NOTTINGHAM LIONS 2
BLACKBURN EAGLES 3
NATIONAL ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE – NORTH
LAIDLER CONFERENCE – DIVISION TWO
Sunday 20th September 2015 – NATIONAL ICE CENTRE
With victory the previous evening at Bradford, and Hull Jets beating the Bulldogs earlier in the evening 5 - 4. Lions needed to win by three goals to sit on top of the league for the rest of the week. However it was not to be as Lions tired in the third and lost their starting netminder Tom Hovell due to an injury.
Ondrej Pniok, Elliot Perrin and Sam Jackson returned to the line-up with Reece Glossop, Cameron Pywell and Jordan Liddell missing out.
An improved Eagles started well, pinning the Lions in the own blue zone, gaining the first power-play with Hamish Hall sent for interference. Adam Andrews showed Tomas Mitrik not to mess with the netminder, with both men given roughing minors. The referee later gave the Lions bench a penalty for an icing infringement.
Once the play returned to five on five, Ondrej Pniok roofed the puck behind Phil Crosby in net for one-nil to the Lions, Hall providing the assist.
At the end of the period Lions found themselves with a five on three man advantage, but could not capitalise as the hooter sounded.
No sooner had Jordan Ashington re-entered the Ice after serving one penalty, he was sent back for tripping. He came back again just in time to see Lions double their lead, Joe Humphries netting a pass from Pniok via Joe Gretton.
Rob Perks sat out another Lions bench penalty for too many men. Meanwhile Pniok and Tom Murphy sparred for roughing penalties. Lions were unable to clear their zone under a melee of relentless pressure, which was only broken when Tomas Mitrik found the back of Tom Hovell’s net.
On thirty-two minutes, Adam Lutkevitch was given two plus ten for checking to the head, then two more power-plays came Nottingham’s way before the end of the session, but with no reward.
Two minutes into final period came the turning point of the game. Tom Hovell picked up an ankle injury and could not continue. He was replaced by ex-Nottingham Maverick, Jonathan Betts.
Blackburn’s spirits lifted and began to take control of the game. The Lions defence tried their best to protect the rookie goalie, but a class finish on the power-play by ex-Widnes Bobby Caunce levelled the score.
Four and a half minutes later and Aaron Jordan settled it in favour of the Eagles with the aid of Mitrik and Murphy. A minute left and Lions withdrew the netminder in search of the equaliser, but to no avail, the hooter signalled the first defeat of the season for the Lions.
So the Lions have to be content with third place in what is still a good start to the season so far. Next Sunday see a top three clash with the Hull Jets planning a stealth bombing raid in the Lions Den.