Lions Bested by Mustangs in First Game of 2020

Invicta Mustangs 7-1 Lee Valley Lions (04/01/2020)

Five weeks after their previous game, the Lee Valley Lions finally returned to action this past weekend as they travelled to Kent to take on an in-form Invicta Mustangs side, in what was both sides’ first match of 2020.

The Mustangs came into this game sitting second in the league, level on points with leaders Haringey, so the Lions knew it would be a tough road game – especially with several key players such as Joe Berry, Jordan Sullivan and Ross Sin-Hidge missing.

Lee Valley handed a debut to former Romford and Chelmsford defenceman Tom Baptist, with James Andrew starting in net.

First Period: The opening ten minutes of the game were tight, with no goals being scored by either side. The Lions went on the powerplay in the 11th minute as Mustangs forward Aaron Ferris went to the box – but rather than capitalising on it, the Lions instead shipped the first goal of the game as Michael Stokes scored short-handed to put the hosts up 1-0.

A couple of fights followed, with both of the O’Brien brothers – James and Harry – involved from the Lee Valley side, as well as Joseph Bliss and Regan O’Neil from the Invicta side.

There would only be one more goal in the opening period, and it went the way of the home side as Daniel Clayton put them 2-0 up heading into the first intermission. The hosts dominated the shots 20-9 in the first period, with Lions netminder James Andrew on good form as he turned away 18 of them.

Second Period: After the Lions successfully killed a minor penalty against James Joseph early in the middle period, the Mustangs struck twice between the 28th and 29th minutes to go 4-0 ahead through Jarvis Mewett and Thomas Mallett – the second of those goals being another short-hander.

But the Lions didn’t let their heads drop, and got on the scoreboard in the 34th minute as Jordan Ho (33:54, assisted Tom Baptist) grabbed his 15th goal of the season in his 15th game to continue his excellent first season for the club, bringing the scoreline back to 4-1. The assist came from Tom Baptist, who grabbed a point on his Lions debut.

However the Lions were not able to grab another in the middle period, and the Mustangs were able to extend their lead to 5-1 with just 1:40 remaining in the period, former Lions defenceman Mewett grabbing his second of the night to put the hosts 5-1 up going into the second break.

Third Period: Despite the fact that the Mustangs were icing a full roster and the Lions were missing several players, the hosts were not able to score any goals for the first 16 minutes of the final period, with James Andrew turning away everything that was thrown at him. It was only in the 57th minute of the game that the Mustangs were able to go 6-1 up through Harry Blake, and Richard Harris would then round out the scoring with just 12 seconds left in the game for a final score of 7-1.

It was a good effort from the Lions in their first game of the calendar year, and should give them hope for the rest of the season to come. Player of the Game for the Lions was James Andrew who stopped 52 of the 59 shots that he faced.

The Lions are next in action on Sunday 12th January, as they welcome the Streatham Hawks to Lee Valley Ice Centre. The game will face off at 17:30.

Lions End 2019 With Road Defeat

Invicta Mustangs 7-2 Lee Valley Lions (30/11/2019)

The Lee Valley Lions travelled to Kent for their final fixture of the calendar year 2019, to take on a high-flying Invicta Mustangs outfit which had won nine games on the bounce coming into this one.

The Lions were missing a host of first team regulars for the game. Defencemen Daniel Tamasauskas, Oscar Kally and Richie Pickering; forwards Joe Berry, Ross Sin-Hidge, Jordan Sullivan and Vincenzo Ferrara; and netminder Naomi Healey were all unable to make the trip, leaving the Lions with 13 skaters plus netminder James Andrew.

First Period: The home side came out with a lot of confidence in the opening period and dominated possession, but Lions goalie James Andrew was on top form and made a number of great saves to keep the game goalless up until the 16 minute mark.

It was in the 17th minute that the Mustangs finally got on the board with a quickfire double, as Regan O’Neil and Joseph Bliss scored within 23 seconds of each other to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

There was to be no further scoring in the first period, with the Mustangs dominating the shots 21-6 against the short-benched Lions, but only managing to score twice thanks to Andrew’s heroics.

Second Period: The Lions came out well to start the second period – in a stark contrast to both of their games last weekend – and halved the deficit to 2-1 just ten seconds in. It was 18-year-old forward Charlie Nichols who grabbed the goal for the Lions, scoring his first goal for the club after moving across from Romford juniors in the summer.

There was barely time to breathe before the Mustangs scored again to make it 3-1 however, with Anthony Baskerville restoring the home side’s two-goal cushion. This advantage was then stretched to 4-1 in the 27th minute as Daniel Clayton got in on the goal-scoring action.

The Lions didn’t let their heads drop though, and got the scoreline back to 4-2 in the 33rd minute as Robert Cole scored a powerplay goal, with an assist from Jordan Ho. It was Cole’s fifth goal for the club in just his seventh game, as he continues to show goalscoring prowess in front of net.

