Nottingham Lions 6 Whitley Warriors 8

Nottingham Lions were narrowly defeated by the Whitley Warriors in a thrilling game at the Capital FM Arena on Sunday evening.

A change of surroundings after a switch of rinks at the eleventh hour did little to revamp the Lions fortunes as a brace from new signing Jack Clarkson plus goals from Ben Wood, Marcus Maynard, Gareth O’Flaherty and a first goal since returning to the Lions from ex-Panther Nicky Balchin were not enough to prevent the Warriors coming away with the two points, rounding off a dismal January for the Lions, who have yet to pick up a single point since the start of the year.

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Balchin is congratulated by his teammates after firing the Lions ahead.

Balchin fired the Lions in front with a minute on the clock. Shaun Kippin got the Warriors back on level pegging four minutes later after some sustained pressure on Sam Gospels’ net. Nottingham hit back on the powerplay a minute later through Ben Wood but a series of defensive errors lead to Dean Holland equalising for Whitley with just over a minute left in the first.

A topsy-turvy second period saw Maynard slotting home a powerplay goal to put the Lions back in front three minutes in. New-boy Jack Clarkson then hit a debut goal before Jamie Tinsley and Dan Good got on the scoresheet for the away side to tie the game once again. O’Flaherty then put Nottingham back in the lead as the Lions went 5-4 ahead going into the third.

The final period belonged to the Warriors however; Holland getting his second after two minutes, Clarkson briefly got Nottingham back in front on the powerplay but goals from Tinsley and then Holland for his hat-trick put Whitley in front for the first time in the game. Netminder Gospel was then pulled for an extra attacker for the last two minutes but the Lions efforts were in vain as Garry Dowd finished off the unlucky home side with an empty net goal.

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New signing Jack Clarkson gets stuck into the Warriors.

LionsTV interviews with Head Coach Matt Bradbury, man of the match Jack Clarkson and Warriors Player-Coach Garry Dowd are available to view on our very own online TV channel.

Nottingham’s attention now turns to a crucial relegation battle with the Coventry ENL Blaze next Sunday at the National Ice Centre (7.15pm Face-Off). The Blaze sit just two points above the Lions in the standings with a three goal lead in what could prove to be a crucial head-to-head record come the end of the regular season.

Game Stats:

Jack Clarkson 2+0, Nicky Balchin 1+0, Ben Wood 1+1, Marcus Maynard 1+1, Gareth O’Flaherty 1+0, Christy Johnson Brown 0+1, Nick Whyatt 0+2, James Robinson 0+1, Dan Hazeldine 0+1, Sam Gospel 0+1.

Period Scores: 1st 2-2, 2nd 3-2, 3rd 1-4.

Shots: 1st 12-12, 2nd 11-10, 3rd 11-12. Total 34-34.

Penalty Mins. 1st 0-4, 2nd 2-8, 3rd 0-4. Total 2-16.

Lions MOTM: Jack Clarkson.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012.