There will be no changes in goal for the Flames who will retain the services of Mark Lee and James Hadfield.
Working through the heaviest workload of his young career, Lee backstopped the Flames to the League and Cup titles, collecting 37 wins, including 6 shutouts, 6 overtime or penalty defeats while only failing to generate at least 1 team point in 11 starts. Including playoff and challenge activity, the 5’11”, 180lb netminder iced in more than 3400 minutes while posting a 2.71 goals against average and a better than 91 save percentage. Though illness kept Lee from the opening leg of the Cup Final, he returned to the closing leg on home ice and made 27 stops during a 6-2 win to complete the double. His efforts later helped the club advance to the playoff semi-finals where the Sunderland native suffered injury just 35 seconds into the contest to close the book on his season. During 3 terms with Spectrum’s outfit, Lee has started 113 games, played 6612 minutes and posted a 91.2 save percentage with a 2.62 goals against average. He is 1 of only 2 Flames netminders to enjoy a career winning percentage above 70.
Lee joined the side ahead of the 2009-2010 set. The highlight of his opening year came with the Premier Cup haul when he backed the team to a 10-4, 2 game aggregate win over league champion Milton Keynes Lightning. He followed that up during his 2nd season by returning from injury near the halfway point just in time to help the club to a 17 game season ending win streak. To cap that run, he started all 4 post season games and recorded a perfect record en route to the club’s first playoff championship in 7 years, all while registering a goals against average of 2.25 alongside a save percentage just shy of 92.
In 2008-2009 Lee iced with Sheffield Scimitars after spending the bulk of the previous season with the Romford Raiders where he started 24 games in the late stages of the term, posting a better than 92 save percentage and a 3.08 goals against average. He developed through his hometown junior programme, taking the ice for his first senior action with the Sunderland Chiefs in 2002-2003 and then Newcastle Vipers a year later. He appeared with the latter side through 2006-2007. His most notable production in Vipers black came during his final season at Tyneside when he stepped into 22 outings and came up with a 2.45 goals against average and a better than 91 save percentage.
19 year old Hadfield will be back for his 2nd year with the club. The 6’1”, 190lb puck stopper saw sparing action with the Flames, icing in 370 minutes, generating an 89 save percentage and goals against just above 3. Though his ice time may have lacked quantity, he was the goaltender of record in the 1st leg of the cup final. Despite being outshot 41-31, he made 38 stops and posted a 6-3 win to secure a 3 goal lead over Sheffield Steeldogs. He was also called to duty less than a minute into the playoff semi-final where he gave his side a chance by allowing just 3 goals thanks to 30 saves on 33 shots during the 3-2 playoff exit against Slough Jets. The Sheffield native arrived at Spectrum after a season in Swindon where he helped the Wildcats to a 7th place playoff position. He opened his senior account with the English Premier League Scimitars in 2009-2010 and iced a pair of games at the Under 18 world junior championships that same season. He added 3 more GB junior international games at the Under 20 world event in December 2011.
Paul Dixon looked back at the season he saw from his netminders:
“The most significant thing to come out of this past season was Mark’s ability to keep himself in the line-up despite taking on a significant workload. It was unlucky that he was injured and knocked out of the playoff semi-final to close out the season, but prior to this year Mark had never played a full schedule as the starter so it was an important milestone perhaps for his own confidence as much as ours. It was, by far, the most playing time he has seen during his young career, and we are pleased to learn that he was up for the challenge and was able to have an impact throughout the entire schedule. Clearly, James did not get the same playing opportunity but when he did get his chances, he was able to be effective in some very meaningful, high pressure situations. In particular he helped generate a comfortable lead in the cup final in a rink that is usually quite difficult in which to garner points. I think we went away from the season feeling very confident that we have developed a healthy competitive situation between the two guys. Ideally you do not want playing time to be as one sided as it was this past season and James showed that he may be ready for more responsibility. We approach the season in a good situation, confident in both guys and looking forward to both of them making key contributions.”