After four and a half months of waiting, the Lee Valley Lions finally hit the ice for the first time since April, as they travelled south of the river to face NIHL South 1 side Streatham IHC in a challenge game. Streatham had strengthened significantly over the summer, with former EPL stars Adam Carr, Ryan Watt and Michael Farn all signing up for the new campaign, so the match was sure to be a stern test for head coach George Alley’s side.
The Lions were missing Simon Geldart, Ben Duffy, Lee Hounslow, Jordan Turner and Matt Brown, while netminder Brett Shepherd played for his parent club Streatham. New signings Robyn Maby and Michael Crosse featured for the Lions, as did a quintet of guest players drafted in from fellow NIHL South 2 side the Invicta Mustangs: Jake Luton, Lucy Gruber, Anthony Baskerville, Tom Dennis and Michael Stokes.
1st Period: Streatham took a while to shake off the off-season rust, and the Lions were able to contain them early on and prevent them from creating many clear cut chances. When the South Londoners did get shots on net, James Andrew was equal to the task, the Lions netminder making several stunning stops. Lions captain Nick Alley also forced Streatham netminder Matt Colclough into a save early on. As the period wore on, Streatham started to click and they finally managed to break the deadlock at 13:43, Aidan Doughty (unassisted) burying the puck past Andrew. With just over a minute to go before the intermission, Streatham doubled their advantage when Ryan Watt (18:59, unassisted) raced through on the breakaway to score. The Lions ended the period 2-0 down but could be proud of their rearguard action against a strong Streatham attack.
2nd Period: The Lions were caught napping at the start of period 2 as new Streatham captain Adam Carr (20:18, assisted Watt) sniped one past Andrew to make it 3-0. Streatham kept growing in confidence and the score was soon 5-0 with two goals within 34 seconds; with Doughty (25:26, assisted Carr and Watt) grabbing his second of the game and then the speedy Ryan Webb (26:00 assisted Jacob Ranson and Ben Paynter) backhanding one past Andrew. The Lions goalie continued to make some good stops but was powerless to stop another quick brace of goals as Doughty (36:12, assisted Carr and Watt) completed his hat trick and Carr (36:33, assisted Brendan Baird and Doughty) grabbed his second, with the goals coming just 21 seconds apart. And while Mustangs guest players Jake Luton and Anthony Baskerville linked up well and created a few chances for the Lions, they could not find a breakthrough and the East London side reached the second intermission trailing 7-0.
3rd Period: GB Women’s International netminder Robyn Maby relieved James Andrew in the Lions net to start the third period, with Streatham having already replaced Matt Colclough midway through period 2 with Brett Shepherd, who is on a two-way deal with the Lions this season. Both goalies made some good saves in the third period, with Maby showing her agility and quick reactions in net and Shepherd denying Nick Alley after good interplay with Ben Gillingham. Streatham continued to rack up the goals however, with the NIHL South 1 side now in full flow and looking dangerous on every attack. Brandon Miles (47:06, assisted Carr and Alex Sampford) made it eight before Webb (48:42, assisted Baird) scored perhaps the prettiest goal of the night as he dangled his way past the Lions defence and put the puck past Maby. Streatham hit double figures when Doughty (50:20, assisted Watt and Carr) scored on a quick counter attack to grab his fourth of the night; and the NIHL South 1 side raised the score to 11-0 when Miles (53:30, assisted Sampford) scored his second of the evening. With just six seconds left in the game, Carr (59:54, assisted Sampford) put the icing on the cake as the Streatham captain completed his hat trick as well as the scoring, with the South London side winning the game 12-0 against a Lions side that put up a valiant fight right to the end.
Final Score: Streatham IHC 12-0 Lee Valley Lions
Period Scores: 2-0/5-0/5-0
Penalties: Streatham 4-2 Lee Valley
Scorers: Streatham – Adam Carr (3+4), Aidan Doughty (4+1), Ryan Watt (1+4), Alex Sampford (0+3), Brandon Miles (2+0), Ryan Webb (2+0), Brendan Baird (0+2), Ben Paynter (0+1), Jacob Ranson (0+1)
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew (40:00 played, 48 shots/7 goals against), Robyn Maby (20:00 played, 13 shots/5 goals against)
Streatham – Matt Colclough (29:01 played, 5 shots/0 goals against), Brett Shepherd (30:59 played, 9 shots/0 goals against)
Man of the Match – James Andrew (Lee Valley), Aidan Doughty (Streatham)
The Lions kick off their NIHL South 2 campaign with a London derby away at the Haringey Huskies on Saturday 16th September, before the first home game of the season follows one day later against the Bracknell Hornets on Sunday 17th September.