After an 8-1 defeat to the Solihull Barons on Saturday afternoon in the main arena in Nottingham, the Lions returned to action on Sunday night as the Deeside Dragons visited for the first time this season. Knowing that a victory would lift them back off the bottom of the table, Matt Bradbury’s side gave it everything they had and were rewarded with a night to remember.

No fewer than five Lions players finished the evening with multiple points against their names and it was Jake Fisher who would be the first to open the scoring at 8.55 when he poked the puck home from the assists of Marc Levers and Ondrej Pniok, who went crashing into the boards and had to be helped off the ice. The one goal lead lasted for just four and a half minutes though when Levers was bought down as he rushed towards Bird, won a penalty shot, and duly dispatched it with some beautiful dekes to double the Lions lead at 13.31.


The second period was tight and physical as the Lions tried to hold on to their lead and the Dragons were determined not to let the score line become one that they could not come back from. The period only had the one goal though and it went the way of the Lions to Joe Aston. As the Lions were killing off a penalty Bird came way out of his goal past the hash marks to try and claim a loose puck but he mistimed it completely and left Aston with an empty net that he was never going to miss.

Deeside struggled to stay out of the box in the middle period and after Owen Bennett checked Marc Levers to the head off the puck leaving the Lions man down on the ice, he was ejected from the game leaving the Dragons with only fourteen skaters. Levers was fine and would return to the ice in the final period, but the Lions went back into the dressing room at the end of 40 minutes in an unprecedented position, leading by three goals to nil.


So often this season early goals at the start of periods have crippled the Lions and denied them numerous points. This time though it was Nottingham who killed the game off completely early in the third. Still on the powerplay from the Bennett incident towards the end of the second period, it took Fisher only 49 seconds to make it 4-0 from Levers’ assist. 34 seconds later Ruskin Hughes scored his first of the evening from the assists of Cameron Pywell and Joe Aston and 31 seconds after that Levers got his second of the night as Fisher became the assist man alongside Luke Thomas. After going in at the end of 40 minutes at 3-0, by 42 minutes it was 6-0.

A fight occurred between Joe Gretton and Ryan Jones at 45.44 as the Dragons tried to rally themselves to get something out of the contest, but Hughes’ second goal from Aston’s assist to make it 7-0 at 49.22 added another nail to the coffin. With the game put to bed and the Lions about to record a historic victory, Hughes decided that he wanted the game puck and at 56.12 he took it home. It was Pywell and Aston with the assists again and the scoreboard read 8-0.

Sadly for Alan Levers he was unable to get a shutout as Christopher Jones finally got one past him with 3.05 remaining but nothing could put a damper on the mood in the Lions camp as an 8-1 victory was posted and after a defeat for Billingham the Lions move up to eighth in the Moralee League table.


Ruskin Hughes finished with three goals, Jake Fisher with two goals and one assist, Marc Levers with two goals and two assists, Cameron Pywell with two assists, Joe Aston with one goal and three assists and Luke Thomas and Ondrej Pniok both ended the game with an assist to their name. The Lions now have December on the road as they face Hull, Telford and Blackburn before Christmas, they return home on January 7th when Deeside once again visit the National Ice Centre.

Tuesday, 05 December 2017.
Chris Gadsby