Lee Valley Lions suffer narrow defeat in Streatham
- Credit: Archant
NIHL South Two: Streatham Hawks 6 Lee Valley Lions 4
Lee Valley Lions travelled south of the river on Sunday night, visiting the Streatham Hawks for the first time this season.
The two sides had met back in September at Lee Valley Ice Centre, with the Hawks skating away with a 9-2 win on the night.
The Lions were missing forwards Ross Sin-Hidge (suspended) and Jordan Sullivan for this game. Starting in net for the East London side was James Andrew.
First Period: The Lions came out well in the opening period, creating several chances early on and forcing Streatham netminder John Abbott into some good saves.
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The visitors were rewarded for their efforts in the sixth minute, as Robert Cole scored his second goal for the Lions in as many games as he tapped home a rebound after a shot from Joe Berry.
Also involved in the build-up was Jordan Ho.
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As the period wore on, the Hawks had more chances - including a two-minute powerplay as the Lions had too many men on the ice - but Lions goalie Andrew stopped all 11 shots in the period, with Lee Valley taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Second Period: The Hawks came out quickly to start the second period, and equalised just over two minutes in as Ryan Burgess scored after inventive build-up play from former Lions favourite Gus Zimmerman, who is now captain of the Hawks.
Despite a combined total of 33 shots in the period - 18 for the Hawks and 15 for the Lions - there were to be no more goals until the second intermission, with both netminders Abbott and Andrew playing excellently in net for their respective sides.
Third Period: The final period would turn out to be a crazy one, with a combined total of 37 shots being fired at both nets, and eight goals being scored.
The Hawks started off the scoring through Ryan Burgess, who used his speed well to get through the Lions backline and fire home to put Streatham 2-1 up.
But the Lions fought back, with Jordan Ho grabbing his 12th goal of the season in eight matches with a lovely snipe, assisted by Lewis Blore.
This made the score 2-2 in the 45th minute, but the Hawks would re-take the lead just 28 seconds later as William Poles put them 3-2 up.
Things would then get worse for the Lions in the 48th minute, with Richie Pickering taking a two minute penalty for cross-checking and Gus Zimmerman scoring a one-timer to make it 4-2.
Zimmerman then followed that up with a back-hander six minutes later, putting the Hawks 5-2 up in the 56th minute and seemingly killing the game off.
But the Lions refused to go down without a fight, and got the score back to 5-3 in the 57th minute with a powerplay goal of their own - Joe Berry taking a shot from the blue line and Daniel Tamasauskas, usually a defencemen but stationed in front of the net on the powerplay, tipping the puck home.
And despite Lions forward Ben Margerison taking a two minute penalty for a late hit with just 1:30 to play, it was the Lions who would score next. Joe Berry took a stretch pass from Jordan Ho, went past two Streatham defencemen and backhanded the puck past Abbott to get the score back to 5-4 with 25 seconds left in the game.
Agonisingly for the Lions, with just 12 seconds left in the game, the Hawks completed the scoring as Isabell Whiteley made it 6-4, killing off all hopes of a late Lions equaliser.
Nonetheless, it was one of the Lions' best performances of the season so far, and is a good sign of things to come as they search for their first win of the campaign.
Player of the game for the Lions was Joe Berry for a goal and two assists, while Isabell Whiteley took home the award for the Hawks.
The Lions are next in action this upcoming weekend with back-to-back games against Haringey.
First up is an away league game on Saturday followed by a home NIHL South 2 Cup game on Sunday.