Following the previous week’s trip to new champions Peterborough Islanders, the Lions were looking to bounce back from the 8-3 loss that saw the hosts secure the title. Lee Valley now faced a double header, first visiting Mallard Road on Saturday before returning to Lee Valley for the first time in 4 games to play the same opponent.
The Lions arrived in the Fens with almost double the players from the previous week. Returning to the team were James & Matt Hepburn, Ben Gillingham, Sam Awoyemi, Chris Fox & Henry Aiken.
1st Period: Lee Valley held off the initial pressure from the hosts but were undone with a loose pass in their opponent’s end allowed Daniel Cetvertak (6:41, assists Conor Pollard, Nathan Pollard), but the Lions responded within two minutes with a tic-tac-toe goal from Ross Sin-Hidge (8:14, assists Alley, Aiken) to tie the game. Peterborough had the edge over the visitors but found James Andrew in fine form, however they broke through again through Jack Escott (17:13, assist Wilson) closing the period at 2-1.
2nd Period: The Islanders retained the majority of possession but were knocked back by a string of outrageous glove saves from Andrew. Lions began to work their way back into the game, but also couldn’t take their chances, despite a couple of powerplay chances. As the period wore on, Lee Valley finally got an equaliser when Ollie (35:00, assists Hounslow, Matt Hepburn) bundled the puck through Dan Lane, leaving the game finely poised at 2-2.
3rd Period: Both teams traded goals early on, first Peterborough’s Nathan Pollard (44:17, assists White, Wallis) put the Islanders in front, before a penalty to Connor Hunter was capitalised on shortly after. Matt Hepburn (PP goal 46:49, assist Glover) forcing home the equaliser. Both teams were going back and forth at this point but it was Peterborough who pounced on a poor turnover on another Lions powerplay, Connor Hunter (SH goal 52:33, assists Bavin, Lane) breaking away to score before Daniel Cetvertak (53:56, assists Conor Pollard, Nathan Pollard) was allowed to skate out of the Lions’ corner to round Andrew to make it 5-3. Lee Valley had a powerplay to close the game but despite good puck possession and pulling their goalie for an extra player, they were unable to find the tying goals.
Final Score: Peterborough Islanders 5-3 Lee Valley Lions
Period Scores: 2-1/0-1/3-1
Shots: Peterborough 53-31 Lee Valley (18-10/20-10/15-11)
Penalties: Peterborough 18-8 Lee Valley
Scorers: Lee Valley – Ollie Glover & Matt Hepburn (1+1), Ross Sin-Hidge (1+0), Nick Alley, Henry Aiken & Lee Hounslow (0+1)
Peterborough – Nathan Pollard (1+2), Daniel Cetvertak (2+0), Conor Pollard (0+2), Jack Escott & Connor Hunter (1+0), James White, Craig Wallis, Dan Lane, Kenny Bavin & Joe Wilson (0+1)
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew 53 shots/5 goals, 90.57%
Peterborough – Dan Lane 31 shots/3 goals, 90.32%
Man of the Match: James Andrew
For the return match in East London, Lee Valley welcomed back Simon Geldart, James Joseph, Oskar Horter and gave a debut to Under 18’s defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas, Whilst Robin Young was unavailable for selection.
1st Period: The game didn’t get off to the same pace that both teams played at the previous evening and it took a while for the visitors to find their groove, eventually though they took the lead through Craig Wallis (9:01, assists Long, Stokes), and from there the Islanders got rolling. Setting up well and moving the puck quickly but unable to score, they did double their lead on the powerplay through Nathan Pollard (PP goal 15:07, assist Conor Pollard) but didn’t take their chances, giving the Lions a lifeline heading into the second.
2nd Period: Lee Valley started this stanza at a faster pace that has served them well throughout the season and had a better grip on the game as a result. They were rewarded when Lee Hounslow (34:42, assist Jones) got the puck at neutral ice and rounded two Islanders for a great individual goal. The Lions took their eyes off the ball though and Peterborough doubled their lead again through Sam Barlow (35:22, assists Raynor, Wallis) to close the period at 3-1 to the league winners.
3rd Period: Both sides needed the next goal to determine the swing of momentum but it was Lee Valley’s miss-control on their powerplay that allowed Kenny Bavin (SH goal 46:20, assist Cetvertak) to capitalise on a turnover. And when the referee didn’t blow the whistle when a puck was stuck under James Andrew, Connor Hunter (50:39, assist Romeo) poked the puck from underneath the Lions’ goalie to score Peterborough’s fifth.
Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 1-5 Peterborough Islanders
Period Scores: 0-2/1-1/0-2
Shots: Lee Valley 32-53 Peterborough (8-25/12-13/12-15)
Penalties: Lee Valley 10-8 Peterborough
Goaltenders: Lee Valley Lions – James Andrew 53 shots/5 goals, 90.57%
Peterborough – Dan Lane 32 shots/1 goal 96.88%
Man of the Match: Henry Aiken
Up next the Lions travel to former champions Chelmsford Warriors in a fixture initially scheduled for Saturday 18/03. This game will now be played this Sunday 19/03.