The Lions travelled to Hull missing so many senior players including the two imports and drafted in a whole bunch of youngsters from the NIHC in support of what was left of the older more seasoned players.To the trained eye this looked to be lambs to the slaughter at the rampant third placed Hull Pirates. Miles Finney was the only netminder travelling and faced an absolute blitz of shots on his net but still returned an 87% save rate in a 12-1 result. This guy is seeing and saving more than he picks out of his net so doing a good job under difficult circumstances. The guys did manage to break the shut out with a goal from Jack Crowston (17) assisted by Bailey Challans (16), certainly the highlight of the night for these two. Period scores: 3-0/5-0/4/1 giving the 12-1 score line. Luke Thomas captained the team once again in the absence of team captain Elliott Perrin. Luke is one of the most committed players to the Lions and willingly picked up the challenge of captaining what was a radically changed side knowing it was going to be tough out there.
Nottingham Lions still missing a number of senior players went up against the Billingham Stars knowing that once again they were going to be under significant pressure and that turned out to be the case. First period saw the Stars comfortably leading the game 0-4 but by the end of the second they had only added 2 further goals to lead 0-6 going into the third. The Lions began to fade somewhat in the final period and after conceding 4 further goals Alan Levers handed over to 16 year old Luca Sheldon in the nets to see out the game. The Lions gave up 3 further goals but managed not to be shut out of the game as 17yr old Jack Crowston scored his second goal of a memorable weekend for him. MOM 16yr old Tom Palmer has had an impressive weekend along with a team with an average age of 20yrs who faced impressive opposition and gave 100% effort throughout both games this weekend. These young players now know the standard required in this conference and that alone should spur them on to greater things as they develop. Although there have been tough times for this team I believe staying in the more demanding Div 1 Moralee Conference was the right decision and was preferable to back tracking to the Div 2 Laidler Conference. In the Laidler Conference I have no doubts that the Lions would have won many games and would be looking to end of season honours but the quality of the opposition would have been nowhere near the more professional outfits they are facing each week. Realistically the Lions chances of moving up this conference are low but the experience the youngsters gain will more than make up for that and of that I am sure.
The Lions have drafted in 37 players to date from the Nottingham Development Programme and this bodes well for those players looking to improve and eventually achieve their goals as ice hockey players. Keeping them in Nottingham will prove to be the problem in years to come.