Lions Suffer Disappointing Defeat as Wildcats Get Revenge

Swindon look on as Connor Smith shoots on target (photo © John H Lee)

The Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats got revenge for their defeat to the Lee Valley Lions the previous weekend, as they won 12-3 in East London in Saturday’s return game.

The Wildcats welcomed back several players who had missed the previous weekend’s game, while the Lions were missing a few players including Joshua Irish, Ben Gillingham and Joe Berry – who had combined for two goals and four assists in the Lions’ first win of the season.

First Period: The opening stages of the game were disastrous for the Lions, as they fell 0-3 behind within seven minutes with Jason Warren, Eliot Randall and Jack Goodchild all netting for the Wildcats. The scoreline then became 4-0 in the 17th minute as Joseph Llewellyn also scored for Swindon.

This prompted a change of goaltenders for the Lions, with Steve Grout – who had kept a shutout in the previous weekend’s win against the Wildcats – coming into net in place of James Andrew, who had started this game. However, Grout was powerless to stop the Wildcats scoring twice more to take a shocking 6-0 lead into the first break – further goals coming from Eliot Randall and Mason Lipsey. This despite the Lions outshooting the Wildcats 15-12 in the opening frame

Second Period: The middle period was a lot closer, with just the one goal being scored – but unfortunately for the Lions, it was Swindon’s seventh of the evening as Reed Sayers got on the scoresheet for the away side to make it 7-0.

Both sides created numerous chances in the period, with Swindon having 18 shots and the Lions putting 16 pucks on Tyler Perre in the Wildcats net – but Sayers’ marker was to be the only goal of the second period.

Third Period: The final period started horribly for the Lions as they conceded twice within the first 26 seconds to go 9-0 down, goals coming through Jason Warren and Jake Williams.

This seemed to finally wake the Lions up, and they had a mini-revival between the 43rd and 47th minutes – scoring three goals to reduce the deficit to 9-3. Firstly, good build-up play from Gus Zimmerman led to a shorthanded goal by Tom Hnilica (42:42, assisted Zimmerman); then Alex Clarke (45:25, assisted Yasin Sridhar and Dexter Crawford) scored his second goal in as many games after good work in front of the net by Sridhar; and finally Michael Jacobs (46:14, assisted Zimmerman and Hnilica) scored with a shot that took a deflection off a Wildcats player, although the goal was credited to Zimmerman on the gamesheet.

However, Swindon made it 10-3 soon after through Harry Llewellyn, and Reed Sayers then increased Swindon’s lead to 11-3 just over half a minute later. This prompted a second goaltending change of the evening for the Lions, with Andrew returning to the net in relief of Grout.

There was just one more goal in the remaining 12 minutes of the game, and it was Swindon who had the last laugh as they made it 12-3 in the 58th minute, Eliot Randall sealing his hat-trick.

It was a night to forget for the Lions, as they were soundly beaten by the Wildcats who now sit three points ahead of them in the league table.

The Lions must now regroup to host the Basingstoke Buffalo this upcoming Saturday 9th February – faceoff at Lee Valley Ice Centre will be at 17:30.

*Please note, some stats vary from those on the official game sheet

Final Score: Lee Valley Lions 3-12 Swindon NIHL2 Wildcats

Period Scores: 0-6/0-1/3-5

Shots: Lee Valley 59-42 Swindon (15-12/16-18/28-12)

Penalty Minutes: Lee Valley 34-6 Swindon

Scorers: Lee Valley – Tom Hnilica 1+1, Gus Zimmerman 0+2, Alex Clarke 1+0, Michael Jacobs 1+0, Dexter Crawford 0+1, Yasin Sridhar 0+1
Swindon – Eliot Randall 3+0, Reed Sayers 2+1, Jack Goodchild 1+2, Jason Warren 2+0, Mason Lipsey 1+1, Jake Williams 1+1, Joseph Llewellyn 1+1, Harry Llewellyn 1+1, Ethan Mayoh 0+1, William Harding 0+1

Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew (27:43 played, 16 shots/5 goals against); Steve Grout (32:17 played, 26 shots/7 goals against)
Swindon – Tyler Perre (60:00 played, 59 shots/3 goals against)

Man of the Match – Tom Hnilica (Lee Valley), Eliot Randall (Swindon)