Buffalos charge past Lions

Lee Valley Lions captain Nick Alley (right) faces off with a Basingstoke rival (pic: Pat Ayling)

Lee Valley Lions captain Nick Alley (right) faces off with a Basingstoke rival (pic: Pat Ayling) - Credit: Archant

National League Cup: Basingstoke Buffalo 6 Lee Valley Lions 2

Lee Valley Lions fought hard against the Basingstoke Buffalo but ultimately fell to a tough loss at Planet Ice last night.

Basingstoke had all the early chances in the final National League South Division Two Cup match of the season, with their first opportunity coming on a breakaway.

But the home forward couldn’t control the puck and Lions netminder James Tipple stabbed the puck away.

Tipple showed his brilliance again just minutes later after a holding penalty on Oskar Horter gave Basingstoke a powerplay.

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Matthew Lawday took a hard shot from close range and Tipple showed great reactions, dropping to his knees to stop the puck.

The Lions defencemen stepped up to help Tipple, blocking several shots and fighting fiercely for possession in their own zone.

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Tipple made more stellar saves, but the Buffalos eventually found a breakthrough as Samuel Compton fired in a shot that Tipple couldn’t smother and Daniel Lackey tapped it between the keeper’s legs for the goal.

Lee Valley had not had many shots on goal through the first half of the period, but they immediately found an equaliser as captain Nicholas Alley scored after a scramble in front of the net, started by Ben Duffy’s shot from the blue line.

Both goalies kept out several dangerous shots and then the Lions were given a 5-on-3 powerplay for 1min 19secs.

But they couldn’t take advantage and gave up a flukey goal right after Basingstoke returned to full strength.

Lawday skated in on a breakaway, but missed the puck completely on an attempted snap shot from right in front of the net. However, Hallam Wilson was right behind him and smacked the puck past Tipple to give the lead back to the hosts.

The Lions once again levelled, almost five minutes into the second period, when Oliver Glover wristed home the puck from just inside the blue line, straight between the legs of Jordan Lawday.

But Basingstoke had a chance to go ahead again midway through the period as Liam Coleman was taken down from behind on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot.

Coleman waited too long to get a shot off on the attempt, though, and he ran into Tipple, who raised his arms in celebration as he kept the puck clear of the goal line.

With just a minute and half remaining in the period, Basingstoke’s Neil Leary had a breakaway chance that he did finish to put the home side back ahead, this time for good.

And with five seconds remaining, Lackey found the back of the net again for the Buffalos to cushion their lead.

After the match, Alley claimed that the late goal was tough to take, saying: “It was very frustrating. I think we all switched off, but in hockey it’s a game of 60 minutes.”

With the momentum on their side, Basingstoke proved that they weren’t done as they scored twice more in the final period, with the last goal coming with just 17.6 seconds remaining.

Alley added: “It was a vast improvement on last time we played them. It was quite a learning curve last time we played against these guys in the cup. I’m disappointed we lost, but we’re improving every time, so I’m pretty happy with the result.”

Lee Valley finish the cup with a record of 0-6 and are back on the road next weekend to visit Chelmsford Warriors for a league match.

It will be their second trip to the Riverside Ice Arena in a week, having lost 8-3 there on Saturday despite goals from Alley, Glover and Ben Duffy.

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