Lions Vanquished by Phoenix

The Lee Valley Lions ended a run of three away games on the bounce on Sunday as they travelled to Surrey to take on the Guildford Phoenix. The Lions had gone down 2-0 to the Phoenix at home back in September, so hoped to reverse that result in this encounter.

The Lions were able to field a strong side; they were only missing Ben Duffy, Robyn Maby, Jordan Turner and Michael Crosse, giving them 17 skaters as well as netminding duo James Andrew and Brett Shepherd. Lee Valley also welcomed new signing Ashley West to the lineup. Guildford, meanwhile, iced 18 skaters – including former Lions Bailey Wootton and Henry Aiken – plus netminders Sam Calder and Jacob Stoodley.

1st Period: The opening period did not start well for the Lions, which has been a recurring theme this season. Within the first ten minutes they were already 4-0 down as the hosts got off to a perfect start. Phoenix player-coach Andrew Hemmings (3:17, assisted Joe Stephenson) opened the scoring just over three minutes in, with Josh Abbott (4:20, assisted Marcus Mitchell) doubling their advantage just 63 seconds later. The next goal followed before the seventh minute was out as Abbott (6:57, assisted Nick Minhinnick and Hemmings) scored his second of the night; and Abbott (9:26, assisted Hemmings) would complete a hat-trick before the game was even ten minutes old to put the home side in total control.

After the Lions took their timeout, the remaining ten minutes of the first period were a little quieter, with each team getting one powerplay opportunity but being unable to convert. With just 42 seconds left in period one, the Phoenix went 5-0 up as former Lee Valley junior Haydn Wootton (19:16, assisted Bailey Wootton and Scott Greenfield) put the puck past James Andrew. There would be no more scoring on the period, with the hosts taking a 5-0 lead into period two having outshot the East London side 17-12 in the first stanza.

2nd Period: The second period started better for the Lions; they were more solid at the back and kept the scoreline at 5-0 for the first eight minutes of the period. Guilford were able to extend their lead, however, as H. Wootton (28:10,assisted Greenfield) made it 6-0. With Lions captain Nick Alley in the box for slashing, Guildford’s seventh followed on the powerplay as Luke Tull (31:27, assisted H. Wootton and B. Wootton) fired past Andrew. And just three minutes later, the lead was up to 8-0 as Greenfield (34:22, unassisted) scored unassisted.

At this point, the Lions switched netminder to Brett Shepherd; the 17-year-old faced five shots in the next five minutes, conceding one goal as Jacob Rondeau-Smith (37:56, assisted Abbott and Minhinnick) managed to get one past him. The second frame finished with the Phoenix 9-0 up, having led the shot count 17-11 on the period.

3rd Period: The visitors got off to a bad start in the third period as Oliver Glover sat two minutes for elbowing at 41:50; Jonah Stoodley (43:38, assisted Monty Gailer and B. Wootton) scored on the resulting powerplay to bring up a double figure scoreline. After Lions forward Chris Fox and Guildford duo Marcus Mitchell and Jack Woodstock all received minor penalties at 44:33, this put the visitors on the powerplay; however a giveaway by the Lions in their own zone led to Minhinnick (46:07, assisted Abbott) putting the Phoenix 11-0 up with a shorthanded marker.

The scoring eased up in the next 12 minutes, with the score remaining at 11-0 until two quick goals towards the end of the game; first Jonah Stoodley (58:40, assisted Stephenson) completed Guildford’s scoring with their 12th goal of the night, before the Lions got a very late consolation goal through Oliver Glover (59:43, assisted Ben Gillingham and Ross Sin-Hidge) just 17 seconds from time.

The final score of 12-1 was a disappointing one for the Lions; after a strong performance in defeat to Bracknell the previous weekend, they would have hoped to have kept the scoreline a lot closer in this game. Guildford were ruthless in front of goal and took their chances, while the Lions were not able to take the chances that they created. Next up for Lee Valley is a crucial tie with Slough on Sunday 21st January, as the Lions finally return home after a seven week gap since their last home game.


Final Score: Guildford Phoenix 12-1 Lee Valley Lions

Period Scores: 5-0/4-0/3-1

Shots: Guildford Phoenix 48-30 Lee Valley Lions (17-12/17-11/14-7)

Penalty Minutes: Guildford Phoenix 8-12 Lee Valley Lions

Scorers: Guildford – Joshua Abbott (3+2), Haydn Wootton (2+1), Andrew Hemmings (1+2), Nicholas Minhinnick (1+2), Scott Greenfield (1+2), Bailey Wootton (0+3), Jonah Stoodley (2+0), Joe Stephenson (0+2), Jacob Rondeau-Smith (1+0), Luke Tull (1+0), Montgomery Gailer (0+1), Marcus Mitchell (0+1)

Lee Valley – Oliver Glover (1+0), Ross Sin-Hidge (0+1), Ben Gillingham (0+1)

Goaltenders: Guildford – Sam Calder (60:00 played, 30 shots/1 goal against)

Lee Valley – James Andrew (34:22 played, 29 shots/8 goals against); Brett Shepherd (25:38 played, 19 shots/4 goals against)

The Lions are next in action at home to the Slough Jets on Sunday the 21st of January. Faceoff at the Den is at 5:30pm.

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