Nottingham Lions 4 Coventry Blaze 3
Fresh from the previous night’s last gasp draw in Hull, the Nottingham Lions faced their Midlands-rivals Coventry Blaze at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening, eager to gain revenge on their opponents after last weekend’s 7-1 hammering at the Skydome.
Netminder Alan Levers and forward Neil Adams returned to the line-up after missing out on Saturday’s topsy-turvy draw against the Stingrays, whilst young forward Connor Glossop made his Lions home debut.
Almost instantly the signs didn’t look good for the Lions, when Luke Thomas was given a match penalty after just forty seconds of the game. Thomas seemed to trip Rhys Gillatt but instead was adjudged to have speared him and was thrown out of the game, much to the Nottingham captain’s displeasure.
This seemed to rally the Lions ranks, who were clearly geed up for the evening’s challenge, comfortably killing off the resulting five minute Coventry power play and easily looking the better side during the first period.
Nottingham soon found themselves ahead after six minutes, courtesy of sixteen year-old forward Connor Glossop, who fired into an open net for his first senior goal, knowing he will seldom have an easier opportunity throughout the remainder of his career.
Four minutes from the end of the first, the home side doubled their lead after some neat play from American Luke Branin allowed Ben Wood to slot home his third goal in two games.
The tables were turned in the second period as the Blaze came out stronger and claimed themselves two goals via Gillatt on twenty-five minutes and Joshua Gent with the equaliser, ten minutes later.
The game was still on a knife-edge however, with Connor Ranby in the Blaze goal pulling off a number of fine saves to deny Connor Glossop and Dan Hazeldine amongst others.
The Lions took control of the early stages of the final period with Mikey Rose putting his side back in front after gliding the puck past Ranby from a narrow angle.
Four minutes later Nottingham restored their two-goal advantage thanks an unstoppable Branin shot from the point.
Any thoughts the hosts had that the game was won were quickly dismissed as the Blaze came back once again, reducing their deficit to one after Phil Pollock’s shot found the top left-hand corner of Levers’ net on forty-nine minutes.
Nottingham then rode their luck for large portions of the final ten minutes with Levers producing another solid performance to prevent another Coventry equaliser, whilst at the other end, Hazeldine was unable to put the game beyond the Blaze’s reach after being denied on a one-on-one with Ranby, with ninety seconds left.
The Lions held on to secure the two points and put the memory of last Sunday’s shock scoreline well and truly behind them.
A difficult trip to Solhull Barons at their Hobs Moat Road rink now awaits Matt Bradbury’s men next Sunday evening (6pm) and he will have to have his troops performing at their peak for what is well renowned for being the toughest away trip in the league.
A post-game Lions Radio interview with Head Coach Matt Bradbury can be heard by clicking here.
Connor Glossop 1+0, Ben Wood 1+1, Mikey Rose 1+0, Luke Branin 1+1. Joe Wightman 0+1, Christy Johnson-Brown 0+1, Reece Glossop 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 2-0, 2nd 0-2, 3rd 2-1.
Shots: 1st 12-11, 2nd 10-10, 3rd 16-13. Total: 38-34.
Penalty Mins: 1st 27-0, 2nd 6-6, 3rd 0-4. Total: 33-10.
Lions MOTM (sponsored by Ice Breakers): Connor Glossop.