Ice Hockey: Lee Valley Lions lose Haringey double-header
- Credit: Archant
It was a truly up-and-down weekend for Lee Valley Lions, as they followed a heavy 15-3 defeat at Haringey with a 5-4 home defeat against the same opponents just 24 hours later.
The Lions were missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge (last game of his suspension), Robert Cole, Joe Berry, Joe Miller and Harry O'Brien for Saturday's road game, as well as defenceman Richie Pickering.
James Andrew started in goal but the league-leading Huskies, who are yet to lose a league game this season, racked up six goals in the first period through Stephen Woodford (2), former Lions forward Matthew Hepburn (2), Lee Mercer and Luke Martin-Digby.
At the other end, the Lions managed to bag two goals through Harry Sage, who was making his debut for the club after signing from Streatham, and Jordan Ho who scored a shorthanded goal.
It was the Hong Kong international forward's 13th tally of the season in only his ninth game for the club.
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The Huskies extended their lead to 8-2 midway through the second period with goals from Ricky Rutherford and Stuart Appleby, before the Lions changed netminders with Naomi Healey relieving Andrew at the 30-minute mark.
This didn't stem the flow of Huskies goals however, as Rutherford scored again before captain Woodford struck twice more to make it 11-2.
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The Lions scored their third goal in the last period, as Vinnie Ferrara grabbed his second of the season with an assist from James Joseph.
But as they tired, the Huskies scored four more goals through James Pentecost (2), Hepburn and Woodford for a very one-sided final scoreline.
The sides met again at Lee Valley Ice Centre the very next day, in NIHL South 2 Cup action, and Lions welcomed back Sin-Hidge, Berry, Miller and Pickering, giving them a much healthier bench of 17 players.
Andrew once again got the nod between the pipes and the Lions started strongly, putting the Huskies under real pressure.
The home side that opened the scoring in the ninth minute, as 18-year-old forward Lewis Blore got his first goal of the season after defenceman Oscar Kally - playing just his second game for the Lions - showed great attacking instincts to take the puck into the offensive zone, which led to the goal.
It was 1-1 just a minute later as Pentecost equalised and the visitors went 2-1 up late in the opening period through former Lions forward Ben Duffy after a defensive breakdown by the home side.
The opening six minutes of the middle period would prove to be crucial in the game, as the Huskies came out and scored three more goals through Mark Robinson, Ryan Payne and James Hepburn - all former Lions - to make it 5-1 in the 26th minute.
This would have left some Lions fans feeling a sense of déjà vu and fearing another heavy defeat, but the home side raised their game again, creating several chances and getting rewarded in the 39th minute as Simon Jones took a slapshot from the blueline and Joe Berry tucked home the rebound on the power play.
The last period would start out very well for the Lions as Sin-Hidge celebrated his first game back after a four-match ban by scoring a goal on the breakaway after a superb steal from Jordan Sullivan in the Lions defensive zone.
The rest of the game was frantic, with chances at both ends, and Lions cut the deficit further in the 56th minute as Ho tucked the puck home from a tight angle for his 14th goal of the season.
But try as they might, the Lions were unable to find that equalising goal, despite pulling netminder Andrew for an extra attacker late on, as they went down to an agonisingly close 5-4 defeat after what was likely their best performance of the season.
Oscar Kally took the man of the mach award for Lions after making a good impression on the blueline, with Stuart Appleby taking visitors.
The Lions host Peterborough on Saturday at 5.30pm.