Lee Valley Lions suffer narrow defeat to rivals Streatham
- Credit: Archant
NIHL South Two: Lee Valley Lions 3 Stretham Hawks 5
Lee Valley Lions went down to a narrow 5-3 home defeat against the Streatham Hawks on Sunday, in their first home game of 2020.
The Lions were missing top goalscorer Jordan Ho for the game, as well as forward Ross Sin-Hidge, defenceman James O'Brien, and netminder James Andrew. Defenceman Tom Baptist made his home debut for the East London side, with Naomi Healey starting in goal.
The opening period was a close one to start with, as both sides neutralised each other and struggled to create clear goalscoring opportunities. It was the away side who would open the scoring in the ninth minute however, Alec Goldstone putting the Hawks 1-0 up with an unassisted goal.
The hosts fought back though, creating several good chances before Robert Cole equalised in the 15th minute, firing home after good work from Lions forward Joe Berry behind the Streatham net.
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The first period would end with the sides locked in a 1-1 tie, and Streatham leading the shots on goal 10-4.
The middle period started off with a bang, as Lee Valley's ex-Streatham forward Harry Sage fought with his former team-mate Daniel Botting; both received 2+2 penalty minutes for fighting.
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Streatham would then go 2-1 up in the 28th minute as Goldstone scored his second goal of the night, this time with an assist from Ryan Burgess.
But after Lions forward Tyrone Wells went to the penalty box for delay of game, the home side would surprisingly equalise through Vincenzo Ferrara, who lobbed a speculative effort at the Streatham net from the halfway line only to see it squeeze in past Hawks netminder James Richardson.
There were to be no more goals in the second period, despite both sides getting chances on the powerplay. Lions defenceman Richie Pickering received 2+10 for checking from behind late in the period, meaning he would miss half of the third period; while Lions newcomer Tom Baptist left the game injured in the second period and did not return.
The Hawks came out well to start the third period, scoring twice in the first seven minutes through Joseph Tearall and former Lions favourite Gus Zimmerman to take a 4-2 lead, assisted by Burgess and Leo Saoncella.
The hosts created several chances after this though, as they looked to get back into the game and force a positive result. But disaster would strike for the Lions as forwards Harry Sage and Lewis Blore collided in the neutral zone, leaving both down on the ice. The Hawks took advantage of the confusion and scored to make it 5-2, Leo Saoncella getting the goal in the 50th minute with assists from Burgess and Zimmerman.
That fifth goal seemed to put the game to bed, and the Hawks would have been confident of going further ahead shortly afterwards when the Lions had to kill a full two minutes of 5-on-3 time after concurrent penalties for Joe Miller and Tyrone Wells; but the Lions managed to kill off both penalties and just about stay in the game and keep the score at 5-2.
The Lions managed to get the score back to 5-3 with just 1:34 left in the game as Cole got his second goal of the game, assisted Joe Berry and Simon Jones - but there was no time left in the game for any further goals, and the home side slipped to a tight 5-3 defeat as the final buzzer sounded.
Man of the Match for the Lions was forward Harry O'Brien who impressed with his work ethic all game long, while former Lions defenceman Gus Zimmerman took home the award for the Hawks for his one goal and two assists.
The Lions are back in action away from home this coming Saturday, as they travel to Bracknell to take on the Wasps. Faceoff will be at 15:20.