Twelve Man Lions Stun Mustangs
After an impressive victory against Chelmsford the previous week, and a challenge win against Wightlink Buccaneers. Lee Valley were looking to keep the momentum going against an Invicta side who had already beaten them twice this season.
Missing from the Lions’ line-up were Captain Nick Alley, Lee Hounslow, Chris Fox, Jordan Turner, James Gosling, Oskar Horter & Joe Weare. This left the Lions with 12 skaters and goalie James Andrew, whilst the Mustangs featured a full squad of players.
1st Period: Both sides were quick out of the blocks but the game lacked in clear cut chances early on. Lee Valley were first to find a rhythm but were unable to beat Matt Passmore in the Invicta net, Simon Geldart twice coming close with tips in front of net. The game turned in Invicta’s favour when Simon Jones was called for high sticks, then Matt Hepburn was penalised for cross-checking, giving the hosts a 5-on-3 advantage and Thomas Dennis (PP goal 8:57, assists Ferris, Terry) duly obliged to give Invicta the lead. Once back to even strength, Lee Valley went back on the offensive but, were unable to a tying goal.
2nd Period: Invicta were quick out of the blocks and doubled their lead 59 seconds in through Jake Luton (20:59, assist Holt). They maintained a constant threat for the first half of the period as Lions struggled to keep possession of the puck, even on the powerplay. As the period wore on, the Mustangs found a break from their blue line and James Laming ( 32:29, assist Holt) drove hard to the net to score. The result of the drive left James Andrew dazed and hurt, which gave Lee Valley a couple of minutes to recover and they began to find a way back into game, helped by some important saves from the netminder. Geldart continued to be a nuisance in front of goal and Sam Awoyemi went close with a drive to net but it wasn’t until late in the when James Hepburn (38:26, assists Sin-Hidge, Matt Hepburn) first fanned on a shot before received a pass from behind the net to get the Lions on the board. With the period winding down, Greg Hales was given a penalty for cross-checking and Lee Valley pounced immediately when Henry Aiken (PP goal 38:59, assist Hepburn) blasted a slap-shot past Passmore to bring the game within one goal going into the 3rd.
3rd Period: With renewed optimism, Lee Valley pressed ahead and began to keep constant pressure on Invicta. Their efforts bore fruit early into the period after hard work in front of net saw Simon Geldart (44:04, assist SIn-Hidge) bundle the puck in to tie the game. The Lions didn’t hold back, continuing to go forward, a turnover in the neutral zone seeing Invicta’s Lucy Gruber called for tripping. Despite the man advantage, the Lions struggled to get the puck out of their zone, but a pass from Henry Aiken saw Simon Geldart (PP goal 52:19, assists Aiken, Glover) race free and calmly slot the puck by Passmore to complete the comeback. Lee Valley then had to withstand an Invicta fight-back, James Andrew making more big saves and a small scrap in front of goal that saw Ollie Glover and Aaron Ferris thrown out for Roughing. Both teams called timeouts in the last two minutes, Invicta also pulling their goalie but Lee Valley stole the puck in the dying seconds to see out the win, their second in succession.
Final Score: Invicta Mustangs 3-4 Lee Valley Lions
Period Scores: 1-0/2-2/0-2
Shots: Invicta 49-44 Lee Valley (17-16/21-12/11-16)
Penalties: Invicta 24-12 Lee Valley
Scorers: Lee Valley – Simon Geldart (2+0), James Hepburn & Henry Aiken (1+1), Ross Sin-Hidge (0+2), Oliver Glover & Matt Hepburn (0+1)
Invicta – Kwame Holt (0+2), Thomas Dennis, Jake Luton & James Laming (1+0), Aaron Ferris & Danny Terry (0+1)
Goaltenders: Lee Valley – James Andrew 49 shots/3 goals, 93.88%
Invicta – Matthew Passmore 44 shots/4 goals, 90.91%
Man of the Match: Lee Valley – Simon Geldart
Next Saturday (04/02) sees the fourth and final encounter between the two sides this season at Lee Valley Ice Centre.
Face off is at 5:30pm
Ticket and travel information can be found in the Game Day section of our website.