Solihull Barons 8 Nottingham Lions 0
League champions Nottingham Lions were on the wrong end of a thumping at the hands of their Midlands rivals Solihull Barons at Solihull Ice Rink on Sunday evening. Even though the hosts had 77 minutes in the penalty box, the Lions couldn’t find a break through.
This fixture was always going to be tough, with a smaller ice pad, intense atmosphere and physical opponents. Nottingham just never really got going on the night as the hosts stopped the game from becoming free flowing and made it become hostile.
With two Nottingham powerplays going to waste and no real efforts on goal being produced, Solihull then took the lead through Robert Eley with 9.04 gone on the clock.
The hosts then showed their visitors how to score on the powerplay when Richard Slater did just that eleven seconds into a Lions penalty kill. The score stayed that way until the first break.
The second period saw Lions try to claw their way back into the game with a few goalmouth scrambles not being able to see the puck cross the line.
At the worst possible time Michael Rodger added a third for the hosts at 37.21 deflating the visiting side just before the end of the period.
With an early goal for the visiting side this game could have easily had a different ending, but yet again Lions seemed to show lack of fight in their hockey. Two and a half minutes into the final period and Slater doubled his tally for the night, netting the hosts forth goal.
Less than a minute later Joe Henry got himself of the score sheet and making the most of some huge defensive frailties in the Lions side.
Just another forty seconds an improbable comeback was made impossible with a goal from David Rodgers, yet again making the most of the open gap between the two defenceman.
A seventh goal came three minutes after with Jake Larkin netting his effort past Alan Levers at 47.23.
Two minutes later Levers was relieved of his duties for the night as youngster Callum Steventon made his Lions debut and iced the remaining 10.35 of the game.
Although a minute into this Solihull added yet another goal through Henry yet again, after dribbling the puck past the netminder.
At 55.11 Ryan Rathbone skated one on one in the Solihull zone, before getting a huge hit against boards, this subsequently saw him have to leave the ice. This saw Joe Steeples drop the gloves with former Super League player Perry Doyle with both players exchanging big punches before Steeples fell to the ice. The young defenceman did lose the fight, but was far from disgraced with his efforts against the beast-like Doyle.
The clock then ran itself down before the buzzer finally sounded. Putting Lions out of their misery so they could make the short trip back home.
The result means next Sunday’s return fixture at the National Ice Centre (7.15pm) will mean a great deal for Solihull as they aim to secure the second place play-off spot in what is sure to be an exciting, end-of-season show down. Ticket details are available here.
Period Scores – 1st 2-0, 2nd 1-0, 3rd 5-0.
Penalty minutes – 1st 45-27, 2nd 22-2, 3rd 10-4.
Shots – 1st 20-6, 2nd 13-16, 3rd 23-10
Lions MOTM – Luke Thomas.