NOTTINGHAM LIONS - 6
BLACKBURN EAGLES - 5
NATIONAL ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE NORTH
LAIDLER CONFERENCE DIVISION TWO
Sunday 11th October 2015 – National Ice Centre
Nottingham Lions squeezed past Blackburn Eagles 6-5 on Sunday night at the National Ice Centre maintaining their position top of the table. It was tables turned on the last outing as the Eagles beat the Lions 2-3.
Hamish Hall and Joe Gretton returned from under 20’s duty with the Leopards, also returning to the line-up were Ben Foster-Wilson and Alternate Captain Ben Wood.
Absentees were netminder Tom Hovell, Jon Binder and Sam Jackson and Jessica Urquhart.
Blackburn were first out the starting blocks, pinning Nottingham deep in their own blue zone. Alan Levers turned away three or four shots before Slovakian Tomas Mitrik scored for the Eagles, assisted by Carl Slater and Chris Jones, with four minutes on the clock.
In the six minute, Blackburn’s Craig Lutkevitch was sin-binned for holding, it took Lions only nine seconds for Slawomir Kasprzak to convert the equaliser with the aid of Jordan Liddell and Adam Andrews.
With this goal the momentum of the game switched Nottingham’s way, with Eagles no match for their speed and agility, Jamie Hovell carried the puck into the zone for Connor Glossop to score the go ahead goal giving Phil Crosby in the Blackburn net no chance.
Within a minute Kasprzak found himself on the wrong side of the glass on an interference penalty. An Eagle shot was blocked by Levers fell to Glossop who in turn found Dan Hazeldine to score the third goal shorthanded.
With Blackburn still reeling, Joe Humphries supplied Joe Gretton for goal number four in the eighteenth minute.
With Craig Lutkevitch already penalised for clipping, Bobby Caunce and Elliot Perrin came together, both given two each for Roughing, less than a minute left in the period.
The game swung in Blackburn's favour in the second period. Once the roughing minors were complete, James Riddoch pulled one back for the Eagles making it 4-2, quickly followed by a third from Chris Jones, Connor Glossop was sat in the box for slashing, just before the lead was wiped out on the power play, a second goal from Jones in the twenty eighth minute tied the game 4-4.
Slav Kasprzak re-gained Lions the lead midway through the session. Then with Blackburn sitting out a bench minor, Carl Slater set about a Lions player pulling his shirt over his head and with the player unable to defend himself, Slater continued punching despite being ordered to stop by the match officials. He received Five minutes plus a match penalty for excessive roughing.
During Lions 5 on 3 power play advantage Bobby Caunce broke clear and raced from his defensive zone across three lines to fire the Eagles second equaliser.
The Lions came out meaning business in the third after a lack lustre middle period, restricting Blackburn back in the own end zone, just relying on the odd breakaway, and falling into penalty trouble.
But when the game looked like it was heading for a draw, with two and a half minutes remaining, Dan Hazeldine squeezed in Lions winning goal, but not without controversy, as the puck crossed the line, the goal was knocked off its moorings, the referee instantly awarded the goal. After lengthy discussion in front of the timekeeper’s bench, the goal stood and the game re-started.
Lions defence held out, not allowing Blackburn the extra man until five seconds from the final hooter.
Next action for the Lions is on Sunday night with a tricky road trip in Widnes 5.30pm face off.