Hull Jets 5 Nottingham Lions 4.
The Lions and the Jets took to the ice at Hull Arena on Saturday evening to battle it out over the two points on offer. Both teams were meeting each other for the first time in the 2014/15 Laidler D2 competition and wanted to set the tone for the future encounters.
Ben Wood grabbed the Lions' first goal.
Youngster Sam Illsley made a welcome return from injury for his first appearance of the season and 16 year-old Cameron Pywell made his senior hockey debut. With two in, Nottingham had three absentees, Slawomir Kasprzak, Lee Holland and Adam Andrews didn’t make the trip to Humberside.
The first period got under way with Warren Gilfoyle facing down his former team mates between the pipes and the Jets came out with all guns blazing and dominated the first two minutes barely letting the Lions touch the puck.
The fruits of Hull’s labour came with a little over two minutes played, when Andrew Ward worked the puck past Gilfoyle putting the home side in the lead. The Lions fought hard to get the puck out of their own zone after that but found the Jets were picking off the long range passes the Lions needed to break out, with every small error the Lions made, the Jets were ready to punish. The second Hull goal came shortly after the 10 minute mark when Richard Chadburn used pace to find space and put the Jets ahead by two.
Fortunes didn’t change quickly for Matt Bradbury’s boys and Hull’s smothering play drew a penalty from Conor Gordon who took a hooking minor trying to break the Jets offensive pressure. Not one to pass up an advantage, Ben Spurgeon made use of the extra ice and slotted one into the mesh. Three wasn’t enough for the home side and with under two minutes to go, Jamie Cobley scord the fourth goal and it looked as if he’d put the final nail in the Lions’ coffin.
Character is a huge factor in hockey and the Lions then showed they had it by the bucket load. Fed up of being penned in the neutral zone Sam Illsley and Ben Wood had a two man break out and Wood opened the Lions scoring account in style with a minute to go. Ivo Dimitrievs, not to be outdone, put the Nottingham within two with just 20 seconds to go thanks to an assist from Dan Hazeldine. After six goals in one period, both sides were happy for the whistle to sound and signal a few minutes respite.
Ivo Dimitrijevs celebrates netting the Lions' second goal.
Tom Hovell relieved Gilfoyle going into the second period and the first 10 minutes saw chances for each side but with both having the measure of each other, neither was able to capitalise. The Lions adopted shorter passes and with pressure, the forwards battled themselves into space and began earning better quality chances.
A suspected missed slashing call led to pushing and shoving behind the Lions’ goal and Conor Gordon and Andrew Ward earned two minutes rest for roughing, opening the way for four on four hockey.
Two minutes after the penalty expired, the feisty Lions managed to cut down the space available to the Jets and work the puck into their defensive zone where Connor Glossop rocketed the Lions to within one after converting a fantastic feed by Gordon into gold. The Nottingham defense went to work to hold the Jets at a single goal lead and an impressive effort ensured the Jets were only able to make long range efforts on goal that were easily handled by a cool-headed Hovell.
Keeping within fashion of the first period, Joe Humphries took a pass from captain Luke Thomas in the slot and bought the Lions back to level terms going into the third period.
Youngster Joe Humphries celebrates getting his side back on level terms.
The third got underway with all involved looking weary. Two hard periods took their toll but the efforts only increased. Early in the period Jordan Fisher managed to crack the Lions’ hearty resolve and put the home town team back in the lead.
Back and forth the play went with few chances for the boys in black and gold.Dmitrijevs came close mid period using skilled footwork to bypass three Jets before seeing his wrist shot lift over the bar and ricochet off the glass. A flurry of chances came and went but the Jets’ defense and netminder Jack Dalby held fast and carried the one goal lead to the buzzer.
A fantastic display of tenacity from the Lions who for all intents and purposes were out of the game before the end of the first period. A similar tenacity from the Jets kept the winners from collapsing under pressure and eventually scraped the win. Deservedly Connor Glossop took the Lions’ man of the match, all be it under stiff competition from any number of his team mates and Declan Pearson took the honours for the hometown victors.
The Lions now travel to Telford this Saturday (11th October) to face off against the Tigers at the Telford Ice Rink, the puck drops at 17:30. They then return home and immediately face the Widnes Wild at the National Ice Centre on Sunday the 12th, face off at 19:30. Ticket details are available by clicking here.
Photos are courtesy of Ed Chappell.