Lee Valley Lions kicked off their 2019/20 NIHL South 2 Cup campaign with a 6-3 defeat at home to Invicta Mustangs on Saturday.

The score had been tied at 3-3 going into the final 10 minutes thanks to goals from Jordan Ho and Joe Berry’s brace.

In addition to the league season, Lions will play a minimum of six cup games, two each against Invicta, Haringey Huskies and Bristol Pitbulls.

Lions, who handed a debut to forward Robert Cole, started the game brightly and had a spate of early opportunities, the best coming from Joe Miller after he combined well with Leonie Charles and Tyrone Wells.

It was Invicta who struck first though, and they did so twice in quick succession as Jake Luton buried an effort past James Andrew and Harry Blake eased in a second with just over 10 minutes gone.

Invicta allowed some poor discipline to overshadow their decisiveness in front of goal, taking four minor penalties, but the Lions powerplay was not able to convert as Ho pinged an effort off the post.

The Lions came out fired up after the first interval, dominating possession and once again creating numerous chances, one of which they finally took when Berry finished from Lewis Blore’s stretch pass just after half an hour.

Having cut the deficit, the hosts were now in the mood for more, and that’s exactly what they got when Ho was fed by Simon Jones to score on the breakaway.

Charles and Ho were both left frustrated by Invicta netminder Matthew Passmore in the remainder of the period, while at the other end, Andrew kept out all 15 of the shots that were thrown at him.

Invicta edged ahead again at the start of the third period through Luton after they capitalised on Richie Pickering’s penalty for slashing.

The hosts didn’t drop their heads though and showed character to level again as James Joseph fed Berry for his second of the evening.

In the last 10 minutes, Lions capitulated. Tyrone Wells and James O’Brien took penalties for the hosts, gifting Invicta a 5-on-3 powerplay which Kevin Lake converted from to make it 4-3.

The hosts had one of their own minutes later but couldn’t capitalised, and one of the reintroduced Invicta players, Regan O’Neil, raced straight into the penalty box to finish past Andrew.

Invicta then added the finishing touches three minutes from time as Aaron Ferris notched a sixth.

Ho, Pickering and Ross Sin-Hidge all had chances to restore some parity, but Invicta held out to claim the win.

Lions’ next game will be the return fixture of this one, facing off against Invicta at 5.15pm in Gillingham this Saturday.