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.