Nottingham Lions vs Blackburn Eagles
The Eagles will be making their second visit to the NIC tonight in what should be an intriguing encounter. On their last visit the Eagles snatched a victory coming back in the third period to gain a 2-3 result. Their results have taken some strange turns as they stormed to a 1-8 victory at Bradford Bulldogs in their first game of the season and suffered to heavy defeats home and away against the Deeside Dragons before their second on the road victory 2-3, probably against the odds, at the Altrincham Aces.
Eagles have worked hard pre season to pull together a strong contingent of players and, in the main, have acquitted themselves very well apart from the two most obvious and devastating results.
The Lions, having completed a massive four point weekend have had a few days off to allow what they achieved to fully sink in but have to realise there is still a long season ahead with many challenges before them.
Some pundits did not give our boys a great deal chance against the Dragons, but they proved them wrong with a game plan that the Dragons could not live with on the night. As the Dragons Head Coach Lol Paul stated his team were humiliated and out muscled by kids with face cages who iced against a Dragons team of predominantly grown men with obviously more hockey experience.
Last Sunday, after a long late journey home two of the under 20s travelled with their team to Solihull whilst five of the under 18s played a home game against Whitley Bay before with hardly a fresh breath drawn pulled on a Lions shirt for yet another 60 minutes of senior hockey against the Altrincham Aces. That amount of commitment is what sets these young guys apart and this shows in their eagerness to just get on with the game and give 100% on every shift.
Every game requires this level of commitment from every single player on the team with the young guys taking their lead from the senior players who remain the backbone of the Lions. The experience of the seniors plus the drive and energy of the younger players just have to keep up the momentum as they have just raised the bar with their latest results.
The Lions face a team on Sunday that are capable of taking points and so will have to keep the work rate going and stick to the game plan to ensure the good results continue. The coaching team are obviously very proud of what the team have achieved to date and I am sure know that there is more to come from this young team but they also know they cannot rest on their laurels otherwise there are teams waiting for Lions to suffer a reversal of fortunes.
Face off Sunday at the National Ice Centre is 7.30pm