Nottingham Lions 2 Bristol Street Motors Solihull Barons 5
The Bristol Street Motors Solihull Barons officially concluded their Laidler League campaign on Sunday night with a 5-2 victory, away at old rivals the Nottingham Lions.
In doing so, Darren Bellerby’s team completed their season’s run of league fixtures with a maximum possible 72 points.
The Barons began the game in the best possible fashion, as Tom Soar opened the scoring for the visitors a little shy of three minutes, converting a pass from behind the goal by ever-present line-mate Niklas Ottosson.
By ten minutes the Barons had doubled their lead, Joe Henry putting the puck through the Lions’ metalwork this time.
The remainder of the period would see the Barons continue to pressure the Nottingham goalmouth but a combination of a well-drilled collapsing defence by the Lions and a lack of the final touch by the Barons saw that the Barons would not see any more scoring during the period.
By contrast the Lions took their chances and a late-period powerplay for Nottingham was converted by Ben Wood.
A few seconds later and it looked as though the Barons’ lead was gone as the Lions again found the net, only for the goal to be washed out due to the puck entering the goal off a high stick.
The Lions would not have long to wait to draw level, a breakaway by Connor Glossop two minutes into the second period sneaked under Barons goalie Josh Nicholls to tie things up 2-2 and mark the start of a period of Lions pressure, with the Nottingham side forechecking in the Barons’ end and containing Solihull’s ambitions. By the half-hour mark the Barons were back in the ascendency,
Rich Slater got a messy goal from close in on the Lions’ netminder Warren Gilfoyle. A minute later and Niklas Ottosson had a sweet effort whistle into the net to put the Barons two to the good.
The remainder of the period would see a series of soft penalties against Solihull, however a strong penalty kill kept the score to 4-2, and a late attempt by Tom Soar gave the Barons a fifth goal by period end.
The final period would continue to demonstrate good spells of play by both sides, however the scoreline would remain unchanged and there would be no late comeback by the Lions.
Barons assistant captain Perry Doyle was pleased with the result: “It went well, the team did what they needed to, allowed us to wrap up a perfect league campaign and it has set us up nicely for the play-offs. The Lions played a good game, though, their keeper was good and they have got lots of great, fast, young kids who can play all night.”
The Barons now need to prepare for the Laidler division play-off tournament being held at the Solihull rink over the upcoming Easter weekend.
The Barons are first up with a clash against the ever-improving Widnes Wild on Saturday in the first semi-final. The second semi-final will then take place on Sunday between the Telford Tigers and Sheffield Senators with the final on Easter Monday evening. All games face-off at 6.30pm.