Coventry Blaze 7 Nottingham Lions 1
The Nottingham Lions’ hopes that they could extend their unbeaten start to the season to three games were emphatically ended at the Skydome on Sunday evening, as they crashed to a dismal defeat at the hands of Midlands rivals Coventry Blaze.
Nottingham headed down to the West Midlands full of confidence on the back of victories over Blackburn Eagles and Solihull Barons in their two opening games of the new 2013/14 Laidler Conference season.
Coventry were fresh from the previous night’s trip to face Blackburn Eagles, which saw them score ten goals without reply, leaving them level on points with the Lions in the table going into the game.
Forward Reece Glossop returned from suspension to make his first appearance of the season and even though Nottingham were missing key-players Joe Wightman, Chris Allen and Dan Hazeldine, their team still contained more than enough quality names capable of bringing back the two points to Lace City.
This made the performance ever harder to swallow for the Lions, as an uncharacteristic and sluggish first twenty minutes saw them leave the ice three goals down and for long periods they struggled to force the puck out from their own zone, with the Blaze looking comfortably on top.
Louie Brindle hit home the first after seven minutes, Josh Nicklin scored the home sides’ second seven minutes later before some sloppy work on the Nottingham power play saw Coventry break out and Phil Pollock sneaked in the home sides’ third of the game with a short-handed sucker-punch to Matt Bradbury’s men, with just thirty seconds remaining.
The Lions knew an improvement was needed in the next period if anything was to be salvaged from the game but any hope of a heroic comeback was totally extinguished in the opening five minutes as Thomas Pease found his way past Alan Levers after two minutes, quickly followed by Dale Buckland three minutes later.
Nottingham continued to struggle to find any constructive response to Coventry’s relentless attacking play but did eventually find a goal, courtesy of Robert Perks in the thirty-seventh minute, who found a way past Connor Ranby in the Blaze net, to briefly lift Lions spirits.
Sadly, it was more of the same in the final period as the Lions were once again, outclassed by their hosts.
This wasn’t helped when they lost Captain Luke Thomas to a nasty-looking injury after he appeared to be stuck on the back of the neck by a Coventry player.
They also found themselves on the end of two more Coventry goals, as Pollock scored his second of the night with seven minutes gone, before completing his hat-trick and a miserable night for Nottingham, with another short-handed goal six minutes from time.
Nottingham now have to draw a line under this instantly forgettable performance and focus on next Saturday’s trip to Hull Arena to take on the Stingrays, followed by an opportunity for revenge on the Sunday evening, as the Blaze make the trip to the National Ice Centre with a 7.30pm face off. Ticket details are available by clicking here.
A post-game Lions Radio interview with Head Coach Matt Bradbury can be heard by clicking here.
Robert Perks 1+0, Luke Branin 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 3-0, 2nd 2-1, 3rd 2-0.
Shots: 1st 18-5, 2nd 18-5, 3rd 14-10. Total: 50-20.
Penalty Mins: 1st 2-0, 2nd 4-2, 3rd 4-2. Total: 10-4.
Lions MOTM: Alan Levers.