Lee Valley took the spoils in an entertaining London derby at Alexandra Palace on Saturday night. Former Racer Ross Sin-Hidge backed a hat-trick for the Lions with Captain Nick Alley adding a pair, along with a prominent showing from Lee Hounslow, another former Haringey man.
Racers took the lead in the 5th minute with Josh Abbott bursting up the inside left before passing across to Dan Clayton to hit a tidy finish. Three minutes later Lee Valley were level when James Hepburn skated around the back of the net and scooped a backhand shot into the top corner. The visitors were soon in the lead when Hounslow and Sin-Hidge worked hard around the net to find Alley who scored off the underside of the bar. Some penalty trouble for the hosts gave the Lions a lengthy 5-on-3 powerplay but Matthew Brown – making his first start of the season – produced two fine saves to deny Sin-Hidge and Matthew Hepburn.
The opening spells of the second period saw Lee Valley dominate the play but miss several good chances to extend their lead. Haringey seemed to have settled by the time a Matt Brown stinger struck the base of the post, but at the other end Alley added his second and the teams third goal when he skated in off the boards and scored through the five-hole. Racers soon replied when a nice breakout pass from Clayton put Brown through to beat the keeper. Late in the session, Haringey were level with a pretty goal. A surging Robin Martinsson played a drop pass to Sam Park and then was in position to re-direct his linemate’s shot into the goal. The period ended all square at 3-3.
Thirty seconds into the final session, Lions were back in front with Sin-Hidge applying the finish to a very patient powerplay goal. Another Sin-Hidge powerplay goal in the 49th minute extended Lee Valley’s lead, firing high into the goal from out on the left. Aaron Mallet replaced an unwell Matthew Brown in goal for the last 11 minutes and Racers got some hope with a Matt Brown strike 8 minutes from the end. However, in the closing minutes Racers took a hotly debated too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty and another tidy powerplay goal, again finished by Sin-Hidge, put the game to bed.
Racers finish their season away at Invicta Mustangs on Saturday 1st April. (Face off 5.15pm)
Racers scoring: Matt Brown 2+0, Dan Clayton 1+2, Robin Martinsson 1+0, Josh Abbott 0+2, Sam Park 0+1, Ben Osborne 0+1, Jack Ball 0+1
Lions scoring: Ross Sin-Hidge 3+1, Nick Alley 2+2, James Hepburn 0+1, Simon Jones 0+3, Lee Hounslow 0+1
Netminders: Racers – Matthew Brown 33 shots/28 saves & Aaron Mallet 8 shots/7 saves; Lions – George Alley 31 shots/27 saves
Man of the Match: Matt Brown (Racers), Nick Alley (Lions)
Match report by Tim Stuart