The Lee Valley Lions continued their NIHL South 2 Cup campaign on Saturday, travelling to Kent to take on the Invicta Mustangs.
The Mustangs had downed the Lions 6-3 in East London the previous weekend, so the visitors were out for revenge – but the game wouldn’t go the Lions’ way, as they slipped to a 10-4 loss.
First Period: The Lions, who were missing defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas as well as forwards Joe Berry, Robert Cole and Leonie Charles, had a disastrous start to the game as they went 4-0 down within the first 20 minutes.
Anthony Baskerville opened the scoring for the Mustangs, before Richard Harris bagged a brace and Jake Luton also grabbed a goal for the hosts.
The Lions were also unable to take advantage of three powerplay chances, and thus went into the first break 4-0 behind.
Second Period: Any hopes that the period break would bring an improvement for the East London side were washed away just 13 seconds into the middle frame, as Kevin Lake made it 5-0 for the Mustangs. Things got worse just a couple of minutes later, as Lions forward Tyrone Wells took a two minute penalty plus a ten minute misconduct for boarding, and Aaron Ferris made it a half dozen goals for the Mustangs on the resulting powerplay.
The game settled down for a while after this, with no goals falling in the next ten minutes. When a goal finally did come, it was for the Lions who cut the deficit to 1-6, with Jordan Ho getting his sixth goal of the season with an assist from his namesake Jordan Sullivan.
A few minutes later, the Lions got another goal back as Ross Sin-Hidge scored, assisted by the aforementioned Ho and Sullivan, to bring the score back to 2-6 from the Lions’ perspective.
But they couldn’t keep that positive momentum going for the entire period, as first Richard Harris and then Joseph Bliss scored for the home side to put them 8-2 up going into the final period.
Third Period: The Lions handed a debut to netminder Naomi Healey in the third period, as she replaced starter James Andrew between the pipes. With the Mustangs fielding Lucy Gruber in their net, it meant there were female netminders playing for both sides in the final 20 minutes.
The final period was to be a long and not particularly pretty one, as both teams racked up a combined total of 91 penalty minutes for a variety of infractions.
At the 44 minute mark, Sin-Hidge grabbed his second goal of the game for the Lions, making the score 3-8 from their perspective. Not long afterwards, Mustangs defenceman Jarvis Mewett received 14 penalty minutes for a late hit and a check to the head – but his side hit back just 10 seconds later with a shorthanded goal through Bliss to put them 9-3 ahead.
The Lions then got a 4-on-3 powerplay in the 52nd minute, and converted it through Jordan Ho who scored his second goal of the game and seventh of the season, assisted by Sin-Hidge. This cut the Lions’ deficit to 4-9. Shortly afterwards, the first of two fights in the game kicked off, as Lions defenceman Richie Pickering dropped the gloves and fought with Invicta’s Aaron Ferris.
The scoring for the game was completed in the 57th minute as the Mustangs capped off a 10-4 scoreline with a goal from Anthony Baskerville. But that wasn’t the end of the game’s storylines; Baskerville himself would then drop the gloves and fight with Lee Valley’s Ross Sin-Hidge with just a couple of minutes left in the game. Baskerville would receive four penalty minutes, while Sin-Hidge was tossed from the game to complete a busy night for the forward.
As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions went down to a disappointing 10-4 road defeat in the Cup, in a game with a total of 123 penalty minutes.
The East London side will look to bounce straight back this coming Saturday, as they face the Mustangs for the third week in a row. This time it will be a league game, with the Lions playing at home.
Faceoff at Lee Valley Ice Centre will be at 17:30 on Saturday 19th October.