with Lions netminder James Andrew on good form as he turned away 18 of them.

Second Period: After the Lions successfully killed a minor penalty against James Joseph early in the middle period, the Mustangs struck twice between the 28th and 29th minutes to go 4-0 ahead through Jarvis Mewett and Thomas Mallett – the second of those goals being another short-hander.

But the Lions didn’t let their heads drop, and got on the scoreboard in the 34th minute as Jordan Ho (33:54, assisted Tom Baptist) grabbed his 15th goal of the season in his 15th game to continue his excellent first season for the club, bringing the scoreline back to 4-1. The assist came from Tom Baptist, who grabbed a point on his Lions debut.

However the Lions were not able to grab another in the middle period, and the Mustangs were able to extend their lead to 5-1 with just 1:40 remaining in the period, former Lions defenceman Mewett grabbing his second of the night to put the hosts 5-1 up going into the second break.

Third Period: Despite the fact that the Mustangs were icing a full roster and the Lions were missing several players, the hosts were not able to score any goals for the first 16 minutes of the final period, with James Andrew turning away everything that was thrown at him. It was only in the 57th minute of the game that the Mustangs were able to go 6-1 up through Harry Blake, and Richard Harris would then round out the scoring with just 12 seconds left in the game for a final score of 7-1.

It was a good effort from the Lions in their first game of the calendar year, and should give them hope for the rest of the season to come. Player of the Game for the Lions was James Andrew who stopped 52 of the 59 shots that he faced.

The Lions are next in action on Sunday 12th January, as they welcome the Streatham Hawks to Lee Valley Ice Centre. The game will face off at 17:30.