Nottingham Lions 2 Deeside Dragons 4
At the National Ice Centre on Sunday night, Nottingham Lions looked to extend their 100% record at home when they took on top of the league Deeside Dragons, who have only lost one game so far this season. The away side came away with the points beating a below par Lions.
In the opening few minutes of the first period Alan Levers, in goal for Lions, made some key saves to keep the visitors from taking an early advantage. Although after that, the home side calmed down and started to pose a threat, especially when Luke Branin skated through in the eighth minute but failed to score.
With 9.26 gone on the clock Deeside conceded the first powerplay of the game, for having too many men on the ice. Yet Lions struggled to do anything with the man advantage, creating no real threat.
Three and a half minutes later the visiting side opened the scoring through Jordan Bannon, who fired the puck up into the top left of Levers goal, with James Parsons providing the assist.
Just shy of the fifteenth minute and Lions game could be summed up by the move that followed. Connor Glossop had the puck, seeing Christy Johnson-Brown to his side skating towards the blue line. However Glossop could not make the pass, before crossing the blue line well after Johnson-Brown had already done so, making the officials call an easy offside.
With three and a half minutes of the first period to go, Deeside gave Lions another powerplay after Simon Furnival was judged to have caused interference. However, Lions again failed to make the extra man count, creating minimal chances.
In the first minute of the second period, some sloppy passing in the Lions zone saw them give the visitors a chance to double their lead. Although, luckily they failed to convert the chance, letting their hosts off the hook.
A minute later and Deeside did double their lead through Furnival, after his shot seemed to loop over and into the Lions goal. Meaning the home side really did have their work cut out.
Four minutes later and it just seemed to go from bad to worse when Gavin Austin scored an absolute screamer from the blue line, which flew into the back of Levers goal and there was nothing the netminder could do about it.
In the twenty-ninth minute Lions looked to peg the scoreline back to two goals but Ben Wood’s effort hit the post.
Not long after Lions only two-minute minor penalty was called, with Craig Wallis having to sit in the penalty box for an interference call but the four men managed to kill the penalty.
In the thirty-sixth minute Branin created the best chance of the game for Lions so far, when he skated through but George Cox was at hand again to deny the Nottingham from scoring.
Three and a half minutes into the third minute and Lions did get themselves on the scoreboard when Robert Perks scored his fifth goal of the season from close range. Could a fight back be on?
A minute later, Lions created a great chance to make it a one-goal game but Cox was there once again to deny the hosts before covering up the rebound.
In the fifty-first minute yet again the hosts had a great chance to bridge the gap but Cox managed to save the initial shot before the covering up the rebound to keep the two-goal margin for his side.
At 57.02 Craig Wallis fired the puck in from the corner of the blue line and with a flick from Branin along the way saw Lions finally get that second goal. Was it too late for the home side to get at least a draw?
Well, in the fifty-eighth minute an error from Deeside on the boards saw Connor Glossop end up with puck to then skate through everyone before missing his chance to tie the game.
The inevitable happened with 1.45 to go, as Levers was pulled for the extra man. With Lions keeping the puck in Deeside’s zone, would the decision pay off? Well it seemed to be ineffective as everyone was scrambling to get the puck and with one second to go of the game Furnival sealed the points for the travelling side, scoring an empty net goal.
The Lions will be looking to quickly bounce back from this set back when they travel to Widnes next Sunday and try to make it two wins out of two against the northern side when they face off at 18.15 at the Silver-Blades Ice Rink.
Luke Branin 1+0, Robert Perks 1+1, Craig Wallis 0+1, Daniel Hazeldine 0+1, Christopher Allen 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 0-1, 2nd 0-2, 3rd 2-1, Total 4-2
Shots: 1st 5-14, 2nd 10-16, 3rd 18-4. Total: 33-35.
Penalty Mins: 1st 10-4, 2nd 2-4, 3rd 0-4. Total: 12-12.
Lions MOTM (sponsored by Ice Breakers): Luke Branin.