Lee Valley Lions 2-9 Invicta Mustangs (16/02/2020)
After a tough home defeat against league leaders Haringey the previous weekend, the Lee Valley Lions had another difficult game to contend with on Sunday 16th February as they welcomed the Invicta Mustangs to town.
The Mustangs were hunting a victory that would put them level on points with Haringey at the top of the NIHL South East 2 (Wilkinson) standings – a victory they would comfortably take in the end.
The Lions welcomed back top scorer Jordan Ho after he missed the last three games injured, but were missing forwards Joe Berry, Ross Sin-Hidge and Vinny Ferrara, as well as defencemen Joe Gibson and Tom Baptist, for this game. James Andrew started in net for the hosts.
First Period: The first period got off to the worst possible start for the home side as forward Robert Cole went down injured in the opening stages following a collision. Cole, who had scored 11 goals in 13 games prior to this one, did not return to the ice for the remainder of the contest.
The Mustangs followed that up with an early goal as captain Thomas Dennis made it 1-0 in the 4th minute, assisted by Richard Harris. A second goal then followed in the 11th minute, as Wesley Jackson made it 2-0 for the visitors, assisted by Joseph Bliss and Jake Luton.
The home side did create several chances during the opening period, with first Jordan Sullivan and Jordan Ho combining to force Mustangs netminder Matthew Passmore to make a good save, before Simon Jones and Joe Miller did the same.
But there were to be no more goals in the first period, with Lions netminder James Andrew making 13 saves to keep the deficit at a manageable 2-0 going into the first intermission.
Second Period: The Lions came out with tons of energy in the middle period, creating numerous early chances as they looked to get back into the game. Jordan Sullivan, Charlie Nichols and Jordan Ho all had scoring opportunities, while Daniel Tamasauskas and Oscar Kally also had good attempts on the powerplay with Invicta’s Ashley Bushell sitting two penalty minutes for elbowing.
Unfortunately for the hosts, during this powerplay they would give up a goal after a defensive breakdown, as Joseph Bliss scored a shorthander to put the Mustangs 3-0 up in the 31st minute, assisted Regan O’Neil.
However the Lions didn’t let that deter them, and they got back into the game in the 33rd minute as Jordan Sullivan (32:48) finished at the back post after a delightful pass from Jordan Ho, making the score 3-1 in favour of the visitors. It was Sullivan’s second goal of the season, and was also his first home goal for the club. An additional assist went to Daniel Tamasauskas.
The period ended with the Mustangs taking a 4-1 lead with just over two minutes left before the break, as Richard Harris scored with assists from Jake Luton and Michael Stokes.
Third Period: The final period also started off well for the Mustangs, with two goals within the opening five minutes putting the game out of reach at 6-1; first it was Thomas Mallett who scored with an assist from Jack Rowland, before Jake Luton scored just over a minute later, assisted by Joseph Bliss and Jarvis Mewett.
The Lions had a few chances on the powerplay to get back into the game, but after the Mustangs successfully killed a penalty against Aaron Ferris, it was Ferris himself who latched onto a loose puck and scored an unassisted goal past James Andrew to make it 7-1 to the visitors in the 52nd minute.
The hosts were able to get a goal back in the 55th minute as 18-year-old Rowan Champney (54:31) – playing just his second game for the Lions – was fed with another beautiful pass from Jordan Ho, and buried the puck past Mustangs goalie Kieran Wyatt to reduce the deficit to 2-7. Wyatt had come into net in relief of starting netminder Matthew Passmore just a few minutes prior.
The Mustangs wrapped up the game in the last few minutes with two more goals; firstly Richard Harris scored a shorthander in the 57th minute to make it 8-2, before Harris was again on the scoresheet as he scored a penalty shot just one second before the end of the game, making the final score 9-2 in favour of the high-flying Mustangs.
Man of the Match for the Lions was Rowan Champney after scoring his first goal for the club, while Harris took home the award for the Mustangs after scoring a hat-trick.
The Lions are next in action in a double-header over the weekend of Saturday 29th February (away at Haringey)and Sunday 1st March (home to Bracknell). Both of those games will face off at 17:30.