Nottingham Lions 4 Sheffield Senators 5.

The Nottingham Lions had to settle for a two-point, double header weekend, after narrowly losing to local rivals Sheffield Senators, in a thrilling encounter at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening.

91IvoDimitrijevsVsSheffieldIvo Dimitrijevs scored his fourth goal in three games.

The Lions entered the game in a positive frame of mind, after a convincing 7-2 win at Bradford Bulldogs the previous night and were eager to impress in their first home game of the 2014/15 NIHL Laidler D2 season.

Recent games against the Senators have always proved to be fantastic entertainment and a bumper crowd had filled the NIC, in anticipation of another hotly contested derby clash.

Warren Gilfoyle made his first Lions start in between the pipes, whilst Dan Hazeldine, Conor Gordon and Sam Adcock all returned after missing Saturday's trip to West Yorkshire. Ben Wood, Lee Holland and Sam Illsley did not feature.

Perhaps surprisingly, the first period failed to live up to its billing, with both teams looking like they were getting the measure of each other and preparing for a bigger push in the second twenty.

91DimitrijevsGoalCelebVsSheffThe Lions celebrate their second goal.

The following period saw the visitors come out and dominate large portions of the play, with Nottingham struggling to force the puck from their own zone but it was the short-handed Lions who were to strike first on 25 minutes, when Connor Glossop pounced on a Sheffield defensive error behind their own net and cooly slotted the puck past a startled Mark Hartley in the Senators' goal.

Glossop's strike didn't seem to dent Sheffield's resolve however, as they continued to force the issue in the Lions' own zone and Gilfoyle had to be in top form to continue to deny the speedy and skillful Senators forward lines.

But once again, against the run of play, Nottingham scored a second on 33 minutes, when Latvian import Ivo Dimitrijevs netted his fourth goal in three games, finishing off a sublime counter attacking play at Hartley's right-hand post.

This was the catalyst for the game to turn on it's head for the remainder of the period, with the visitors now struggling to keep the Lions' hungry youngsters at bay. Hazeldine came the closest to adding a third, when he struck the post with three minutes left on the clock.

Nottingham did get their third via Hazeldine, three minutes into the final period, leaving them in a commanding position but the youthful home line-up then showed their inexperience by letting a three-goal lead slip from their grasp in the space of just sixty seconds.

Two goals from Josh Gent and a Thomas Humphries strike left a shell-shocked Lions side reeling and there worse was to come for Matt Bradbury's side, when Sergevs Jegorovs gave Sheffield the lead on the power play, with 13 minutes remaining.

91Dimirijevs4ConnorGlossopVsSheffDimitrijevs and Connor Glossop in action on Sunday night.

To their credit, Nottingham fought their way back and equalised, courtesy of 16 year-old forward Joe Humphries on 52 minutes but the Senators re-took the advantage, when Nathan Britton bagged a goal with less than three minutes to go.

Sadly, the Lions couldn't capitalise on a late power play,with Gilfoyle pulled from the nets and Sheffield were able to take the two points back up the M1.

More local rivals now await Nottingham, as they look to bounce back at the first attempt, when they travel to the Skydome next Saturday, to take on Coventry Blaze (5pm).

Match Stats:

Connor Glossop 1+0, Ivo Dimitrijevs 1+1, Dan Hazeldine 1+1, Joe Humphries 1+0, Luke Thomas 0+1, Craig Wallis 0+1, Rob McDonald 0+1.

Period Scores: 1st 0-0, 2nd 2-0, 3rd 2-5.

Shots: 1st 6-13, 2nd 12-14, 3rd 11-18. Total 29-45.

Penalty Mins: 1st 0-2, 2nd 6-6, 3rd 2-4. Total 8-12.

Lions MOTM (sponsored by Ice Breakers): Connor Glossop.

Sunday, 14 September 2014.
Simon Ball-McQueen - Press Liaison Officer