Nottingham Lions 17 Bradford Bulldogs 3.
A chilly November night greeted the Nottingham Lions and the Bradford Bulldogs on Sunday at the National Ice Centre, in their second Laidler D2 match-up of the season. Both teams were looking for wins for different reasons but at the end of the night the Lions would be the ones to walk away from a 17-3 win with two points in their pocket.
Luke Evans scored his first two senior goals.
The Lions' ranks were bolstered by the return of Ben Wood, Tom Hovell and Christy Johnson-Brown. However, they were missing captain Luke Thomas, Dan Hazeldine and Reece Glossop. The Bradford Bulldogs took to the ice short-benched, with just ten skaters and no back-up goalie as their Under-18 contingent were unavailable to play.
A big first period for the Lions saw them take a 7-1 lead to the locker room. Connor Glossop opened the Lions account within a minute of the face off and was quickly followed by a steady procession of goals. Stuart Parker found twine twice, whilst Jamie Hovell, Johnson-Brown, Craig Wallis and Hamish Hall all had a marker each. A poorly timed line change did open the door for the Bulldogs to log an entry on the score sheet but the visitors had little else to build on going into the second period.
After the restart, the Bulldogs generated a plethora of chances and dominated the run of play for the first 10 minutes of the period. Thanks to outstanding netminding by Tom Hovell, the visitors were only able to score a single goal from fifteen chances. The Lions tallied four goals from twenty shots, most notably Under-18 Luke Evans, who scored both his first and second senior goals, whilst Ivo Dmitijevs and Slawomir Kasprzak both slotted home their first goals of the evening. Going into the third the Bulldogs looked like they were not ready to give up the fight, with some pushing and shoving with Adam Andrews after the buzzer on a period that ended 11-2.
Latvian marksman Ivo Dimitrijevs bagged himself a hat-trick.
With the game all but won the third period became a scoring bonanza. Parker and Dmitrijevs both completed their hat tricks, whilst Wallis, Connor Glossop and Johnson-Brown all picked up their second tallies of the game. The Bulldogs refused to be shut-out for even a single period and put away a power play goal on 50 minutes. In a goal strewn affair with chances coming from the most unlikely of places, it was no surprise that the game closed out at a hefty 17-3.
Bradford came in the underdogs and some would say the score was to be expected but it would be a major disservice to say the 10 skaters didn’t test the Lions’ resolve from time to time and even with tired legs, they fought hard until the final buzzer demonstrating that the roots of a decent team for future seasons may well be in place.
With the prospect of a visit from the revenge-seeking Hull Jets next Sunday, the confidence building win could not come at a better time for Matt Bradbury's side and the Lions now have the chance to continue that momentum and make real progress through the standings, as they enter the heart of the season.
Veteran forward Stuart Parker picked-up seven points against the Bulldogs.
Next Sunday's (7th December) face off against the Jets at the NIC is at 7.30pm and ticket details are available by clicking here.
Photographs are courtesy of Peter McConnachie / Urban Scot Photography.
Craig Wallis 2+2, Jamie Hovell 1+0, Connor Glossop 2+2, Lee Holland 0+1, Sam Illsley 0+2, Adam Andrews 0+3, Ben Wood 0+2, Slawomir Kasprzak 1+1, Hamish Hall 1+2, Rob McDonald 0+2, Luke Evans 2+0, Joe Gretton 0+1, Christy Johnson-Brown 2+1, Stuart Parker 3+4, Ben Foster-Wilson 0+2, Ivo Dimitrijevs 3+3.
Period Scores - 1st 7-1, 2nd 4-1, 3rd 6-1.
Shots - 63-33.
Penalty Mins - 10-4.
Lions MOTM (sponsored by Ice Breakers): Adam Andrews.