There was to be just one more goal in the middle period and it went the Mustangs’ way, Baskerville grabbing his second of the night in the final minute of the period. Once again the home side dominated the shots, putting 29 shots on James Andrew in the period – with the Lions netminder once again proving to be on fine form as he made 26 saves to keep the score at 5-2.

Third Period: It wouldn’t have been a surprise if the short-benched Lions struggled in the last period, but they put in a strong defensive performance – once again led by Andrew between the pipes – to keep the scoreline fairly tight right to the end.

It took ten minutes of the period before the Mustangs could score again, when Richard Harris made it 6-2; and it was not until the 55th minute that Invicta wrapped up the scoring as Michael Stokes made it 7-2.

There were quite a few penalties towards the end of the game, with the Lions getting several powerplay chances; but the weary visitors were unable to take advantage, and as the final buzzer sounded on the calendar year 2019, they went down 7-2 in Kent.

Man of the Match for the Lions was goalscorer Cole, while netminder Andrew deserves special credit for stopping 62 of the 69 shots that he faced.

The Lions now have an extended five-week break, before facing off against the same opponents away from home on Saturday 4th January 2020. Faceoff at Planet Ice Gillingham for that game will be at 17:15.

Double-Header Weekend to Forget for the Lions

Last weekend was one to forget for the Lee Valley Lions. They lost 7-2 on the road to the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms thanks to one poor period of hockey, before a very disappointing 0-10 home defeat to the Bracknell Wasps the next day. Their wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Saturday – Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms 7-2 Lee Valley Lions (23/11/2019)

Having lost 7-2 at home to the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms the previous Sunday, the Lions were out for revenge just six days later in an away fixture. The East London side were missing forwards Leonie Charles, Robert Cole and Joe Berry for the game, as well as defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas. Getting the start in goal was James Andrew.

First Period: The opening period was a tight one, with both teams having chances but no goals being scored until the tenth minute. It was the Phantoms who broke the deadlock at the 9:50 mark as Polish forward Michal Magiera, who had scored a hat-trick against the Lions the previous week, picked up where he left off and bagged a powerplay goal.

But that didn’t deter the Lions, and they were back on level terms less than three minutes later as Tyrone Wells (12:30) scored his first goal in a Lions jersey to tie the scores at one apiece, with the assist coming from Jordan Ho.

And it was the Lions who finished the first period on a high, scoring in the 18th minute to go 2-1 up. The goal came from Jordan Sullivan (17:32), the former Lee Valley junior forward finally scoring his first goal for the senior side in his 30th game for the club. The assist came from Richie Pickering.

Second Period: After having played such an impressive first period, it all unravelled for the Lions in the middle frame as Peterborough scored five unanswered goals to go 6-2 up by the intermission. The goals for the Phantoms came from Kieran Raynor, Ryan Winters, and a hat-trick from former Lee Valley forward Bailey Wootton.

Third Period: The Lions recovered well in the third period, playing well despite the scoreline being against them and putting Phantoms netminder Luke Clark under pressure with several chances.

But it was the Phantoms who scored the only goal of the final period, Taylor Romeo grabbing a powerplay goal to wrap up the scoring. The game finished 7-2 to Peterborough, with the Lions rueing the poor middle period that they had lost 5-0, which really killed the game off as a contest.

Sunday – Lee Valley Lions 0-10 Bracknell Wasps (24/11/2019)

The Lions returned to action less than 24 hours later at home, as they welcomed the Bracknell Wasps to Lee Valley Ice Centre. When the two sides last met in September in Bracknell, it was a thrilling game that the Lions lost on penalty shots after 65 minutes of action couldn’t separate the sides.

The home side were missing Ross Sin-Hidge and Oscar Kally, who both picked up injuries the previous evening in Peterborough, as well as Leonie Charles and Joe Berry for the clash with the Wasps.

First Period: The Lions came out well in the opening period, peppering young Wasps netminder Rory Edwards with a number of dangerous shots – but they were unable to find the target.

At the other end, the Wasps scored a powerplay goal through player-coach Danny Hughes, followed by a goal just 28 seconds later through Brandon Martin-Digby, to go 2-0 up in the 13th minute.

And despite out-shooting the Wasps 18-9 in the first period, it was the Lions who went into the first intermission trailing by two goals.

Second Period: The middle period of this game was a carbon copy of the previous night’s effort, as the Lions again conceded five unanswered goals to kill off the game as a contest.

The Wasps got goals from Hughes, Scott Anda, Mark Austen, Casey Wilson and Bailey Hind-Pitcher, while some impressive saves from Lions netminder James Andrew prevented the scoreline from getting even uglier.

