Lions maintain their unbeaten home form with Oxford win
National League: Lee Valley Lions 7 Oxford City Stars 3
After suffering two disappointing losses on the road, Lee Valley Lions bounced back on Saturday with an emphatic 7-3 victory over Oxford City Stars.
The return to form was all the more satisfying as the Lions had been crushed by the Stars 6-1 back in October.
Scott Beeson opened proceedings for the Lions at 4:43 with a slapshot goal set up by Calum Heath and Gary Dodds.
A second goal followed midway through the period, passes from Dodds and Beeson resulting in Richard Hodge slotting the puck in from the side of the net.
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Lee Valley then shocked Oxford with a third goal, this time Dodds knocking the puck past the keeper in almost identical fashion to Hodge.
The Stars had clearly not expected the Lions to make such a strong start but they were now in big trouble and needed to engage a rapid turnaround if they were to salvage the game.
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Despite calling a time-out, Oxford still couldn’t dampen the Lions’ enthusiasm and the period ended with the visitors trailing 3-0.
The second period was markedly different, an error by netminder Steve Grout leading to Oxford’s first goal at 22:36.
This seemed to shake the Lions’ confidence and gave Oxford a boost.
Lee Valley nonetheless managed to hold their opponents at bay and Calum Heath gave the home side their fourth goal at 32:12, assisted by Adam Peach.
Peach’s play has impressed this season and his hard work did not go unnoticed by fans, but despite this, a defensive error allowed Oxford’s Warren Jones to break away from the pack and score unassisted at 35:43.
James Clarke narrowed the scoreline to 4-3 just before the end of the period and a minor skirmish followed, resulting in James Hatfull sitting out two minutes for roughing.
Lee Valley had allowed Oxford to dominate the second period but they were not going to permit a repeat performance going into the third.
The period opened with Scott Beeson breaking away from the centre line and scoring to restore his side’s two-goal advantage.
Oxford finally began to crumble, Richard Hodge and Calum Heath doing the final damage, scoring the remaining two goals for the hosts.
Lee Valley Lions remain unbeaten at home this season and their slick 7-3 win pushed them into double points in the league table.
The Lions travel to Swindon to face the Wildcats on December 17 for their next league fixture, and are then back at the Lee Valley Ice Centre on January 7, 2012 to challenge local rivals Romford Fury.