Lions Defeated by Pitbulls in Cup Action

The Lee Valley Lions continued their NIHL South 2 Cup campaign on Sunday night, as they welcomed the Bristol Pitbulls to Lee Valley Ice Centre for the first of two meetings between the sides this season.

The Lions were missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge and Joe Berry as well as defenceman Simon Jones, and handed a first start between the pipes to netminder Naomi Healey.

First Period: The opening period got off to the worst possible start for the Lions, as they conceded just 1:31 into the game with Richard Hargreaves getting the opening goal for the visitors. The home side didn’t let the early goal get to them though, creating several chances – particularly through Charlie Nichols and Joe Miller – but unable to get the puck past Pitbulls goalie Graeme Bird.

As the period wore on, the Pitbulls created more chances but Healey in the Lions net was equal to them – until the 16th minute when Bristol went 2-0 up through Nathan Darmanin. There would be no more scoring in the first period, with Bristol taking a 2-0 lead into the break.

Second Period: The Lions started the second period on the powerplay with Bristol’s Daniel Williams in the box for interference, and took full advantage of the opportunity as Robert Cole (21:27, assisted Jordan Sullivan) scored his first goal in a Lions jersey to halve the deficit to 1-2, with the assist coming from Jordan Sullivan.

The hosts then started taking too many penalties, with Bristol eventually taking advantage with a powerplay goal from Jordan Jefferies to make it 3-1 in the 29th minute.

And while the Lions had several chances to get back in the game in the latter stages of the second period, with both Tyrone Wells and Jordan Ho going close, it was Bristol who were to get the last goal of the period as Jamie Newton made it 4-1 to the visitors in the 39th minute, and the score would remain that way heading into the final period.

Third Period: A recurring theme for the Lions this season has been third period collapses and, sadly for them, the same would happen in this game. Bristol scored six goals uninterrupted between the 42nd and 58th minutes to well and truly take the game out of reach of the hosts – Daniel Williams, Adrian Smith (x2), Richard Hargreaves, Zachary Dolphin and Joshua Dolphin doing the damage.

The Lions did have something to cheer in the final two minutes of the game, as Hong Kong international Jordan Ho – usually a forward but filling in as a defenceman for the second game in a row – scored two late markers to narrow the deficit to 10-3. Jordan Sullivan got assists on both of the goals, while Vincenzo Ferrara also got a helper on the last one.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions once again went down to a heavy defeat due to a poor third period, after two good periods to start the game. Man of the Match for the Lions was three assist man Jordan Sullivan, while Adrian Smith took home the award for the Pitbulls.

The Lions are next in action in a league game at Streatham on Sunday 3rd November. Faceoff in South London will be at 18:30.