Sheffield Spartans 4 Nottingham Lions 6
The Lions travelled to Ice Sheffield knowing they were in for a tough local derby game. Sheffield had not lost since the beginning of October giving them a five-game streak with four wins and one draw.
An entertaining game saw the Lions claw back two-goal deficits twice, before an outstanding third period saw them score four times and shut-out their opponents.
However, the Lions didn’t get off to the best of starts finding themselves two goals down in less than 6 minutes. Will Barron arrived first onto a rebound from Richard Griffiths’ initial save to grab the home sides’ first (03.06) then a lovely individual effort from Jon Woolhouse put the Spartans two up (05.44).
The visitors rode their luck a little over the following five minutes – the home side thought they had found the net for a third time only for the eagle-eyed official to wipe-out the goal, correctly spotting that the net was off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. The crossbar also prevented another chance for a Spartans third seconds later.
As the clock ticked down the Lions gradually picked up their game and eventually found their way past Spartans netminder Mark Harley courtesy of Gareth O’Flaherty after some good work down the left from Chris Colegate and then Joe Wightman (15.34).
The Lions then tied the game in the dying seconds of the first with a 5-on-3 powerplay goal from Joe Wightman (19.13).
Four minutes into the second period Sheffield were back in front after some hard-work to keep the puck in the offensive zone, it fell kindly to Shaun Wild who slotted home (24.19).
Both sides continued to have their chances before Nathan Britton got on the end of some smart passing to grab the hosts fourth (32.11).
After Britton’s goal the Lions bench felt a change of netminder was required and on came young Sam Gospel who went on to make a number of fine stops which went on to earn him the man of the match award.
A sparkling third period for the Lions began just a few seconds in, after Colegate snatched the puck off an opponent in the neutral zone and after peppering Hartley with a couple of shots Mark Corfield finally found a way to goal (40.53).
Nottingham’s second game-tying goal came as Marcus Maynard powered up the ice and put up a lovely pass for Ben Wood to grab the Lions’ fourth (53.04).
By now the momentum had most-definitely swung Nottingham’s way and two more goals were to follow – firstly a brilliant Ciaran Quinn shot from the blue line put the visitors in front for the first time (53.48) before Danny Rose sealed the win with a powerplay goal (58.55). Sheffield thought they’d got back into the game with seconds remaining but once again they had a goal waved off, this time for high sticks and the Lions hung-on to claim the victory which takes them out of the division’s relegation places.
A beaming Head Coach – Matt Bradbury joked after the game saying “The boys are absolutely delighted and the coaching staff are mentally drained – But it was an absolutely phenomenal night – these guys never give up, they worked their socks off and we just hope that tonight turns our season around”.
Matt also had many words of praise for all his players right across the squad, adding “the young goalie Gospel was outstanding – he gave us big confidence tonight – Dan Hazeldine covered a lot of ice and worked really hard tonight as did Ryan Rathbone”.
The Lions now turn their attention to table-topping Billingham Stars who come to the National Ice Centre tomorrow evening (Sunday 13th) in what promises to be a corker. Face-Off is at 7.15pm.
SO DON’T MISS OUT – COME ALONG AND WATCH THE LIONS’ ROAR!!!
Matchday Ticket Prices:
Adults – £5.00
Children (under 16) & OAP’s – £3.00
Students (with NUS card) – £4.00
Panthers Season Ticket Holders
(Must Show Panthers Season Ticket) – £3.00
All tickets are available on match nights only, from the Box Office.
Box office opens at 6:45pm.
Stats:- Gareth O’Flaherty 1+0, Joe Wightman 1+3, Mark Corfield 1+0, Ciaran Quinn 1+1, Ben Wood 1+0, Danny Rose 1+1, Chris Colegate 0+5, Nick Whyatt 0+1, Marcus Maynard 0+1.
1st 2-2, 2nd 2-0, 3rd 0-4.
Man of the Match: Sam Gospel.