Lee Valley Lions fall short at Bracknell
- Credit: Archant
NIHL South Two: Bracknell Wasps 5 Lee Valley Lions 3
Lee Valley Lions went down their second tight 5-3 defeat in a row on Saturday afternoon, as they narrowly missed out on victory against the Bracknell Wasps.
The Lions had gone down 5-4 in a penalty shootout on the road in Bracknell back in September for what was their only point of the season to date, so were hoping to take their first win of the season against the same opponents - a feat they came close to accomplishing.
Lee Valley were missing goaltender Naomi Healey; defenceman Daniel Tamasauskas, James O'Brien and Tom Baptist; and forwards Joe Berry, Ross Sin-Hidge and Joe Miller for the game in Berkshire. Starting in net was James Andrew.
The visitors took the lead early in the opening period, as top scorer Jordan Ho - who had missed the previous weekend's 5-3 home defeat to Streatham - bagged his 16th goal of the season in his 16th game for the Lions. The assist on the goal came from Vinnie Ferrara.
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It didn't take long for the Wasps to equalise however, with James Eldridge making it 1-1 in the ninth minute. And as the home side put the pressure on later in the period, the Lions took two penalties - Robert Cole and Jordan Sullivan sitting two minutes for holding and a late hit respectively - but both the penalties were killed off, meaning that the teams went into the first intermission locked at 1-1.
The middle period was cagey to start off with, with both sides unable to create clear-cut chances and mostly cancelling each other out. The Lions did get an opportunity on the powerplay as Wasps forward Craig Cowell sat two minutes for roughing, but couldn't take advantage of it.
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However the Lions did take advantage of their next powerplay - with Wasps captain Liam Poulson in the box for tripping, Lions trio Vinnie Ferrara, Jordan Ho and Jordan Sullivan combined for a well-worked powerplay goal which was finished off by Ferrara.
Once again though, the Lions didn't keep the lead for long; back to back penalties against Ferrara and Richie Pickering gave the Wasps almost four continuous minutes of powerplay time, with Danny Hughes making the most of it to equalise at 2-2 in the 36th minute. This would also be the score at the end of the second period.
The Lions took the lead for the third time in the game at the 1:22 mark of the final period, Robert Cole latching onto a pass from James Joseph and finishing past Wasps goalie Aaron Burton.
But this lead lasted just 70 seconds, with the Wasps equalising through Hughes who grabbed his second goal of the game. The tide would then turn in the 46th minute when James Eldridge capitalised on a Lions defensive breakdown to score his second of the game, putting his side in the lead for the very first time at 4-3.
The visitors threw everything they had at the Wasps for the remainder of the game as they searched for an equalising goal, but were unable to get that crucial fourth goal.
And it was the Wasps who would put the icing on the cake with just under three minutes left, as Joshua Sherrington finished off a quick counter to give the Wasps a 5-3 win.
It was a frustrating game for the Lions, who played well for most of the game and took the lead three times, only to see it slip away into their second 5-3 defeat in six days.
The Lions are back in action at home on Sunday as they host Peterborough at Lee Valley Ice Centre. Faceoff will be at 5.30pm.