Coventry Blaze 1 Nottingham Lions 6.
The Nottingham Lions ran out comfortable winners over the Coventry Blaze in their first game of a Midlands derby, double-header weekend, at the Skydome on Saturday evening.
Braces from youngsters Connor Glossop and Hamish Hall, along with individual strikes from Stuart Parker and Adam Andrews ensured the Lions ended their miserable run of six straight defeats, whilst remaining undefeated against their old local rivals in the 2014/15 NIHL Laidler D2 season.
Two early goals from Connor Glossop helped the Lions on their way to victory.
Coach Bradbury was still without the services of Lee Holland and Ben Foster-Wilson, whilst Christy Johnson-Brown was also unavailable. D-men Elliot Perrin and Sam Illsley made a welcome return to the line-up, along with Under-18s Connor Glossop, Hamish Hall, Joe Humphries, Joe Gretton, Kieran Raynor and Under-16s prospect Ilija Kolosnicins.
With local pride at stake and with many of the squad playing for a place in next season's roster, it was Nottingham who got off to a flying start, thanks to two quick Connor Glossop goals, the first on the power play, gave the Lions an early advantage inside the opening five minutes.
A defensive error in the Nottingham backline then let their hosts back into the game, thanks to a Philip Mulcahy strike after eight minutes.
The Lions continued to dominate the proceedings however and after a brief bout of 'fisticuffs' between Slawomir Kasprzak and Dale Buckland on sixteen minutes, Nottingham found their reward with thirty seconds left in the period, courtesy of top scorer Stuart Parker, who netted his nineteenth of the season, to give the Lions a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.
Slawomir Kasprzak and Coventry's Dale Buckland go toe-to-toe.
More of the same was to follow in the second period as Nottingham continued to move the puck around the ice with speed and accuracy. Shooting the puck and scoring goals has been one of the major problems for the Lions during this campaign, so coach Bradbury would have been pleased to see progress in this department, although Tom Hovell had to face seven more shots than his Coventry counterpart Graham Laverick.
Shooting accuracy may still be an issue for Nottingham, as only one shot made it to the back of the Blaze net in the period, when after twenty-nine minutes, Hall tipped in Luke Thomas' effort from the point, to give the Lions a three goal advantage going into the final period.
Hamish Hall netting his first goal of the evening.
The third period began with Andrews scoring against his old club, with less than two minutes gone, after the veteran defenceman's speculative shot from the blue line found its way into the top left-hand corner of the home side's net.
However, to their credit, Coventry refused to give up on the game and launched a third period barrage on Tom Hovell's net, with the in-form Nottingham custodian refusing to be beaten, despite facing twenty-seven shots in the final twenty minutes.
On fifty-two minutes, Hall was crudely brought down on his way to goal by a Blaze defenseman, signalling a penalty shot for the young forward. Bizarrely, the seventeen year-old then fell to ice before he managed to get his shot away, only then to recover in time to cooly double-deke and fire the puck past replacement goalie Hayden Laverick.
One final world class, glove save from Hovell, signalled the end of an entertaining encounter, as a much-improved Lions side secured their first points since mid-January.
Tom Hovell stopped fifty-four on the fifty-five shots on his net.
The Lions' thoughts now quickly turn towards the National Ice Centre, as they host the high-flying Telford Tigers on Sunday night (7.30pm). More local bragging rights are at stake, with Nottingham looking to take points off the already promoted Midlands outfit. Ticket details are available by clicking here.
A Lions Radio post-game interview with Matt Bradbury can now be heard by clicking here.
Connor Glossop 2+0, Stuart Parker 1+0, Hamish Hall 2+0, Adam Andrews 1+0, Luke Thomas 0+1, Ben Wood 0+1, Slawomir Kaprzak 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 1-3, 2nd 0-1, 3rd 0-2.
Shots: 1st 11-15, 2nd 17-10, 3rd 27-11. Total 55-36.
Penalty Mins: 1st 6-4, 2nd 2-2, 3rd 26-8. Total 34-14.
Lions MOTM: Connor Glossop.