Nottingham Lions were the visitors and are the only team to beat the Dragons this season so it was not going to be an easy ride for the Deeside outfit. The Lions team was packed with youngsters who were willing to skate hard and fast to try and upset the Dragons rhythm and the tactics worked with the East Midland team setting the pace with two early goals from Connor Glossop that silenced the large home crowd.
It did not take long for the Dragons to get back on track with two shorthanded goals within a minute from Adrian Palak and Simon Furnival respectively to level the score going into the first break
The second period saw the Chester road men turning up the pressure on the Nottingham goal and double their tally with Palak and Furnival continuing where they left off in the first period with another goal apiece to make it 4-2 to Deeside by the end of the second break.
Deeside came out flying in the third period with Adrian Palak getting his hat-trick goal with less than a minute on the clock to take a 5-2 lead only for the Lions to score two quick goals within a minute from Joe Humphries to pull the deficit back to one goal and make the game a close contest. With the game at 5-4 both teams turned up the pressure and the game became littered with penalties and the referee sent three Nottingham players to the sin bin along with two from Deeside
Marc Lovell netted for the Dragons assisted by Palak to restore the home teams lead to two only for the Lions to peg it back to a single goal less than a minute later. The game then got very messy with both team taking major penalties, Owen Bennett went toe to toe with Benjamin Wilson which got the fans off their seats, the scrapping pair were quickly sent to the penalty bench which by now was getting very crowded.
Nottingham had seven players in the sin bin by now and Deeside took advantage of the situation when Simon Furnival fired home his hat-trick goal for the Dragons with a shot to the top corner which left the goalie stranded and sent the crowd wild. With both teams hyped up and only a minute left in the game it wasn’t long before another fight broke out with Mike Jones and Slawomir Kasprzak tangling with each other at centre ice.
The game ended 7-5 to Deeside and put them 13 points clear at the top of the league with only five games to go, Widnes Wild in second place have three games in hand are the only team capable of catching the Dragons.
Coach Lol Paul said “Nottingham took us by surprise with the two quick early goals but I never thought at any point that we were going to lose and our four answered goal to make it 4-2 showed we are a team that has lots of players that can score goals.”
“Simon Furnival was outstanding tonight with his three goals and fully deserved getting the MVP and the whole team put in some great shifts to continue the 18 game unbeaten run and take another step closer to the title.”
Photo: Hat Trick hero Simon Furnival by Peter Sheffield (www.psd-images.co.uk)