Nottingham Lions 5 Widnes Wild 4.
The Nottingham Lions claimed a hard-fought victory over Widnes Wild at the National Ice Centre on Sunday evening, ending their run of four games without a win.
Two-goal hero - Joe Humphries.
Both sides were still smarting from defeats just 24 hours earlier, with Nottingham going down to a 3-0 defeat away at the Telford Tigers, whilst Widnes found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-1 drubbing by the Sheffield Senators in their home barn.
Head coach Matt Bradbury was still missing Lee Holland, Christy Johnson-Brown and Sam Adcock but was able to call upon defenceman Rob McDonald, who returned to the Lions' line-up after missing out on yesterday's loss in Telford.
42-year old forward Stuart Parker made his second career Nottingham debut after re-signing with the team during the week, whilst defenceman Sam Illsley celebrated his 18th birthday by helping his side to claim two, very welcome points.
Ivo Dimitrijevs was at the heart of the action against the Wild.
The Lions started the game in sprightly fashion and dominated the play in the opening ten minutes but for all their possession, they couldn't make their chances count as Greg Ruxton in the Widnes goal continued to frustrate the home attack.
Nottingham did have their goal on eleven minutes courtesy of veteran debutant Parker, who tapped the puck home, finishing a well-worked power play move.
Penalties were being called thick and fast by the officials and the Lions found themselves short-handed and on the back-foot later in the period, with goalie Warren Gilfoyle having to be at his best to ensure he kept his side in the lead, going into the first intermission.
The match officials continued to have a big influence on the game and with five minutes gone in the second period, Widnes found their equaliser on the power play, via Lee Pollitt.
Eager not to make it five games without a win,the Lions quickly re-grouped and stamped their authority on the game with three unanswered goals in less than as many minutes.
Promising youngster Joe Humphries took his tally up to four for the season with a power play goal on the half-hour mark, followed by a fine individual strike, exactly a minute later.
Dan Hazeldine then finished off some fine attacking play from Ben Wood and Ivo Dimitrijevs to score Nottingham's fourth of the night.
Due to the scrappy and penalty strewn nature of the game, it was with some inevitability that tempers would flair and on 33 minutes Wood and Dan Bracegirdle came to blows behind the Wild net but with the officials already in the mix, they managed to separate the two culprits before any real punches were landed.
Sam Illsley celebrated his 18th birthday with a win.
The Lions' three goal cushion was reduced to two, three minutes into the final period, when Shaun Dippnall's shot found a way past Gilfoyle, as the Wild made it clear that they were not about to go down without a fight.
As with the first two periods, penalties continued to be dished out to both sides at an alarming rate, this then triggered two short-handed goals, with the first coming for the Lions on 47 minutes when Latvian import Dimitrijevs finished off a well-worked attacking move.
Widnes' Chris Preston then netted his own team's short-handed goal three minutes later but not before a minor line-brawl had broken out after an altercation between Dimitrijevs and Lee Pollitt, which saw the talented Latvian then sin-binned for a boarding call.
The Wild's Slovakian import Filip Supa then made it a one-goal game but with less than a second left of the clock, it was too late for the visitors to find an equaliser and the result meant that Nottingham leap-frogged their opponents into eighth place in the NIHL Laidler D2 standings.
Bradbury's men now turn their focus to their biggest test of the season so far, as they prepare for a trip to the unbeaten league-leaders Solihull Barons next Sunday (6pm). The table-topping Barons have scored an impressive 88 goals in just 7 games but the Lions will be buoyed by having picked-up two unexpected wins at their Midlands rival's rink, over their previous two campaigns.
Photos courtesy of Peter McConnachie - www.urbanscot.co.uk.
Stuart Parker 1+2, Joe Humphries 2+1, Dan Hazeldine 1+0, Ivo Dimitrijevs 1+1, Adz Andrews 0+2, Luke Thomas 0+1, Hamish Hall 0+2, Ben Wood 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 1-0, 2nd 3-1, 3rd 1-3.
Shots: 1st 17-14, 2nd 19-12, 3rd 11-13.Total 47-39.
Penalty Mins: 1st 8-10, 2nd 34-10, 3rd 10-18. Total 52-38.
Lions MOTM (sponsored by Ice Breakers): Adam Andrews.