Nottingham Lions 15 Fylde Flyers 0.
After clinching the NIHL Division Two North title last weekend, the Nottingham Lions showed no sign of taking their foot off the gas by thrashing of the Fylde Flyers at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening.
Having despatched of the Blackburn Eagles by the same gigantic scoreline just seven days earlier, the league champions ripped their hapless visitors to shreds in one of their most dominant performances of the season.
Michael Rose opened the scoring inside the first three minutes with his sixteenth goal of the campaign, followed three minutes later by top-scorer Joe Wightman, who marked his return to the squad with a goal after missing out on last weekend’s celebrations.
Captain, Luke Thomas, after going all season without a goal, finally opened his scoring account on seven minutes before Simon Hunt found the net seconds later to put the game out of the Lancashire side’s reach, to all intents and purposes.
The Lions showed the Flyers no mercy in the second period as they hit a further seven goals without reply.
Hunt grabbed his second of the game three minutes in, shortly to be followed by a Joseph Steeples strike.
American, Luke Branin then fired home two quick goals just after the half-hour mark to take his tally up to nineteen for the season before defenseman Jack Baveystock and young forward Ryan Rathbone both made a rare appearances on the scoresheet.
Veteran, Stuart Parker then scored the Lions’ eleventh of the night with thirty-eight seconds remaining to ensure the final twenty minutes would be a formality for both teams.
Nottingham showed no sign of letting-up on their already doomed visitors however, after ex-Panther, Hunt completed his second hat-trick in as many games, thirty seconds into the third period.
Parker then popped up to score his second of the night and his eighth goal in eight games since coming out of retirement.
With nine minutes remaining, winger Gareth O’Flaherty was rewarded with a goal on the powerplay, after already claiming three assists.
The period also saw a string of penalties being taken by both sides after the previous forty minutes had seen the sin bins devoid of bodies. This culminated in the Flyers’ Troy Evans and the Lions’ Steeples ‘dropping the gloves’ after a scramble in the Fylde goalmouth resulted in a full-blown fight which saw both culprits squeeze in some hefty punches before they both received 2+2 for roughing.
There was still time for the Lions to finish off the night’s scoring courtesy of Christy Johnson-Brown, who hit home his twelfth of the campaign, with ten seconds left on the clock to secure another fifteen goal treat for the Nottingham faithful and ensuring a long and miserable journey home for a lacklustre Flyers side who never really got out of first gear.
LionsTV post-game interviews with Lions’ head coach Matt Bradbury and netminder Alan Levers will be available to view here from Monday evening.
The Lions’ thoughts now turn to next Sunday’s trip to local-rivals, Solihull Barons (6pm face off). Nottingham claimed a narrow 2-1 victory at the Hobs Moat Road rink back in December and the Lions will know they’ll be in for a much tougher weekend than in recent weeks as the Barons fight to finish in the second-place play-off spot.
Craig Wallis 0+1, Joseph Steeples 1+2, Luke Thomas 1+3, Jack Baveystock 1+2, Ben Wood 0+1, Michael Rose 1+1, Simon Hunt 3+4, Ryan Rathbone 1+0, Luke Branin 2+2, Joe Wightman 1+3, Christy Johnson-Brown 1+0, Stuart Parker 2+2, Gareth O’Flaherty 1+3.
Period Scores: 1st 4-0, 2nd 7-0, 3rd 4-0.
Shots: 1st 24-5, 2nd 34-9 3rd 33-4. Total 91-18.
Penalty Minutes: 1st 0-0, 2nd 0-0, 3rd 16-6. Total 16-6.
Lions MOTM (Sponsored by The Castle Inn): Luke Thomas.