The Nottingham Lions fell to their third defeat in as many games in the Moralee Division in a frantic and fast paced game against the Solway Sharks.
Tom Hovell started in net for the Lions and the game was five and a half minutes old before the first stoppage of the evening when he made his first glove save of the net, catching a wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle on the right-hand side.
It was just over a minute later that the deadlock was broken. Solway had an extended spell of possession in the Lions zone which ended when a Charvet shot from the blue line went through a crowd of bodies in front of Hovell and he could do nothing to keep it out the back of the net. Their lead lasted less than three minutes though when Warren Tait fired a bullet of a wrist shot from the slot into the top shelf of the net from the assist of Joe Aston, and the game was tied at one apiece.
It was a quickfire double for the Nottingham Lions that gave them the lead when Ondrej Pniok put them ahead just 38 seconds later. On the break they advanced on Hepburn on the Solway net and after Marc Levers played a pinpoint cross crease pass, Pniok had an easy tap in at the back post to double the Lions tally.
Marc Levers took Nottingham’s only penalty of the game towards the end of the first period but despite some intense pressure from Solway in the offensive zone, the Lions were able to keep them at bay and get into the first period break a goal to the good.
END OF THE FIRST PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM LIONS 2 – 1 SOLWAY SHARKS
The second period was played at a pace not dissimilar to the first but it was the Lions who were the side to put the next marker in the goal tally with some superb play from the young men on the squad. Joe Humphries and Ruskin Hughes combined well as they advanced on the Solway goal before laying the puck off to Cameron Pywell at the back stick to send the puck home and give the Lions a two-goal advantage.
That advantage lasted less than two minutes however as Solway pulled a goal back through Steven Moore at 33.41 before they went on the penalty kill moments later when Daniel Abercrombie sat for two minutes for tripping. The Lions were unable to capitalize on the powerplay though but returned to the locker room after two periods still leading by a solitary goal.
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD: NOTTINGHAM LIONS 3 – 2 SOLWAY SHARKS
The Sharks made the perfect start to the final period, tying the game up just 28 seconds in when Ian Bowie beat Hovell from the assists of Moore and Kerr. Both sides had an opportunity to take the lead in the final period but it was the Sharks that grasped it with both hands and lead once again four minutes later. Connor Henderson fired home for the visitors assisted by Abercrombie and Scott Henderson.
The Sharks then went on the penalty kill with just under eight minutes to go and the Lions took full advantage of it. With pressure in the Sharks zone the puck found a way into the net and the goal light went on, only for the referee to wave off the goal saying that the puck was put in with a hand.
Inside the final minute and the Lions called a timeout with 54 seconds remaining, pulling Hovell at the end of it and giving the Lions a brief spell of 6-on-5 hockey. They kept the pressure on as best they could but with an empty net at the other end of the ice it was always going to be difficult to keep Solway from scoring their fifth of the evening. Despite a diving block from captain Elliot Perrin from the first attempt the defence could do nothing about the second, and Joe Coulter scored his first of the night to put the game beyond doubt.
Hovell finished with a save percentage of 90.91% but the Lions remain bottom of the league table at this early stage of the season. They travel to Whitley next Sunday to take on the Warriors at 5pm.
Images courtesy of Richard Davies / Chud Photography.