Nottingham Lions 4 Coventry ENL Blaze 0
Nottingham Lions claimed their first points of the year and their first clean-sheet of the season with a hard fought victory over fellow relegation rivals Coventry ENL Blaze at the NIC on Sunday night.
An outstanding 42-shot shutout from Lions netminder Sam Gospel plus goals from Joe Wightman (2), Ciaran Quinn and Gareth O’Flaherty helped the Lions to leap-frog their opponents in the table, climbing out of the relegation places.
The Blaze dominated large parts of the play for the first 40 minutes but failed to penetrate Gospel’s goal. However, the Lions’ attack continued to look dangerous and Wightman broke through with seconds left in the first.
Gareth Owen came the closest for the visitors hitting the metalwork early in the second before Wightman grabbed his second on the powerplay with five minutes left in the period.
Into the third, man of the match Quinn was on target, then a short-handed effort from O’Flaherty put the game beyond the Blaze’s reach and a lengthy hold-up after a line brawl with 30 seconds left on the clock, only held up the inevitable for Coventry.
The victory now means the Lions have the head-to-head advantage over the Blaze by two goals and will finish above their midlands rivals should the teams be level on points at the end of the season.
LionsTV interviews with Matt Bradbury, Ciaran Quinn and Coventry Blaze’s Craig Newton and Matt Selby are now available to view on our online TV channel.
Telford Titans await the Lions at Telford Ice Rink next Saturday (5.30pm) before they return home to take on the Trafford Metros at the NIC on Sunday (7.15pm).
Joe Wightman 2+0, Ciaran Quinn 1+0, Gareth O’Flaherty 1+0, Michael Rose 0+2, Jack Clarkson 0+1, Ben Wood 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 1-0, 2nd 1-0, 3rd 2-0.
Shots: 1st 19-11, 2nd 9-17, 3rd 17-14. Total 45-42.
Penalty Mins: 1st 12-2, 2nd 10-8, 3rd 34-32. Total 56-42.
Lions MOTM: Ciaran Quinn.