After starting 2017 with a disappointing loss to Bristol, Lee Valley welcomed Chelmsford Warriors to East London for the second time this season. The first game ended in a 7-3 win for the Champions.
Lions boasted a near full strength squad, only missing Robin Young, Joe Weare & Jordan Turner. Chelmsford featured former Lion TJ Fillery, former Chelmsford Chieftain Ross Brears & new addition Bailey Chittock from Lions’ co-tenants London Raiders.
1st Period: After a technical difficulty with the Zamboni, the game started without a resurface. Lee Valley took advantage early on as Henry Aiken (2:45, unassisted) shot from a turnover that was deflected past Billy Cook in the Warriors’ goal. The Lions kept the pressure on and were rewarded again for their hard work, an interception led to a 2-on-1 breakaway and Nick Alley found Ross Sin-Hidge (7:13, assist Alley) with a backhand pass. The momentum stayed with the Lions but Chelmsford were creating chances too. Lions tripled their lead through Chris Fox (14:24, assist Jay Hepburn), and from there the momentum swung in Chelmsford’s favour. The Warriors finished the period strongest and were rewarded when Sean Martin (19:39, assist Boolkah) saw his shot fool James Andrew, giving his side a foothold at the close of the period.
2nd Period: The Warriors had come out to play and began to create chance after chance early on, not helped by Ross Sin-Hidge being given a 10 minute penalty for illegal equipment. Chelmsford were forcing mistakes from the Lions and reduced the lead to one after Lee Valley failed to clear the zone, Thomas Wilson (26:43, unassisted) with the solo goal. Smelling blood, Chelmsford continued to pepper Andrew and a turnover in the neutral zone saw a goal from Gary Brown (29:56, assist Polston). Lions called a timeout and began to re-assert themselves into the game, drawing a penalty from Ethan Boolkah for Hooking. The resulting powerplay lasted only 22 seconds when Ross Sin-Hidge (PP goal 33:35, assists Alley, Aiken) fired a wrist shot past Cook from the blue line to give Lions the lead once more. Both teams went close again, Chelmsford hitting the post and Nick Alley having another powerplay goal disallowed for a player in the netminder’s crease. With 8 seconds left, a quick breakaway saw Nick Alley (39:52, assist Geldart) fan on a shot that trickled past Cook to restore the Lions’ two-goal lead going into the 3rd.
3rd Period: Chelmsford were determined to keep themselves in touching distance, and were back within one goal almost immediately, Gary Brown (41:34, assists Campbell, Fillery) the recipient of good play from the visitors. Chelmsford had the better of the possession but they were being reduced to mostly long-range efforts, although they came close on a couple of occasions. With the game finely poised, neither side was able to break through until very late in the game when Chris Fox (56:24, assists James Hepburn, Matt Hepburn) found the net. The resulting celebration saw James Andrew penalised for leaving the blue zone, giving a Chelmsford a powerplay but Lee Valley were able to kill it off. The Warriors then pulled their goalie to keep the man advantage but again, the Lions withstood the pressure to pick up their first win since October.
Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 6-4 Chelmsford Warriors
Period Scores: 3-1/2-2/1-1
Shots: Lee Valley 32-41 Chelmsford (11-11/10-12/11-18)
Penalties: Lee Valley 14-14 Chelmsford
Scorers: Lee Valley – Nick Alley (1+2), Chris Fox & Ross Sin-Hidge (2+0), Henry Aiken(1+1), James Hepburn (0+2), Simon Geldart & Matt Hepburn (0+1)
Chelmsford – Gary Brown 2+0, Thomas Wilson & Sean Martin (1+0), Donald Campbell, TJ Fillery, Will Polston & Ethan Boolkah (0+1)
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew 41 shots/4 goals, 90.24%
Chelmsford – Billy Cook 32 shots/6 goals, 81.25%
The Lions are back in action today against the Wightlink Buccaneers in a challenge match at Lee Valley Ice Centre.
Face off is at 5:30pm and entrance to the game is free.
Ticket and travel information can be found in the Game Day section of our website.