The Lions hit the road tomorrow for their last meeting of the season against he Solihull Barons who may be smarting a bit after their road loss to Billingham a team 3 places below them in the conference. Hopefully Matt Bradbury can call upon sufficient players to fill the bench for the meeting at the always lively Hobs Moat Rink. Thankfully one of the shorter journeys for the team.
The Nottingham Lions ended up in what amounted to a war zone down at the Hobs Moat as the Barons and the Lions locked swords as the officials failed to make decisive decisions. One Lions player took a hit to the head which caused an injury and the officials did not call it and shortly after the hit all the troubles commenced. The Lions bench maintained control whilst others from the Barons entered the affray. The game for the Barons was already in the bag but decided to rough it up. The team then met some hostility from the crowd as the Lions left the ice and due to an incident in the crowd the police were contacted. As an aside the result was an 8-2 win for the Barons. Period Scores:3-0/4-2/1-0. Scorers Thomas Palmer 1+1, Ruskin Hughes 1+0, Cameron Pywell 0+1, and Luke Gerald Evans 0+1.
Weekend Games: Saturday Billingham Stars v Telford Tigers Hull Pirates v Blackburn Hawks Sheffield Steeldogs v Solihull Barons The Nottingham Lions head up the M1 to Sheffield to play the Sutton Sting. The Sting who came back to the Moralee at the start of the season have really confounded the critics and find themselves in a play off position should they continue to put the points on the board. Yet another tough old struggle for the Lions but they have spent the season fighting an uphill battle but battle they will of that there is no doubt. The Lions then return to home ice to face the Blackburn Hawks on Sunday with a 7,30pm face off.
Sunday Nottingham Lions v Blackburn Hawks Whitley Warriors v Hull Pirates Sheffield Steeldogs v Billingham Stars Solihull Barons v Sutton Sting Telford Tigers v Solway Sharks
The Lions faced a determined and well organised Sutton Sting up in Sheffield with the Lions absorbing massive pressure and for long periods they held out. Teams just pile on the pressure knowing that the Lions will begin to get a bit weary and the goals will come. The Lions tactics tend to rely on attempting to close the plays down in the defensive zone and look for the breakaway goal. The inevitable outcome is that loss of concentration and the goals against start to mount. As an attacking force the team relies on a very small number of players and the opposition are well aware of this weakness. Tonight's game saw the guys keep the game tight for long periods but then concede several goals within minutes and tonight was one of those games. The Lions lost the game 9-0 with the period scores being:3-0/2-0/4-0. When you look at the scores around the conference tonight Blackburn conceded 15 goals and Solihull Barons went down 9-0. The big boys in this conference are ripping into the opposition on a very regular basis.
After their mauling at the hands of the Hull Pirates the Blackburn Hawks came to Nottingham to vent their spleen on the Lions and achieved a good result. The game itself was delayed due to contamination believed to be blood on the ice so yet another late night. Due to the lateness of the game the game sheet is not available for stats.
Period scores from last night's game against the Hawks. 0-3/0-2/1-2. Scorers; Ruskin Hughes 1+0, Joseph Gretton 0+1, and Thomas Parkinson 0+1. The Lions did create more chances than of late but unfortunately only one counted on the night.
Why cannot the Panthers give some publicity on the Lions either on their website or the advert packed / nothing worth reading Panthers Journal ? Oh for the old days when we had a true NOTTINGHAM ICE HOCKEY CLUB. I'll bet the vast majority of Panthers fans don't even know of the existence of the Lions let alone their next home fixture.
Hi loupowell52. The days of the link between what was the Trojans and the Panthers were good days as the players, apart from the imports, moved between both teams. That link was cut many years ago as the Trojans became the Jaguars then the Lions and were then linked with the Nottingham Junior Ice Hockey Club. Many Panthers players passed through the Trojans including the likes of Rhodes, Weber, Hunt, Parker, Perkins, and numerous others. Injured players also regained match fitness within the then link between the teams. During those days a number of imports helped out within the junior section with players such as Kurtenbach very much involved. There appears to be absolutely no interest in the development of local talent by the Panthers organisation but in reality there doesn't need to be as they are a separate business whereas in the dark distant past the whole of ice hockey in Nottingham came under the umbrella of one club from Peewee to Panthers.
Weekend Games: Saturday Telford Tigers v Hull Pirates Solway Sharks v Billingham Stars Table topping Tigers take on the 3rd placed Pirates with the Telford team just 2 points ahead of Hull with both teams on the same number of games. Could be a few fireworks and an exciting night for the fans of both teams. Sheffield Steeldogs presently in 2nd place just one point behind Telford will be taking a real interest in this weekend's schedule as Hull and the Tigers play back to back games.
