Ice Hockey: Lee Valley Lions coach George Alley steps down
Alley first took over as head coach in 2016 and led the Lions in two league campaigns.
First finishing fourth in the old NIHL 2 South East, before last season’s difficult campaign in NIHL South 2 Wilkinson.
“I’d like to thank the Lions and Eddie Joseph for giving me the opportunity to coach my home team for the last two years,” Alley said.
“The Lions have a fantastic group of players, and Lee Valley is home to easily the best dressing room I’ve been involved with in hockey.
“I wish the club all the best for next season and beyond.”
Eddie Joseph, on behalf of all those involved with the Lee Valley Lions added: “I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to George for his tireless work to take this club forward.
“George has put his heart and soul into this team and will be sorely missed by all of us associated with Lee Valley.
“I wish George all the best in his future endeavours.”
The Lions iced 12 skaters, with Matt Brown, Arran Hartley, Tom Hurley, Matt Jackson and Ashley Earll all absent. James Andrew started in net for the home side. The Mustangs brought 14 skaters, including former Lions defenceman Jarvis Mewett, while Matthew Passmore started in net with John Abbott backing up.
1st Period: Both sides started out nervously as the two bottom sides in the league tried to gain a foothold in the game. In the fifth minute, Lions captain Nick Alley had a good chance for the hosts but he wasn’t able to get the puck past Passmore in the Invicta net. The very next minute, Alley would be assessed two penalty minutes for tripping, and this enabled the Mustangs to open the scoring as Jake Stedman (6:10, assisted Thomas Dennis) buried a well-worked powerplay goal for 1-0. Stedman had already scored a hat-trick against the Lions back in November in an overtime win for Invicta, and came back to haunt the Lions again on this occasion.
The rest of the first period passed without too much incident; Matthew Hamilton of the Lions and Jarvis Mewett of the Mustangs each sat a minor penalty, but neither side was able to make the resulting powerplay opportunities count. In the 17th minute, Alley had another good chance but was again denied by Passmore, and there were to be no further goals in the first period as the Mustangs went into the break with a 1-0 lead. The Lions edged the shots 9-8 in the first frame.
2nd Period: The second period started off more openly than the first, with both teams creating chances and trying to score some much-needed goals.
It was the Mustangs who struck first, Stedman (26:03, unassisted) scoring his second of the night and doubled his side’s advantage. The Lions did not let their heads drop after this, however, and scored a quickfire double to tie the scores up at 2-2. Firstly Samuel Awoyemi (29:37, assisted Nick Alley and Daniel Tamasauskas) put home a rebound after a Nick Alley shot, to reduce the deficit to 1-2 on the powerplay.
It was Awoyemi’s second goal of the campaign. Just 59 seconds later, Simon Geldart (30:36, assisted Ross Sin-Hidge and Nick Alley) bagged his eighth goal of the season after nice link-up play with Ross Sin-Hidge and Alley to bring the scores level at two apiece