Nottingham Lions came out on top in a closely fought game at the Altrincham Ice Dome to maintain their place on the road to the end of season play-offs.
For the first time in three games, Lions had a back-up netminder in Samantha Bolwell with Tom Hovell between the pipes.
Although there were no goals or penalties awarded, the opening period was still an exciting end to end contest, with Lions having the upper hand, out shooting Aces with a ratio of two to one.
The first notable incident of the middle period came in the twenty fifth minute, when John Murray fired the puck past Tom Hovell, hitting the cross bar and bouncing down, before Cameron Pywell cleared it away. Lino-ref Harvey Otter awarded Altrincham the goal. Lions players immediately protested, claiming the puck didn't cross the goal-line. After lengthy consultation with the goal-judge, no goal was the call and a face-off given to the left of the goal.
The game remained goal-less to the half-way mark, with both goaltenders on top of their game keeping the puck out the net. That was until the thirty second minute, when, follow work from Connor Glossop and Ondrej Pniok, Stuart Parker tipped in from the edge of the goal crease for one-nil to Lions.
Lions doubled their lead five minutes later. Luke Thomas and Ben Wood set up Stuart Parker to score once again from the edge of the goal circle with a well executed rebound of the Altrincham netminder.
Just over two minutes before the end of the period, Aces conceded the first penalty of the game, when Corey Lee boarded Cameron Pywell in the corner of Lions attacking zone.
Netminder Aran Fox kept the Lions at bay during the power-play, and the remaining seconds of the period, to send the Lions in two-nil after 40 minutes.
Fifty three seconds into the final period, Connor Glossop was called for interference. From the resultant power-play, Aces pulled a goal back. Daniel Berry fed Joe Greaves to shoot, Tom Hovell made the save diving to his left, but the puck fell nicely for John Murray to lift it over the Lions netminder.
In the forty third minute Dan Hazeldine hooked Daniel Berry, who in turn held onto Hazeldine’s stick, both were sent for two minutes. Berry was given two more, less than five minutes later, this time for hooking. Aces were only at full strength for twenty six seconds when Joe Greaves was penalised for cross checking.
Both teams continued to try and add to their goal tally. Aces called their time-out half-way through the fifty eighth. Lions took their time-out, inside the last minute and Aces withdrew their netminder at the start of play.
As the final buzzer went, Joe Humphries attempted at shot at the empty net, but it went wide.
The win keeps Lions hopes of second place, and a chance in the Promotion play-off alive, and pushes Aces further back in their play-off ambitions.
Lions are next in action Sunday night against the Bradford Bulldogs, face off is at 7.30pm at the National Ice Centre.