Nottingham Lions 4 Sheffield Senators 1
The Nottingham Lions triumphed over local rivals Sheffield Senators in a feisty encounter at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening, increasing their winning streak to four games in the process.
Matt Bradbury’s side came in to the game in fine form, on the back of impressive victories against Coventry, Solihull and Widnes, respectively.
The Lions had no fresh injury or suspension worries as Neil Adams returns to their line-up after missing out on last weekend’s win. Canadian Chris Allen, American Luke Branin got the nod over Pole Slawomir Kasprzak, for the two available import spaces.
The Senators were slowly beginning to show the kind of form which made them genuine promotion contenders during their last campaign. After a poor start to this season had seen them lose their first four games before recently picking points against Blackburn and Coventry.
The visitors also named former Lions D-men Jonny Bell and Elliot Perrin in their line-up, both of whom were both eager to get one over their old club on their home ice.
The game began with both sides keen to make their mark early on and it was the home side who found the net first, via Joe Wightman after eight minutes.
Two minutes before the end of the first, Nottingham doubled their lead as Reece Glossop fired home for his first goal of the season.
The second period began with the Senators making it clear that it wasn’t all going to be plain sailing for their hosts, when four minutes in, Luke Smith slotted the puck past Alan Levers to put the game back on a knife edge.
Five minutes later the Lions restored their two-goal cushion, as Dan Hazeldine pounced on a loose puck and showed some neat skill before calmly slotting the puck into the roof of Mark Hartley’s net.
Fifteen minutes remained in the final period when Mikey Rose put the game’s outcome beyond any doubt, scoring Nottingham’s fourth of the evening.
Nottingham-Sheffield games are usually notoriously high-intensity affairs but tempers didn’t begin to flair until inside the final ten minutes, when Rose took exception to a Bell interference call, causing the pair to exchange numerous blows before the Nottingham hard-man took control of the fight, knocking the ex-Lion to the ice, leaving him with a nasty-looking facial injury and resulting in him exiting the game early for treatment.
Both players were given a 2+2 for roughing, whilst the Senators’ Tom Ray was also tossed out of the game for a head-butt in the resulting melee.
The Lions’ Rob Perks and Sheffield’s Jordan Martin were also both sent to the penalty box for squaring-up in front of Levers’ goal two minutes later, in what was to be the last piece of major action in the game, which the Lions closed out comfortably to collect the two points.
Nottingham can now look forward to a well-earned weekend off before they face the table-topping Deeside Dragons at the NIC on Sunday 3rd November (7.30pm).
Joe Wightman 1+0, Reece Glossop 1+0, Dan Hazeldine 1+2, Mikey Rose 1+0, Joe Steeples 0+1, Craig Wallis 0+1, Tom Hovell 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 2-0, 2nd 1-1, 3rd 1-0.
Shots: 1st 13-11, 2nd 9-7, 3rd 19-15. Total: 41-33.
Penalty Mins: 1st 16-2, 2nd 4-0, 3rd 12-35. Total: 32-37.
Lions MOTM (sponsored by Ice Breakers): Jamie Hovell.