On 20 September the Lions entertained Haringey Racers in their first league game of the season, following on from two good performances against Peterborough and Chelmsford.
Lee Valley opened the scoring through James Scott-Joseph, when the Haringey netminder dropped Scott-Joseph’s shot from the blue line into his own net. This was quickly followed by a second from Ben Duffy, unassisted on the power-play. At this point, with only 4 mins gone, it looked like the quicker, hungrier Lions were going to run away with this game, but Haringey débutante Joshua Ealey-Newman had other ideas. He netted the first of his four goals at 17:03 to bring the Racers into the game. However, the Lions failed to be unnerved and responded less than 20 seconds later through Chris Fox, assisted by Nick Alley and Matthew Hepburn, to restore the two-goal advantage.
Then came the defining moment in the game -a brawl involving all ten on-ice players which curiously resulted in all ten players being given 2+2 penalties for roughing. This seemed to take the wind out of the Lions’ sails and Haringey dominated the remaining couple of minutes of the period, scoring just before the break to end the period Lions 3 Racers 2.
In the second period it seemed as if the Lions were just holding on and the Racers had the better of the possession. James Tipple appeared a little rattled by some of the Racers’ tactics around the net, but in spite of this the Lions maintained parity, ending the period with two scores apiece and keeping the game tight. Josh Ealey-Newman completed his hat-trick for Haringey with two lovely solo goals either side of efforts from Chris Fox and Ben Duffy for the Lions.
Whatever was said in between the second and third periods really had an effect on the Lions, who came out with a passion and purpose. The Lions opened up a 7-4 lead with a pair of breakaway goals clinically finished by Nick Alley. Once again it looked like the Lions were going to run away with this game but Haringey rallied with two quick strikes from Ricky Mills and Ealey-Newman to set up a tight finish. Despite throwing everything at James Tipple in the Lions’ goal the home team held on for a priceless win over their nearest and fiercest rivals.
Lions’ scoring: Nick Alley 2+1, Chris Fox 2+0, Ben Duffy 2+0, James Joseph 1+0, Harry Bishop 0+1, Matthew Hepburn 0+1, James Gosling 0+1
Racers’ scoring: Josh Ealey-Newman 4+0, Drew Campbell 1+1, Ricky Mills 1+0, Mark Saunders 0+1, Daniel Clayton 0+1
Shots on goal:
On James Tipple (Lions) – 42.
On Niks Trapans (Racers) – 31.
Lions’ Man of the Match: James Tipple
Racers’ Man of the Match: Josh Ealey-Newman