Lions Top Fellow Cats in Tight Contest

Lee Valley travelled to Swindon NIHL Wildcats this past Saturday, looking to bounce back from their poor performance in Basingstoke. Missing from the squad were James Hatfull, Max Gerstein, James Joseph and the under 18s, who were at home… to Swindon.

First Period: Neither side was able to gain the upper hand as the game started, with teams almost playing each other out of the game. There were no penalties until Graham Lewis took a clumsy hooking penalty eleven minutes in; the visitors defended well and killed off the penalty. Eventually the Lions began to pressure Kevin McGurk in the Swindon goal; Gennadi Yufit sent Theo Abban in but the ref lost sight of the puck and blew his whistle just as Yufit banged in the rebound. Despite ramping up the pressure the period ended scoreless.

Second Period: Lee Valley picked up the pace in the second, and the chances were closer and closer each time. Eventually Romanas Fedotovas (24:44, unassisted) picked up his own rebound and dumped the puck in the net to give the visitors a deserved lead and it wasn’t long before the score was doubled. A small skirmish formed in front of the Lions’ net which saw James Gosling drop the gloves with Nathan Chilcott (both receiving 2+2 for roughing) and Ryan Richards also go for roughing. The Lions took advantage of the resulting powerplay when Theo Abban (29:42, assist Yufit) tipped in a brilliantly faked shot from Gennadi Yufit to put Lee Valley 2-0 up. Despite their dominance, the Lions couldn’t add to their total and a lack of discipline saw Jack Ball sit for cross-checking. Swindon capitalised on the resulting powerplay when Luke Merrick (35:44, assists Sullivan and Taylor) found himself open and free to slot the puck past Aaron Mallet to halve the lead. The physicality went up a notch with both teams making big hits, but neither side could add to the scoreboard and the period ended 2-1.

Third Period: The Lions kept their momentum going with the visitors going close on several occasions. As the period drew on, the hosts began to lose their discipline and tempers came to a fore when Shannon Taylor was thrown from the game for abuse of an official. The Lions though were able to close the game out and come away with their first away win for two seasons.

Period Scores: Swindon 0-0/1-2/0-0 Lee Valley
Shots on Goal: on McGurk (Swindon) 55. On Mallet (Lee Valley) 43
Penalties in Minutes: Swindon 42-12 Lee Valley
Scorers: Swindon – Luke Merrick (1+0), Daniel Sullivan & Shannon Taylor (0+1)
Lee Valley: Romanas Fedotovas & Theo Abban (1+0), Gennadi Yufit (0+1)
Man of the Match: Swindon – Kevin McGurk, Lee Valley – Aaron Mallet

Our next fixture is also our last before the Christmas break when Cardiff come to the den on Saturday, December the 7th. Face off at 5:15.

You can view highlights of the game courtesy of Swindon HERE.

You can also follow the Lions on Twitter and Facebook.