Stars Continue Winning Streak At Lee Valley
A road trip up to the big smoke, to play the Lee Valley Lions, saw the Oxford City Stars bring home another 2 points ahead of the final push before moving into the play-off leg of the season. Considering the combined total of shots on goal for the game was a tremendous 90 shots (69 made by Oxford and 21 made by Lee Valley) it’s a wonder how the score didn’t exceed past Oxford’s 8 goals to nil victory over the home team.
After the player announcements were made and the National Anthem was played, the teams assembled for the initial face off and net minders Brett Sheppard and Milan Ronai took their places at either end of the rink, between the pipes of their respective goals. For the first 7 minutes of the match, both teams were scoreless up until the point where Josh Oliver opened the scoring for the evening. Exactly 65 seconds later Kamil Kinkor pocketed the second goal for the Stars. All within the space of a couple of seconds Matt Lawday picked up another goal for the Stars, notching up the score to 3-0, and Jake Florey was given a 2 minute minor penalty for interference. Lee Valley pushed for a goal during their first power play, however, Milan Ronai made multiple solid saves, along with a few rebound saves, to deny the home side the goal they were hoping for. Following the Stars being on the penalty kill, there was a couple minutes of end to end play before Lee Valley switched to being a player down. From here, they successfully stopped the Stars scoring on the power play. In the final minute of the period Kamil Kinkor was able to score his second of the night with an expertly placed top shot to tuck the puck in over Sheppard’s left shoulder to bring the action of the opening period to a close.
The Stars entered the second period with a 4 goal lead, yet neither team was willing to back down. Lee Valley were awarded a penalty to open the middle period of the game. No goals were scored during those two minutes of play, short handed or power play. A little while later, Kamil Kinkor netted yet another goal to earn himself a hat-trick, causing rising tensions between the two teams to pile up even higher. These frustrations became more apparent as Jake Florey made a very hard hit on an opposing player and landed himself in the sin bin for a 2 minute time-out. During this penalty kill, Mike Whillock, along with the assistance of Darren Elliott, was able to pull it out of the bag for the Stars to score a short handed goal. Towards the end of the period, a bit of pushing and shoving occurred out on the ice as the handbags came out, but this was soon sorted out by the match officials before any fireworks really started going off. This just about saw the end of the second period out.
The third period saw a netminder change for the Stars with Mark Duffy coming onto the ice due to Milan Ronai taking a somewhat heavy hit towards the end of the second period. With the Stars starting the final period with a disadvantage of having Andy Cox serving the remainder of a tripping penalty, they were able to successfully kill this penalty only to have Josh Oliver sit in the box for a further 2 minutes. Again, the Stars were able to deny the Lions the goal they had been looking to score since the puck was thrown down for the opening face-off at the start of the first period. 15 seconds towards the end of Oliver’s tripping penalty, Lee Valley received another penalty. With the Lions on the back foot, Dom Hopkins was able to increase the score margin from 6 goals to 7 by scoring a power play goal, Connor Redmond making this his 3rd assist of the evening as well. The remaining 10 minutes of the match were played even handed, both teams remaining at full strength. The Stars dominated for the remainder of regular time, Duffy being forced to make a couple of saves and Andy Cox scored the final goal of the night taking the final score to Oxford City Stars 8 – 0 Lee Valley Lions.