Lee Valley Lions’ start to 2020 continued in the same vein as the end of 2019 as they went down 5-3 at home to Streatham Hawks in NIHL South 2 on Saturday.

Robert Cole scored twice, once in the first period and another in the third, while Vincenzo Ferrera also got on the scoresheet in the second stanza.

The Lions were without top scorer Jordan Ho as well as forward Ross Sin-Hidge, defenceman James O’Brien and netminder James Andrew. Tom Baptist made his debut for the side in defence while Naomi Healey started in goal.

As has been the case with many of Lions’ games this season, it started evenly as both sides cancelled each other out and struggled to create any clear goalscoring opportunities.

By the ninth minute though, that period was broken as Streatham seized the initiative when Alec Goldstone put them 1-0 up with an unassisted goal.

However, the home side stayed in the game and it only took them six minutes to find the equaliser through Cole, who fired into the Streatham net after good work from Joe Berry.

The second period got off to a feisty start as Lions’ ex-Streatham forward fought with his former teammate, Daniel Botting, with both players receiving 2+2 penalty minutes for fighting.

Streatham then restored their lead, going 2-1 up as Goldstone got his second of the evening through an assist from Ryan Burgess.

Lions were briefly reduced in numbers when Tyrone Wells went to the penalty box for delay of the game, but during that time, they surprisingly levelled again when Ferrera lobbed a speculative effort from the halfway line towards goal, which managed to squeeze past Hawks netminder James Richardson.

There were to be no more goals in the second period, although both sides had chances on the powerplay. Richie Pickering received 2+10 for checking from behind while Tom Baptist left the game injured and would not return for the remainder of the game.

Streatham came out firing at the start of the third period and scored twice within the first seven minutes to pull away.

Joseph Tearell and former Lions player Gus Zimmerman added the goals, assisted by Burgess and Leo Saoncella.

Lions looked to get back into the game and force a positive result, but disaster struck when forwards Harry Sage and Lewis Blore collided with each other in the neutral zone, and Streatham took advantage of the pair being on the floor to go and add their fifth through Saoncella.

Lions managed to get one back through Cole’s second, but there was no time left for any more consolations.

Lee Valley return to action this weekend when they travel to Bracknell Wasps on Saturday, with faceoff at 3.20pm.