The Nottingham Lions were defeated by Telford Tigers, in their opening fixture of the 2017/18 NIHL Moralee Conference campaign, going down by a 5-2 scoreline, at the National Ice Centre.
Beginning life in the Moralee division with a tough home fixture against the previous EPL winners, it was always going to be difficult for the Lions to make the step up in the division but despite the score line they more than held their own, and with key players missing from the squad, there were plenty of positives they could take from the encounter.
The Tigers took the lead eight minutes and four seconds into the game when a through pass split the Lions defence and Jason Silverthorn was able to skate right to the crease and score five hole. The lead was then doubled just two minutes later when Joe Miller released a wrist shot from the right-hand faceoff circle that ringed off the left-hand Lions post and found its way to the back of the net.
The Lions, not to be outdone though were still skating hard and pulled a goal back through Paul Stanley at 11.20 in the first period when he skated through the centre of the Tigers defence, doing brilliantly to fend off three defencemen before aiming five hole and the puck creeped into the net despite the net minders best efforts.
END OF THE FIRST PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM LIONS 1 – 2 TELFORD TIGERS
The second period began much more evenly with the Lions matching the Tigers early on. They were unable to capitalise though and the Tigers re-took their two goal lead when a scramble out front following a rebound allowed Macauley Halford to poke the puck home at the back post at 33.21.
As the second period ticked down the Lions were hoping that they would get into the second intermission with just a two goal deficit but with less than two minutes in the period remaining the Tigers struck again. With the exact same combination of players as their very first goal of the evening, Jason Silverthorn was left free at the back post and he was able to one-time the puck into the roof of the net at the back door from the assists of Joe Miller and Richard Plant.
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM LIONS 1 – 4 TELFORD TIGERS
The final period was the Lions best and on a five on three powerplay they pulled a goal back when Richard Slater poked the puck home from the back post from the assists of Marc Levers and Ondrej Pniok.
With Lions winning the third period with under two minutes to go it looked as though the score would finish at 4-2 but the Tigers had other ideas. With the Lions trying to kill off a penalty the pace of Telford cycling the puck around the offensive zone was clear to see and Jonathon Weaver scored their fifth and final goal of the game with 82 seconds left to play.
END OF THE THIRD PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM LIONS 2 – 5 TELFORD TIGERS
There were plenty of positives that the Lions could take from this opening encounter as they look forward to the next game in the Moralee division against the Hull Pirates next Sunday at the National Ice Centre, face off at 7.30pm.