The home side did have their chances, getting ten shots on Wasps goalie Edwards, but again they were unable to put any pucks past the 17-year-old netminder and went into the second intermission trailing 0-7.

Third Period: The home side came out with more energy for the third period, putting a lot more shots on the Wasps net and looking a lot more dangerous. But nothing was coming off for them, and they remained scoreless.

Meanwhile the Wasps added three more goals to reach double figures, with Hughes scoring two more goals to reach his hat-trick and Hind-Pitcher grabbing his second.

Naomi Healey, who relieved James Andrew in the Lions net at the start of the third period, made some good saves in the closing stages, as did Edwards in the Wasps net as he managed to secure a shutout.

Tensions boiled over towards the end, with Lions forward Lewis Blore involved in two separate tussles; first with Brandon Martin-Digby, for which both players sat two penalty minutes, and then with Scott Anda, for which Blore was tossed from the game late on. Lions forward Jordan Sullivan also suffered a nose injury late in the game and didn’t return.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions had gone down to a very disappointing 0-10 home defeat, as their wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Vincenzo Ferrara took home the Player of the Game award for the Lions after a hard-working game, with shutout hero Rory Edwards taking home the same award for the visitors.

The Lions complete their fixtures for the calendar year 2019 this upcoming Saturday 30th November, as they face the in-form Invicta Mustangs in league action away from home. Faceoff in Kent will be at 17:15.

Promising Performance in Peterborough Defeat

Lee Valley Lions 2-7 Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms (16/11/2019)

The Lee Valley Lions welcomed the Peterborough NIHL2 Phantoms to East London on Saturday night for the first of four meetings between the two sides this season. And while the Lions would slip to a 7-2 defeat, it was another promising performance to follow up on the previous Sunday’s tight defeat to league leaders Haringey.

The Lions were able to ice 18 skaters, with only Daniel Tamasauskas and Lewis Blore missing out, and James Andrew started in goal. The Phantoms also brought a big bench, with 19 skaters and netminder Jack Peacock.

First Period: The first period got off to a frantic start with chances and penalties on both sides. In the fourth minute, both the Lions’ Robert Cole and the Phantoms’ Michal Magiera were in the penalty box when Peterborough forward Bailey Wootton took advantage of the extra space on the ice to score on the breakaway past Lions netminder James Andrew, giving the visitors the lead.

Lions forward Joe Berry then had a good chance to equalise and shot just wide, before the Phantoms doubled their lead in the 11th minute with a powerplay goal through Jordan Liddell. This came after the Lions had killed almost four minutes of penalties, first against James Joseph and then against Harry Sage.

The home side bounced back before the first period was over though with a powerplay goal of their own, Robert Cole (17:23, assisted Harry Sage) finishing past Phantoms netminder Peacock in the 18th minute with an assist from Harry Sage. The first period ended with the Lions trailing 1-2, with Peterborough narrowly edging the shots on goal for the period by a margin of 17-14.

Second Period: It was a cagey beginning to the middle stanza, with neither side getting on the scoreboard in the opening seven minutes of the period – although both teams did have their chances.

It was a quickfire double from Peterborough’s Polish import Michal Magiera that turned the tide in the game, as the 19-year-old scored in the 28th and 30th minute to put his side 4-1 up.

The Lions fought back though as Cole (37:20) scored his second goal of the evening in the 38th minute, as he scored an unassisted goal.

But it was the Phantoms who would have the last laugh at the end of the second period, Wootton scoring his second of the night with just 1:33 left in the frame to put the Phantoms 5-2 up and give them an edge going into the second intermission. Shots on goal in the middle period were once again close, with the Phantoms edging them by a margin of 14-12.

Third Period: The final period was split down the middle in terms of shots on goal, with each side having 15, but the Lions struggled to put the puck in the net as they found 20-year-old Peacock on strong form in the visiting net.

It was Peterborough who grabbed the first goal of the period in the 46th minute, as Magiera completed his hat-trick, before things all got a bit heated a minute later with Lee Valley’s Harry Sage and Peterborough duo Ryan Winters and Storm Lister all heading to the penalty box at the same time.

The Phantoms completed the scoring for the night in the 51st minute as Liddell grabbed his second of the evening, effectively putting the game to bed.

There were still chances for the home side to get back into the game, but they couldn’t quite convert and as the final buzzer sounded, the Phantoms travelled back up to Peterborough with a 7-2 win. Nonetheless it was another encouraging performance for the Lions as they search for their first win of the season.

Man of the Match for the home side was Robert Cole after he scored a brace, while hat-trick hero Michal Magiera was Man of the Match for the Phantoms.

The Lions are in action twice next weekend; first travelling up to Peterborough for an immediate rematch with the Phantoms on Saturday 23rd November (7pm faceoff), before welcoming the Bracknell Wasps to Lee Valley Ice Centre on Sunday 24th November for a 5:30pm faceoff.

