Nottingham Lions 14 Hull Jets 4.
A relentless Nottingham Lions team smashed fourteen goals past a beleaguered Hull Jets side in the two side's final regular season meeting of the 2014/15 Laidler D2 campaign, at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening.
Hat-trick hero and Man Of The Match - Ivo Dimitrijevs.
A hat-trick from Ivo Dmitrijevs, braces from Craig Wallis, Hamish Hall, and Stuart Parker, alongside individual strikes from Connor Glossop, Adam Andrews, Rob McDonald, Joe Gretton and Slawomir Kasprzak, secured the Lions' head-to-head advantage over their East Yorkshire-based opponents, should the two sides find themselves level on points, come the end of March.
Nottingham were coming into the game fresh from last Sunday's comfortable 17-3 home win over bottom side Bradford Bulldogs but remained without captain Luke Thomas and the forward pairing of Reece Glossop and Dan Hazeldine.
However, Matt Bradbury was once again, able to call upon the plethora of junior talent available to him, with promising Under-18s Hall, Gretton, Connor Glossop and Luke Evans, all gaining more valuable ice time, to aid their ongoing development into fully-fledged senior hockey players.
The Jets hadn't played a competetive game since their last visit to the NIC and were keen to put in an improved performance on their previous 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Lions, back in mid-November but after just five minutes of the game, it was looking like lightning may strike twice for Nottingham, as they took control of the opening exchanges, scoring twice, thanks to well-taken efforts from Wallis and Dimitrijevs.
Having found themselves on the back-foot from the off, Hull quickly regrouped and halved the deficit on the ten minute mark, courtesy of a power play goal from Jordan Fisher.
Rob McDonald scores his first goal in Lions colours.
Andrews' blistering shot from the blue line was unlucky to ricochet off the crossbar after eighteen minutes and this then triggered three quick goals for the Lions, as Parker, Wallis and Hall all found a way past Jets goalie David Good, to put Matt Bradbury's side comfortably in charge before the buzzer for the end of the first period sounded.
Tempers began to flare on twenty-seven minutes, when Gretton and Ravis Sadinovs grappled with each other in a flurry of fists, the pair then came crashing to the ice before being banished to their respective penalty boxes, with 2+2 roughing calls.
A short spell of indiscipline was then to cost Nottingham, when a minute later, they were given a penalty for having too many men on the ice and the visitors the duely capitalised on having the man advantage, with Fisher scoring his second of the night just before the game's halfway mark and seconds later, Hall then joined his two teammates in the home sin-bin, after he was given a two-minute minor for boarding and Kieran Beach grabbed a 5-on-3 power play goal to bring the Jets to within touching distance once again.
It took just ninety seconds for a full-strength Lions side to retain their stranglehold on the game however, Dimitrijevs popped up to score his second of the game and fourteenth of the season, whilst Polish forward Kasprzak then got in on the action on thirty-eight minutes, netting his side's seventh of the game, which signalled a change of netminder for the visitors, as Jack Dalby replaced Good inbetween the pipes.
Young prospect Hamish Hall netted two goals against the Jets.
The change of goaltending personnel did little to keep a unstoppable Nottingham side at bay, as they heaped more misery on Hull inside the opening minute of the final period, when Hall scored his second goal of the evening.
This was quickly followed up by Connor Glossop netting the Lions' ninth goal, four minutes later, as it became increasingly clear that a Jets fight-back was not going to be forthcoming.
Bradbury's boys then quickly reached double figures, as Dimitrijevs completed his hat-trick and Parker slotted home his second of the night, with ten minutes still left to play.
Gretton then bagged his first senior goal with seven minutes remaining before McDonald scored his first goal in a Lions jersey, two minutes later.
A momentary lapse of concentration gifted Hull a short-handed effort and Fisher a hat-trick, on fifty-six minutes before Andrews added himself to the long list of home goalscorers, just seconds after the restart to complete the scoring and ensure Nottingham achieved back-to-back-wins for only the second time this season and moved-up one place to sixth, in the league standings.
The Lions now look to continue their winning run, as they face their final double-header weekend of 2014, with a trip to West Yorkshire on Saturday (13th December) to face the Bulldogs at Bradford Ice Arena (4.45pm) before returning home to face the high-flying Telford Tigers the following day (Sunday 14th December) at the NIC (7.30pm). Ticket details are available by clicking here.
Photos courtesy of Peter McConnochie / Urban Scot Photography.
Craig Wallis 2+2, Jamie Hovell 0+1, Ivo Dimitrijevs 3+1, Stuart Parker 2+1, Hamish Hall 2+2, Slawomir Kasprzak 1+1, Connor Glossop 1+0, Sam Illsley 0+1, Adam Andrews 1+1, Ben Wood 0+2, Rob McDonald 1+0, Luke Evans 0+2, Joe Gretton 1+0, Christy Johnson-Brown 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 5-1, 2nd 2-2, 3rd 7-1.
Shots: 1st 17-6, 2nd 17-11, 3rd 27-2. Total 61-19.
Penalty Mins: 1st 4-2, 2nd 8-6, 3rd 0-6. Total 12-14.
Lions MOTM (sponsored by Ice Breakers): Ivo Dimitijevs.