The Nottingham Lions hit eight goals without reply as they swept past a beleaguered Hull Stingrays side at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening.
All eyes were on Nottingham Panthers legend, 39 year-old Simon Hunt who made his return to senior hockey with the Lions after a gap of twelve years. ‘Hunty’ didn’t disappoint the bumper crowd who turned-up for Nottingham’s first home game of the season, bagging himself two goals.
American import Luke Branin and Panthers two-way deal player Josh Ward also marked their debuts with goals and Michael Rose notched up two strikes against his former club.
Hull took to the ice short-benched with only fifteen skaters including two netminders and did not do themselves any favours by conceding four goals in the first eight minutes. Christy Johnson-Brown hitting the first after three minutes followed, two minutes later by Simon Hunt who unleashed one of his trademark piledrivers from the blueline to double the Lions’ lead on the powerplay.
Callum Worthington-Evans then popped up with a third with seven minutes on the clock before Josh Ward slotted home a fourth sixty seconds later.
The Stingrays hurriedly called a time-out which seemed to have the desired effect as they became increasingly harder to beak down as the period wore on but still producing little in the way of any attacking threat to Sam Gospel’s goal.
Into the second, Hull seemed focused on damage limitation as they proved a tough nut to crack. Luke Branin grabbing the only goal of the period three minutes in.
Lions’ Reece Glossop and Stingrays’ James Maughan were both given a 2+2 for roughing on the half-hour after a short fight which saw both players fall to the ice and minutes later Nottingham’s Joe Steeples was ejected from the game after charging Hull’s captain Jamie Cobley.
The Lions’ slowly ground down Hull’s steely resolve in the third period with three more goals but not before Sam Gospel had to stop Jordan Fisher’s penalty shot with ten minutes remaining.
Simon Hunt hit home his second of the night two minutes later before Michael Rose finished off a flowing move on the powerplay with six minutes to go.
Rose then completed the scoring in the dying seconds of the game tipping the puck past a despondent Warren Gilfoyle.
Overall, an excellent win with numerous excellent performances throughout the team. However, tougher challenges lie ahead for the Lions, starting with a trip to Lancashire to take on Blackburn Eagles next Saturday (22nd September) 17.45 face off.
LionsTV interviews with Lions’ and Stingrays’ players and coaches will be online via our online TV channel tomorrow (Monday) evening.
Christy Johnson-Brown 1+0, Luke Branin 1+3, Simon Hunt 2+0, Josh Ward 1+1, Callum Worthington-Evans 1+0, Ollie Betteridge 0+2, Gareth O’Flaherty 0+1, Elliot Perrin 0+2, Ben Wood 0+3, Michael Rose 2+0.
Period Scores: 1st 4-0, 2nd 1-0, 3rd 3-0.
Penalty Mins: 1st 2-4, 2nd 29-6, 3rd 6-6. Total: 37-16.
Shots on Goal: 1st 15-6, 2nd 13-9, 3rd 14-4. Total: 42-19 (15 on Sam Gospel 4 on Tom Hovell).
Lions Man of the Match (Sponsored by The Castle): Simon Hunt.