Rollercoaster Derby Double-Header Weekend for Lions

It was a truly up-and-down weekend for the Lee Valley Lions, as they followed up a heavy 15-3 away defeat at Haringey with an extremely tight 5-4 home defeat against the same opposition just 24 hours later.

Saturday – Haringey Huskies 15-3 Lee Valley Lions (09/11/2019)

The Lions were missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge (last game of his suspension), Robert Cole, Joe Berry, Joe Miller and Harry O’Brien for Saturday’s road game, as well as defenceman Richie Pickering. Getting the start in net for the Lions was James Andrew.

First Period: The league-leading Huskies, who are yet to lose a league game this season, started off like a house on fire as they racked up six goals in the first period of play through Stephen Woodford (x2), former Lions forward Matthew Hepburn (x2), Lee Mercer and Luke Martin-Digby.

At the other end, the Lions managed to bag two goals in the opening period; firstly through Harry Sage (6:19), who was making his debut for the club after signing from Streatham, and then Jordan Ho (13:08) who scored a shorthanded goal. That was already the Hong Kong international forward’s 13th tally of the season in only his ninth game for the club.

Second Period: The Huskies extended their lead to 8-2 midway through the second period with goals from Ricky Rutherford and Stuart Appleby, before the Lions made a change of netminders with Naomi Healey relieving James Andrew at the 30 minute mark.

This didn’t stem the flow of Huskies goals however, as Rutherford scored again before Huskies captain Woodford bagged his third and fourth markers of the evening to give the home side a big 11-2 lead going into the final period.

Third Period: It was the Lions who scored the third goal of the last period, as Vinnie Ferrara (42:58) grabbed his second goal of the season with an assist from James Joseph.

But as the Lions tired more and more as the period wore on, the Huskies didn’t let up. The home side scored four more goals through James Pentecost (x2), Matthew Hepburn who completed a hat-trick, and Stephen Woodford who rounded things off with his 5th goal of the night, for a very one-sided final score of 15-3 to Haringey.

Sunday – Lee Valley Lions 4-5 Haringey Huskies (NIHL South 2 Cup – 10/11/2019)

The same two sides then met again at Lee Valley Ice Centre the very next day, this time in NIHL South 2 Cup action. The Lions welcomed back Sin-Hidge, Berry, Miller and Pickering for this game, giving them a much healthier bench size of 17 players. James Andrew once again got the nod between the pipes.

First Period: The Lions definitely showed they had a point to prove, starting the game strongly and putting the Huskies under real pressure. And it was the home side that opened the scoring in the ninth minute, 18-year-old forward Lewis Blore (8:17) getting his first goal of the season after defenceman Oscar Kally – playing just his second game for the Lions – showed great attacking instincts to take the puck into the offensive zone, which led to the goal.

However it was 1-1 just a minute later as James Pentecost equalised for the Huskies; and the visitors then went 2-1 up late in the opening period through former Lions forward Ben Duffy after a defensive breakdown for the home side. The score remained 2-1 at the end of the first period – much improved from a Lions perspective compared to the previous evening.

Second Period: The opening six minutes of the middle period would prove to be crucial in the game, as the Huskies came out very well and scored three more goals through Mark Robinson, Ryan Payne and James Hepburn – all former Lions players – to make it 5-1 to the visitors in the 26th minute.

This would have left some Lions fans feeling a sense of déjà vu and fearing another heavy defeat, but instead the home side raised their game once again, creating several chances and finally getting rewarded in the 39th minute as Simon Jones took a slapshot from the blueline and Joe Berry (38:22) tucked home the rebound on the powerplay, to get the deficit back to 2-5 from a Lions perspective.

Third Period: And the last period would start out very well for the Lions as Ross Sin-Hidge (45:00) celebrated his first game back after a four match ban, scoring a goal on the breakaway after a superb steal from Jordan Sullivan in the Lions defensive zone. This brought the score back to 3-5 with 15 minutes left to play.

The rest of the game was frantic, with chances at both ends; the Lions cut the deficit even further in the 56th minute as Jordan Ho (55:18) tucked the puck home from a tight angle for his 14th goal of the season, making it 4-5 with four minutes to go.

But try as they might, the Lions were not able to score that equalising goal, despite pulling netminder James Andrew for an extra attacker late on. As the final buzzer sounded, the Lions went down to an agonisingly close 5-4 defeat after what was likely their best performance of the season.

Oscar Kally took home the Player of the Game award for the Lions after making a good impression on the blueline, with Stuart Appleby taking home the same award for the visitors.

The Lions are next in action against Peterborough this upcoming Saturday 16th November in league action. Faceoff at Lee Valley Ice Centre will be at 17:30.