Lee Valley Lions 0, Haringey Huskies 8

National Ice Hockey League – South 2

25th February 2023

By Tom Pink

Normal service has resumed. Nearly.

That was as straightforward a game and business-like performance that we’ve seen all season from the Huskies. I haven’t seen the game sheet but I imagine the SOG would be heavily in our favour. I can’t recall Lee Valley having a single shot on net in the first period, and Tom Adams near enough sleep-walks to his second shutout of the year.

The only penalties came halfway through the third period, and we were out of the Palace and heading to the pub by 7:30, which is unheard of. The only stoppages coming for the 8 Haringey goals.

There was a slightly odd atmosphere in the Palace I thought. Possibly because of the Lee Valley timekeepers presiding over affairs, it technically being their home game, and possibly because of the absence of any music. It felt a bit flat. But they can’t all be like Peterborough I suppose.

That was far from the case on the ice though, and Haringey made short work of Lee Valley, truth be told. Tom Adams stepped-in for his second start of the season, with the familiar starting line of Matt France, Jaden Boolkah, Stuart Appleby, Stephen Woodford, and Marton Szasz. After a scrappy couple of minutes, Haringey establish their forecheck and pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game.

Matt Hepburn finds Leo de Souza at the hash marks on the left, whose shot fires off the bar. An early warning for the Lions. Péter Tóth shows good hands to keep the puck and works it to Sam Roberts who can’t beat the Lee Valley goalie from close on the right. Tom Avery has an age to pick his shot from the left wing but it’s gloved.

The breakthrough comes after 7 minutes. Bradley Taylor waltzes through the slot and sends a wrister hard into the left side of the net. Bingo. He almost scores exactly the same goal again from the face-off, but sends the effort wide.

Our lead doubles a minute later. Stuart and Stephen combine to find Marton just outside the crease who goes top shelf to make it 2-0.

Ryan Gadeke shows off his football skills with a deft header to control the puck behind the Lee Valley net. Bradley does well to stop a rare Lions attack with a well-timed pokecheck, and Ryan Payne cleans up and sets the Huskies off again.

The Huskies’ third comes with 5 minutes to the interval, and Luke Martin will struggle to score an easier goal than that. Matt Hepburn’s shot from the right is saved with the puck deflecting over the advancing netminder, leaving Luke in the crease with a wide-open goal. Luke waves his stick at the puck for the most casual finish ever.

With 3 minutes left Lee Valley have a brief foray into the Haringey zone, but are unable to find anyone in a Lions jersey after going behind the net.

Lee Valley wake up in the second and start to come out and play. Tom Adams has his first shot to save after 5 minutes, a 1-on-1 which he smothers.

Ryan Payne’s shot from the point gets redirected by Matt Hepburn, but flies wide. Jaden does well, cleaning up in the defensive zone and comes away with the puck after a good body check.

Stuart and Marton work a great 2-on-1 breakaway, but Stuart’s shot from the left is gloved high to the right. The Lions have their best opportunity to score, and may have done so but for Corey Taylor who gets across and does just enough to see the shot ring off the post.

There’s some really nice plays from Haringey all game. Down the right wing, Stuart, Bradley, and Marton combine to work the puck into the offensive zone but can’t quite find the finish.

Stephen eventually gets the fourth for Haringey. Tom Avery slides the puck across from the left wing to find Stephen in the slot who sends it back across the goalie and into the net farside. 3 left in the second, 4-0.

After the re-start, Tom has a good opportunity himself. First his 1-on-1 opportunity is blocked, and then his wraparound chance is snuffed out.

There were so many chances for Haringey in the first and second periods that they probably could and should have had more.

The third feels much more like the first, with Haringey not giving Lee Valley an inch.

Sam finds Tom across ice but Tom’s shot fires over the bar. Stuart’s backhander is saved but not held. Jaden makes an incredible sliding interception on his knees to stop a goal scoring opportunity.

Ryan Gadeke makes it 5 for Haringey, receiving the puck in the slot and shooting hard and low farside, giving the goalie no chance.

It’s another partnership which is quietly bearing fruit. On the power play Matt France passes to Jaden on the left wing who does really well to find the back of the net from a tight angle. 6-0.

Stephen plays an outrageous between-the-legs dropoff for Stuart, and Stuart makes a big hit in centre ice to keep the Lions on their toes.

Lee Valley get a power play late on, but you honestly wouldn’t know it such was Haringey’s dominance.

Matt France seals it for Haringey with their eighth. He hangs shortside, waiting for the chance and space. It’s Stephen who supplies the assist, and Matt lifts the puck past the Lee Valley goalie to cap a very successful night for the team.

Bradley gets Player of the Match for another solid performance and well taken goal. I think there’s a few others that were in with a shout, Ryan Gadeke, Stuart Appleby, and Woody high among them.

There’s not many more of these left now. This was a nice surprise and we still have Invicta on the 11th which is guaranteed to be a great game and an excellent last home game of the season. We’re still waiting on the Peterborough away game to be rearranged, if it will at all.

The Huskies continue to do what they need to, and see this year out as best they can. That includes taking two points off of Invicta in a fortnight’s time. Invicta will be looking to finish as high as possible and will be a very different proposition to Lee Valley. The 4-2 road win back in October was immense, but it was a hard fought win.

It’s Invicta. It’s Haringey. It’s a sellout at the Palace. For the last home league game of the season: Let’s. Go. Huskies.