Sunday: Hull Pirates v Telford Tigers Blackburn Hawks v Whitley Warriors Billingham Stars v Solway Sharks Nottingham Lions v Sheffield Steeldogs The Lions take on one of the top three in the conference as the second placed 'Dogs' pay their final visit of the season to the NIC. Although losing out to the 'Dogs' in the previous three games the Lions best results have been achieved in their away games keeping the score in single figures 5-0 and 6-2. The 'Dogs' are after the top spot their goal being to achieve winning their second championship in the two seasons since moving from the ENPL to the NIHL 1. The Lions netminders look to be in for another busy old night. Face off planned for 7.30pm and with the kids on their half term break the late night should not prove a problem. The cheapest hockey night on offer so bring the family along to the NIC.
Tonight's Results: Telford Tigers 7 Hull Pirates 10 Solway Sharks 9 Billingham Stars 4 A real uphill battle ahead for the Tigers as they travel to Hull tomorrow night. The Pirates have moved just ahead of the Tigers as they take top spot, for tonight anyway.
Tonight's Results: Hull Pirates 4 Telford Tigers 5 Blackburn hawks 2 Whitley Warriors 7 Billingham Stars 5 Solway Sharks 9 The Telford Tigers take back top spot with an overtime win at Hull.
Nottingham Lions were home to 3rd place Sheffield Steeldogs and the 'Dogs' take home the points with a 1-9 scoreline. Period scores: 0-4/1-2/0-3. Thomas Palmer scored the only goal for the Lions assisted by Lewis Jones. The Lions did manage to reduce the shots on their goal with Miles Finney seeing out 54mins before youngster Luca Sheldon saw out the remainder of the game.
The Sheffield Steeldogs, following their win, are now joint second in the conference with a game in hand on both the Hull Pirates and top of the shop the Telford Tigers. I spent some time reflecting on the season to date and although not getting across the line with a win the pure dedication of many of this Lions team cannot be overlooked. They train, they play, they travel, all at their own expense and so many of them are experiencing a level of hockey they possibly weren't expecting this season. Just so many young players facing guys that have been around almost since time began and it obviously shows. As many senior players either hung the skates or moved on so the holes were filled by the youngsters and I personally think they have done as well as could be expected given the circumstances. Many of the young guys are still playing at junior level, although for some the top end of the juniors, and they are beginning to settle into their new role, but it will take time. It is learning on the job for the new guys as the time is not available because the conference schedule just moves on and the next game soon comes around with at least one game a week for the vast majority of the season. At junior level there is often a break in the schedule but for the Lions as with all of the teams, in this conference, breaks are as rare as unicorn droppings. It's a tough old game with a punishing schedule and I think that in the main they aint doing that bad.
Weekend Games: Saturday: Billingham Stars v Sheffield Steeldogs Solway Sharks v Hull Pirates Telford Tigers v Blackburn Hawks Sutton Sting V Whitley Warriors Hull Pirates leapt to the top of the conference when on Thursday night they destroyed the Sheffield Steeldogs with an amazing 13-2 scoreline. This sort of result was unheard of within the top three and the Pirates must have really caught the 'Dogs' taking a nap.
Sunday: Blackburn Hawks v Billingham Stars Sheffield Steeldogs v Sutton Sting Hull Pirates v Solway Sharks Nottingham Lions v Telford Tigers
The Lions will be up against it once again on Sunday as the Tigers will be hoping to firstly dispose of the Hawks on Saturday and be looking to claim a four point weekend at the NIC to keep in the running for the top spot. Sheffield Steeldogs will be looking to put to the sword both Billingham and Sutton after the shock demolition on Thursday they suffered at the hands of the Hull Pirates. The battle for the top will be getting progressively more heated as we move swiftly towards this 2018/19 season end.
The Lions came up against a rampant ambitious Telford Tigers who set out to cause the maximum damage and succeeded in their endeavour. The lions fell to their biggest defeat with a 1-17 scoreline the only Lions goal coming from Thomas Palmer with the assist from Ruskin Hughes. Period Scores: 0-4/0-8/1-5. Looking at the scores over the season by the top three against many of the other teams in the conference there will need to be a close look, once again, at the league structure. A look at the Southern 1st Div Conference shows a similar situation with the ex EPL teams outclassing many of the other teams. Whether or not another version of the EPL might be required to level the playing field is perhaps open to debate but then the danger of another collapse due to poor financial management and over ambition could lead us back to where we are today? A strong push for structured development is required at some time because the old timers have to finish one day and teams will then find themselves struggling for replacements. The Nottingham u18s did get a good win against Telford and that was an excellent result against a very good team.
