Narrow Road Defeat Ends Lions Cup Season

Bristol Pitbulls 4-2 Lee Valley Lions (NIHL South 2 Cup – 07/03/2020)

The Lee Valley Lions ended their NIHL South 2 Cup campaign on the road last Saturday, as they travelled to Oxford to take on the Bristol Pitbulls. It would prove to be a frustratingly tight defeat for the East London side.

The Lions were missing a host of players for the game; with forwards Leonie Charles, Robert Cole, Joe Berry, Lewis Blore, Charlie Nichols, Joe Miller and Ben Margerison all unavailable, as well as defencemen James Joseph, Richie Pickering and Tom Baptist. Getting the start in net for the Lions was James Andrew.

First Period: The opening period was a close one in terms of shots on goal, with the Lions out-shooting the Pitbulls 13-12. But it was Bristol who opened the scoring in the seventh minute, as Zachary Dolphin grabbed the opening goal of the game.

There was to be no more scoring action until right at the end of the period. Bristol’s Jordan Jefferies and Lions duo Tyrone Wells and Harry Sage all went to the penalty box with just five seconds left before the interval, giving the Pitbulls a powerplay. They converted this with a goal right at the buzzer to go 2-0 up, with Zachary Dolphin getting his second of the night.

Second Period: The Pitbulls dominated the shot count in the second period, but found Lions netminder James Andrew on top form as he turned away almost everything he faced.

It was the visitors who scored the first goal of the middle period, as Rowan Champney (35:16, assisted Ross Sin-Hidge and Simon Jones) grabbed a powerplay goal in the 36th minute with Pitbulls’ Liam O’Connell in the penalty box for roughing.

Unfortunately for the Lions, the Pitbulls fired back with two quick goals of their own to go 4-1 up heading into the second intermission. Firstly it was Giovanni Raffaelli who scored just 43 seconds after the Lions’ opening goal; and then it was the other Dolphin, Joshua, who made it 4-1 just 42 seconds later.

Third Period: The final period was a quiet one in terms of shots and goal, with the Lions scoring the only goal of the period through Jordan Sullivan (48:40, assisted Jordan Ho and Daniel Tamasauskas).

The Lions had two powerplay opportunities in the period but couldn’t make them count, as the Pitbulls held onto their lead right up until the final buzzer to end the Cup campaign for both sides.

The final score was 4-2 to Bristol, with the Pitbulls topping the shots 41-26. Man of the Match for the Lions was netminder James Andrew for his 37 saves.

The Lions have two more league games to come this season, the first of which is in Peterborough this upcoming Saturday 14th March against the Phantoms. Faceoff will be at 7pm.