The Birmingham Lions C team spent the long journey to Cambridge ice rink blasting ‘We Are the Champions’ – a perfect insight into our undefeated high spirits throughout the game on Saturday 6th November. This was the first proper ice hockey game for almost half the roster that night so to say we were excitedly nervous was an understatement.
Stepping onto the ice for our 15-minute warm-up slot felt daunting as we saw the gigantic demeanour of our opponents, the Cambridge Huskies. The first period began and the Lions quickly saw that the Huskies were more than worthy competitors, if not too experienced. The Huskies were slick and banged in several unstoppable goals while we attempted to keep our positioning in line. Our own Will Hood received a 2-minute penalty for tripping and we watched on while the Huskies took to the powerplay.
As Hood returned to the ice, we were on the defensive but managed to maintain confidence while more goals flew into our net. Skipper Matthew Johnson came on as D-man and scored an incredible goal after gliding the length of the ice. The first period ended 9-1 to the Huskies, their organisation and experience outranking that of the Lions.
After a 5-minute tactic talk from Miriam Davies, Matty Johnson, and Mike MacGregor, the second period began and the Lions felt re-energised. The Huskies continued on their insane goal-scoring streak and scored several more. This wasn’t helped by a 2-minute penalty given to Kuba Alchimowicz for hooking allowing the Huskies to return to the powerplay. However, a personal highlight from this period would be one of our own, 18-year-old Stan Murray of Aston University, scoring an absolutely brilliant goal. Stan showed persistent drive and resilience throughout the game and has already marked himself out as one of the team’s star players. The period ended 17-2 but the team were elated with our improved performance and positioning skills.
A 15-minute break was permitted while the ice was cut again and our leaders talked us through what we needed to improve on; namely, pushing back to help defence and keeping positions tight. The third period began and we felt increasingly confident. Those who played for the first time were commended on their vastly improved skating and confidence in challenging for the puck as the period progressed. Our defensive skills were enviable in the final third as we only conceded 2 additional goals.
The final score line was 19-2 with the Lions preventing the Huskies’ last-minute chances. They named their player of the match as Lance Brown II (our netminder) as he made some incredible saves and his resilience never wavered. We all celebrated with a well-deserved can of beer in the changing rooms before heading off to the nearest McDonald’s.
A special mention must go to Matty Johnson and Stan Murray for their superb goals, Lance Brown for his excellent net-minding skills, and Miriam Davies and Mike MacGregor-Fairlie for being the loudest on the bench. A big congratulations to everyone who stepped onto the ice for the first time in a match setting and big appreciation to the more experienced on the team who gave all their support and advice to the newbies. Despite our heavy defeat we all had a thoroughly enjoyable time and can’t wait for our next fixture!
Left Wingers: Joel Pierce, Alex Tompkinson, Katie Hill, Charlie Seymour
Centres: Will Hood, Joe Rabone, Kuba Alchimowicz
Right Wingers: Stan Murray, Sophie Howarth, Alex Fernihough
Defenders: Mike MacGregor, Miriam Davies, Matthew Johnson, Meg Charnley, Beth Raine, Jaime Cook