Matt Bradbury sets to one side the NIHL Conference as he sets of to Russia as Head Coach of the GB (Mens) Universities Ice Hockey Team. Two Lions players are in the squad, Ruskin Hughes and Cameron Pywell with ex Lions netminder Thomas Hovell, now with Telford Tigers, also with the team. They will be based in Krasnoyarsk and the ice hockey team are part of a big group of winter sports athletes at the winter equivalent of the world student games. GB Group and Schedule: 26 February: Travel 2 March: Canada 4 March; Switzerland 6th March: Kazakhstan 8 March: Latvia 9 March: Sweden 10 March: return to UK The Universiade is a massive event and the opening ceremonies are equivalent to the Olympics and I am led to believe that President Putin is to open the games. The Lions have had an uphill battle this season with the changes that were put into place by accommodating the ex EPL contingent combined with the loss of players, but this tournament and the competition takes ice hockey to yet another level. In the five years that the GB University teams have attended the games they gained one victory and that was in Kazakhstan, in the last games, when they beat South Korea 3-1. They are in a much tougher group looking at the schedule this time around. A number of scouts visit these games from the major players in ice hockey including the NHL.
The GB Universities Winter Sports Team flew out of Heathrow for Russia at 1.30pm today heading for the 2019 Universiade with around 8-9 hours of total flying time into Russia and a connecting internal flight to their destination of Krasnoyarsk.
Weekend Games: Saturday: Solway Sharks v Sutton Sting Blackburn Hawks v Nottingham Lions
Sunday: Whitley Warriors v Sheffield Steeldogs Sutton Sting v Solway Sharks Billingham Stars v Blackburn Hawks
The only game for the Lions this weekend is the meeting with the Hawks up in Blackburn on Saturday. As Matt Bradbury is over in Russia with the GB Universities Team Paul Glossop will take the depleted Lions on this trip up north. The Lions will be missing Ruskin Hughes and Cameron Pywell who are with the GB Team in Russia. Paul will be heading up the coaching over the next three games but as many will know he is more than qualified to do the job that he shared with Matt for a number of seasons whilst also coaching the Nottingham u18s (North 1) and, to add to the list, whilst also being the Nottingham Junior Club Head Coach. Paul has a very busy life ice hockey wise and at times I do wonder if he ever has time for anything else? His hockey life is certainly going to get busier over the next couple of weeks, and that's for sure.
Spent most of the afternoon watching the opening ceremony for the Universiade 2019. An absolutely phenomenal event that took the best part of three hours with dance song and the opening speech by Vladimir Putin. In the ice hockey GB came up against the bronze medal winners from the last games, Canada and lost 12-0. That result is actually an improvement on the last time GB and Canada met in Kazakhstan in 2017. The Swiss up next who who beat Sweden 3-1 in their opening game. Kazakhstan the silver medalist from 2017, and who were very impressive just missing out the gold to Russia 0-1, beat Latvia 1-10. The Kazakh's definitely are the ones to watch given their performances at the last games. As good an opening to a winter games as I have ever seen and those Brits may never again get a chance to play on as big a stage and must be somewhat overawed by what they are witnessing and part of.
Tonight's Results: Solway Sharks 19 Sutton Sting 0 A bit of a shocker for the Sting as they were well and truly stung by a rampant Sharks.
A big contrast up at Blackburn as the Lions although going down 4-0 were really in this game although missing some of their quite limited firepower. Miles Finney the Lions netminder again stood strong as the shots came thick and fast. He ended with a 94.44% stop rate tonight. Period Scores: 0-0/1-0/3-0/ In the third the Hawks 3 goals were 1 PP and 2 SH and that really sums up the game as the guys tired in that period. Given the season that is a massive positive for the team and Paul Glossop. Next Saturday the guys take the long trip up to Solway Sharks who might be looking to continue where they left off tonight against the Sting. No matter what the Lions will give of their best with the result being purely academic as the season runs down to it's close.
Tonight's Results: Whitley Warriors 2 Sheffield Steeldogs 9 Sutton Sting 4 Solway Sharks 6 Billingham Stars 2 Blackburn Hawks 9 Hull Pirates hold top spot on goal difference with the Sheffield Steeldogs well in contention. Telford Tigers are a point behind the top two but have a game in hand so all still to play for with just four games to go for the top two and Telford who have five to play.
