Sheffield Senators 2 Nottingham Lions 7
The Nottingham Lions comfortably secured the two points in their first game of a double header weekend, against their local rivals Sheffield Senators at Ice Sheffield on Saturday afternoon.
Nottingham were looking to get back to winning ways after a loss and a tie in their previous two games. Whilst after a poor start to the season, their South Yorkshire-based opponents have been showing signs of improvement, holding the table-topping Deeside Dragons and Coventry Blaze to credible draws in recent weeks.
Absent for the Lions were Mikey Rose, Neil Adams, Slawomir Kasprzak and Chris Allen, whilst Cameron Good and Jack Baveystock both retuned to the line-up after missing out on last weekend’s draw at Widnes.
The Senators were looking for revenge after their 4-1 defeat at the hands of Matt Bradbury’s side at the National Ice Centre last month but surprisingly, they seemed to struggle from the off and never really posed a regular threat towards Alan Levers’ net all afternoon.
Christy Johnson- Brown got the Lions off to the best possible start inside the first three minutes, where from the left side of the crease he squeezed a shot past Senators goalie Mark Hartley’s right hand post.
Johnson-Brown was at it again just three minutes later to double the visitors lead after a pinpoint Connor Glossop pass allowed him the space and time to fire the puck home again.
A costly ‘too many men’ call allowed Sheffield back into the game on seventeen minutes as Joel Aheran capitalised on the resulting power play to make it a one-goal game.
However, it took less than a minute for the Lions to restore their two-goal advantage, top-scorer Dan Hazeldine grabbing his seventh of the season on the power play after Josh Wheway had been sent to the box for high sticking.
A more intense second period was to follow, which was more in keeping with what the bumper crowd were expecting from a Sheffield-Nottingham derby game.
Ben Wood scrambled home Nottingham’s fourth, two minutes after the restart and shortly after, the Lions’ American import Luke Branin was involved in a brief scuffle with the Senators’ Luke Smith, resulting in them both being given 2+2 for roughing, with the latter also having to serve a ten minute misconduct penalty.
The gloves were off again just five minutes later, once again it was a fairly brief encounter as Nottingham captain Luke Thomas went toe-to-toe with Arran Bell but Thomas ended up losing his footing before the fight had really had chance to heat up.
The Lions fifth goal on thirty-six minutes, would go down as a very special one for sixteen year-old Jordan Bloom, who managed to force the puck past Hartley’s left pad from the side of the net, to score his first senior goal on his competitive Lions debut.
Sheffield made a valiant attempt to try and salvage something from the game in the third period and did pull a goal back through their Latvian import Sergej Jegorovs, with twelve minutes remaining.
Realistically though, any hope a of a Sheffield comeback had been ended in the second period and the Lions made sure of the points, bagging two goals in quick succession from Joe Wightman and Branin, with a couple of minutes to go.
Nottingham will now look to secure a four point weekend, as they welcome the Hull Stingrays to the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening (7.30pm), no doubt eager to go one better than the last meeting between the two sides, where the points were shared in an exciting 4-4 tie at Hull Arena back in September.
Ticket details for what promises to be another thrilling encounter are available by clicking here.
Christy Johnson-Brown 2+0, Dan Hazeldine 1+0, Jordan Bloom 1+0, Ben Wood 1+1, Joe Wightman 1+2, Luke Branin 1+1, Craig Wallis 0+1, Reece Glossop 0+1, Connor Glossop 0+1, Robert Perks 0+1, James Francis-Barrie 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 1-3, 2nd 0-2, 3rd 1-2.
Lions MOTM: Stephen Breisner.