After picking up their only win of the season against the Barons in Solihull three weeks ago, the Lions were hoping for the same result on home ice to increase the gap between themselves and the bottom club Deeside Dragons.
In comparison with other games played at the National Ice Centre so far this season, the contest began slowly with several stoppages in play for early shots and then the first penalty of the game two and a half minutes in, Ruskin Hughes sitting for tripping. The Barons thought they had the puck in the net early on as it went past Hadfield and the goal light was lit but referee Dan Boardman waved it away, much to the annoyance of the players and fans in red.
The Barons had their opening goal a few minutes later though when Richard Crowe converted Philip Mulcahy’s pass at 8.29 to give them the lead. The Barons dominated the first period and when they went on the penalty kill at 11.26 after Marcus Maynard was called for a slash on Connor Glossop, the Lions powerplay barely troubled the visiting netminder. The remainder of the period passed with very little incident and the Lions were thankful to get back into the dressing room at the end of 20 minutes only one goal behind.
END OF THE FIRST PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM LIONS 0 – 1 SOLIHULL BARONS
The Barons doubled their advantage early in the second period during a delayed penalty call with the man advantage after Nicholls skated to the bench. Passing the puck around in the offensive end Hadfield was significantly screened and could do nothing about the shot from Edward Eaton as he lit the lamp from Jacob Smith’s assist. The Lions struggled to stay out of the box in the second period and only thirty seconds after they had scored on the delayed penalty the Barons were on the powerplay yet again. Jamie Hovell was the penalty box bench warmer for two minutes for a holding call at 26.20 but the Lions killed it off as the game reached the midway point. The game looked as though it was put to bed in the second period when Adam Brittle scored the Barons third goal at 31.30 from the assists of Mulcahy and Bruce. Paul Stanley though had other ideas and tried to spark the Lions back into the game at 35.24, scoring their only goal of the evening when he converted the low rebound following an initial pad save from Brittle to reduce the deficit to just two goals.
Despite there only being four and a half minutes of the second period remaining there was still time for plenty of action before the players returned to the locker room after forty minutes of play. Joe Aston took a roughing penalty at 36.14 which was again killed off by the Lions but Aston had only just stepped out of the box and didn’t even have time to get back into the play before Tomas Janak scored the fourth for Solihull at 38.18 and restored their three goal lead going into the break.
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM 1 – 4 SOLIHULL BARONS
The final period was messy and scrappy with penalties throughout with neither side relenting in the physicality of the game. Netminder Nicholls took a roughing penalty two and a half minutes into the period and whilst his penalty was being served the Barons scored shorthanded after finding themselves with space in the slot, Luke Brittle scoring assisted by Thomas Soar.
The Lions once again found themselves on the penalty kill when Adz Andrews sat for two minutes for tripping at 47.14 and after that had been killed off and with only ten minutes to go, it was looking like an impossible mountain for the Lions to climb. That mountain then became even taller when Solihull scored the final goal of the game with just over eight minutes to go when Soar fired it past Hadfield from the assists of Brittle and Maynard and with a five goal lead the two points were safely going on the bus with them.
The Barons didn’t let up in their physicality though and after a couple of huge hits on the Lions youngsters Luke Smith stepped up and dropped the gloves with Crowe, both men landed punches but neither went down and the linesmen stepped in sending both to the box for 2+2’s. David Rodgers would take another penalty for the Barons with a little under three minutes remaining in the period but that was really all a formality as Solihull would take it by six goals to one.
END OF THE THIRD PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM LIONS 1 – 6 SOLIHULL BARONS
There’s a double header for the Lions next weekend as we travel to Whitley on Saturday night for a 5pm face-off before coming home to the National Ice Centre for the visit of the Solway Sharks at the earlier than usual face-off time of 6pm.