News from Krasnoyarsk: GB v Switzerland. The GB team were struggling to get anywhere near the Swiss team who were 5-0 up after 25 minutes. The GB team then began the fight back over the next 35 minutes. The game ending with a 7-3 victory to the Swiss. Period scores: 3-0/3-2/1-1. The GB team were within a minute of taking the third period but it was not to be. A slow start against this sort of competition and you can be punished. A great fight back never the less. Some tougher games on the cards and of that there is no doubt.
Weekend Games: Saturday Sheffield Steeldogs v Solihull Barons Hull Pirates v Billingham Stars Blackburn Hawks v Telford Tigers Solway Sharks v Nottingham Lions The Lions have what might be described as a bit of a nightmare weekend as they firstly take the long trip up Scotland to meet the Sharks tonight with a 7.00pm face off before returning for a home game against the second placed Hull Pirates at 7.30pm on Sunday. Not sure how big a squad Coach Paul Glossop has available for these two games but whoever is available they are going to be aching somewhat by late Sunday night.
Sunday: Whitley Warriors v Billingham Stars Sutton Sting v Blackburn Hawks Solihull Barons v Solway Sharks Telford Tigers v Sheffield Steeldogs Nottingham Lions v Hull Pirates The stand out game just has to be Tigers v Steeldogs as this could be a real decider as regards the conference the Tigers hold a one point lead over the Pirates and the Steeldogs who are in joint second place but with Hull holding a better goal difference over the 'Dogs'
Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019
News from Krasnoyarsk after two quite heavy losses to the mighty Kazakhstan and the strong but lesser Latvia the GB went into their final game knowing that they needed to dig deep to get any points in their group. They were up against Sweden and this game proved to be a real edge of the seat contest with both teams giving their collective all. GB went ahead with an early goal but the game was brought level less than a minute later. Three minutes later GB added a second and six minutes later made it three. Within two minutes the GB lead was cut to one goal before at 19.59 GB hit their fourth. End of the first Sweden 2 GB 4. A tight second period was played out with no further goals. In the third Sweden turned the screw and really upped their game obviously realising it was slipping away. Goals at 42.21 and 45.47 evened up the game and GB had to raise their game to stop the possible rot setting in and conceding the game. GB stuck to the task and the reward came at 53.48 as what turned out to be the game winning goal was scored with GB taking the game 4-5. An absolutely amazing result which left GB overall 10th out of the 12 teams in the competition, 5th in their group of 6. Kazakhstan headed the group as they beat Canada 4-3 and Russian Federation topped their group with a 6-3 result over Czech Republic. Looking at the table it's Cech Rep 5th, Latvia 6th, USA 7th Switzerland 8th Hungary 9th GB 10th, Japan 11th, and Sweden 12th. 1st to 4th yet to be decided.
Semi Final: Russian Federation v Canada Semi Final: Kazakhstan v Slovakia
Potentially we could see a re-run of the 2017 final in Kazakhstan at which Russian Federation beat Kazakhstan 2-1. From what we gather the Russian Federation has at least one NHL player apparently on the books of the Edmonton Oilers. A number of the players in this competition play their ice hockey professionally within Europe whilst still students.
Sheffield Steeldogs v Solihull Barons. Facility not available for this game. Could not be rearranged by Solihull therefore game awarded to Steeldogs 5-0.
The Lions went to Solway Shraks with just thirteen skaters and considering that the Sharks had put 19 goals past the Sutton Sting last week it did not bode well but the guys put in a shift and managed to keep the score in single figures as they lost the game 7-1. Period Scores: 2-0/4-0/1-1. Lions goal scored by Callum Medcalf assisted by Zachary Glossop and Joe Gretton. Hull Pirates destroyed the Stars tonight and will come to Nottingham tomorrow looking to continue that process against the Lions. After a long journey and a hard game north of the border the Lions will need to dig deep to find the reserves to give the Pirates a game. Face off 7.30pm.
Hull Pirates continued their goal deluge following their 14 against Billingham they scored 16 against the Lions and forced their way back to the top of the conference. Period Scores: 0-7/0-5/0-4.
It has been decided by the EIHA that a further structure change in the NIHL format is required due to the destruction job that ex EPL teams in both the North and the South are inflicting on the opposition. They are totally dominating but not developing as far as I can see and the recent age profile of the teams exhibits a tendency for the better funded teams to buy in players, usually players on a career run down but massively more experienced. It looks as though under the umbrella of the NIHL what looks to be a possible rebirth of a form of the defunct EPL might occur. What will happen with the remaining NIHL Div 1 and Div 2 teams will obviously be discussed and decisions arrived at regarding their future structure. We await their deliberations with interest?