Lee Valley were on a winning streak going into their match against Invicta Mustangs. Having won their last two outings on the road at Peterborough and Chelmsford, the Lions were looking to make the most of home comforts. The Lions welcomed new signing, former Romford Fury and Haringey Junior D-man Ryan Payne. George Alley came in for his second start of the season, while the Lions were missing Graham Lewis, Philip Carson and the recently released Calum Heath.
First period: Lee Valley started the match laboriously, failing to clear the puck and get the basics right. Half way through the period, as the visitors started to build up pressure, Nick Alley was hit at the opponents blue line and took exception. Receiving 2 minutes for roughing. The resulting powerplay saw the Mustangs take a deserved lead when former Lion Richard Smith (7:53, assists Dennis and Drake) bundled the puck in after Drake’s initial shot was saved. Less than a minute later Invicta were 2-0 ahead when Smith (8:29, assists Gutridge and Luton) had his shot deflected of a Lions’ stick leaving Alley helpless. Play went back and forth for a while but Lee Valley were still struggling to get a foothold, and as the hosts again failed to clear the puck, Jake Luton (15:15, assists Smith and Gutridge) came from nowhere to pounce on a loose puck, Alley got a piece but it trickled into the net. Leaving the score at 3-0 to the visitors.
Second Period: Alley made way for Aaron Mallet and the Lions came out looking to make amends for the performance in the first with a new found intensity. The short benched Mustangs suddenly found themselves under waves of pressure and it wasn’t long before the Lions were on the scoreboard. James Hepburn won a face-off in the Mustangs’ zone and Romanas Fedotovas (27:30, assist Hepburn) shot almost immediately past Matthew Daubney to pull the hosts back a goal. Lee Valley kept pressing, and shortly after, Richard Hodge (28:45, assists Fedotovas and Hepburn) halved the lead. Wanting to complete the comeback before the period finished, the Lions were relentless in their pursuit of an equaliser, their efforts were finally rewarded when Jack Ball’s shot was picked up on rebound by James Hepburn (38:37, assists Ball and Fedotovas) to tie the game at 3-3 going into the break.
Third Period: Not wanting to let up on the success in the second. Lee Valley were back on top of the visitors forcing a few good saves from Daubney but it wasn’t long before the Lions were finally ahead. Bailey Wootton (43:18, assists Ball and Gerstein) made the most of a rebound in front of net to score his first senior goal for the club. The young line of Nick Alley, Wootton and Gerstein were starting to heap pressure on a tired Invicta side but couldn’t make the pressure tell. As the game wore on though, the Mustangs found a renewed hope that they could tie the match but, Mallet dealt with their shots well. As the Mustangs continued to press, a loss of possession saw Max Gerstein (58:02, assists Alley and Wootton) break away down the ice and bundle the puck in to kill the game off. It wasn’t the last goal though, when Wootton (58:16, assists Gerstein and Alley) tried to pass towards the goal from the corner, the puck took an outrageous double deflection and trickled past a helpless Daubney. It ended there with the Lions completing a tough comeback, keeping their current winning streak going.
Next week the Lions travel to the Isle of Wight to face the Wightlink Tigers.
Period Scores: Lee Valley 0-3/3-0/3-0 Invicta
Shots on Goal: 33 on LV (15 on Alley, 18 on Mallet). 33 on Invicta (Daubeny)
Penalties in Minutes: Lee Valley 6-2 Invicta
Scorers: Lee Valley – Max Gerstein (1+3), James Hepburn & Romanas Fedotovas (1+2), Bailey Wootton (2+0), Nick Alley & Jack Ball (0+2), Richard Hodge (1+0)
Invicta – Richard Smith (2+0), Jake Luton (1+1), Bradley Gutridge (0+2), Thomas Dennis & Matthew Drake (1+0)
Man of the Match: Lee Valley – Bailey Wootton, Invicta – Danny Terry