The Invicta Dynamos surrendered a two goal lead to finish defeated on the road against the Bracknell Hornets on Saturday night.
The Mos iced a strong roster that was only missing youngsters Gregor McAllan and Kieron Jones along with the experienced Mark Williams.
Once the game commenced the Hornets placed the first attempt on goal with Dominic Hopkins slapping a hopeful shot on the net which Grandy-Smith successfully stopped whilst, at the opposite end, Arran Strawson (playing as a forward) sent a wrist shot just past the near post.
A powerplay fell the way of the Mos on 03:22 when Carl Graham delayed the game which led to Strawson getting closer in his search for a goal when he thundered a shot off the post. Banovský also glided past a challenge to set up a shot which netminder Annetts eventually saved after a little spill when trying to cover the effort at net.
With the Hornets back at full strength David Millner escaped down the right with Grandy-Smith doing well to save the incoming effort om target. The Mos immediately sent a long pass up to Juraj Huska but Chris Cooke blocked Huska’s slapshot with his stick. On the brink of the 10 minute mark the Mos were defending their first powerplay of the evening with Farrell penalised for slashing – the visitors kept the Hornets at bay and should have scored when Owen Dell broke on the shorthand with Annetts denying him on a one-on-one chance.
The now fully strengthened Mos put another threat on the Hornets with Tom Davis hitting a screamer from the blue line which caught Cooke clean on the foot. Joe Stephenson then had an attempt saved by Annetts and, moments later on 16:24, he had Conor Hutchinson cross checking him which led to another powerplay for the away side but despite plenty of effort the Mos couldn’t break the Hornets and the period ended 0-0.
The Mos missed a great chance early into the second period when Huska robbed the puck off Foord and closed down on Annetts but the netminder stood firm to deny the Slovak. Another opportunity was created when Farrell passed across the crease for Dell to stab at the puck but his attempt was blocked. The Hornets then started to pressurise the Mos’ goal with Ealey-Newman working Grandy-Smith and then a scramble right in front of the net caused bodies to throw themselves on the line. Despite this, Banovský got hold of the puck in the Hornets’ slot but his shot struck Hopkins on the leg and sailed wide.
On 29:31 Matt Foord held back Farrell which led to another powerplay for the Mos and the best the Mos could create was Huska passing from right to left where Strawson shot, only to see his attempt blocked. The Hornets broke shorthanded with Ryan Apsley finding himself right in front of the Mos’ net and he should have scored but Grandy-Smith made the save of the night. The Mos were soon down to 4 skaters themselves when Ryan Giles was penalised for interference on 31:08 and the Hornets soon broke with 3 skaters onto only Dynamo Henry Aiken but they failed to take any advantage.
Not long after the Mos returned to full strength they were defending a 5- on- 3 powerplay with Strawson (36:56 – hooking) and Aiken (38:50 – tripping) in the penalty box. However, when back to 4 skaters the visitors broke the deadlock – a shorthanded breakaway goal from Arran Strawson who dragged away left of centre to backhand past Annetts following an assist by Banovský on 39:51.
The Mos scored early into the final period to make it 2-0 on 42:11 when Farrell knocked the puck across the crease where Dell tapped in from the far post. It could have been followed by a third when Hopkins fell unchallenged and Farrell escaped but Annetts made a crucial save. Perhaps the turning point of the game came in the 48th minute when Tamas Elias attempted a hit on Huska and missed leading him to collide hard into the plexi and hit the ice holding his arm in agony. Referee Fusco let the game continue for a while and it only stopped when Annetts knocked the goal off the line –Hopkins losing his temper and sent to the penalty box for abuse towards the official. Elias would take no further part in the game and the Hornets had their tails up incensed that Fusco didn’t stop the game earlier.
With 50:58 on the clock Ryan Morgan was penalised for holding and the Hornets took full advantage by scoring a powerplay goal on 51:25 through Ben Ealey-Newman, assisted by Foord and Millner for 2-1. It was all the Hornets now and the Mos had a warning when Hind-Pitcher hit the post before the hosts later equalised at 52:43 when former Dynamos’ player Matt Foord beat Grandy-Smith on 52:43 unassisted. Just 15 seconds later the Hornets completed a remarkable turnaround by going 3-2 to the good – another unassisted goal, this time via David Millner.
The shocked Mos hit back on 54:58 to make it 3-3 when Tom Davis won the puck with Arran Strawson wrapping around the back of the Hornets’ net for Huska to score – a 300th Mos career point for the Slovak. But would you believe it – the Hornets went straight up the other end at the restart to score what turned out to be the winner on 55:09 with Millner claiming his second goal of the evening after being set-up by Ben Ealey-Newman and Carl Graham.
After a timeout, Invicta threw the kitchen sink at the Hornets – and even had a couple of powerplays on 57:07 and 59:22 but they couldn’t beat Annetts who went on to win the man of the match award for the Hornets.
Bracknell Points: M. Foord 1+1, D. Millner 2+1, B. Ealey-Newman 1+1, C. Graham 0+1
Invicta Points: O. Dell 1+0, E. Farrell 0+1, A. Strawson 1+1, J. Huska 1+0, T. Banovsky 0+1
Bracknell: T. Annetts (Hornets) – 92.11% (38 shots / 3 goals)
Invicta: Z. Grandy-Smith (Dynamos) – 90.24% (41 shots / 4 goals)
Man of the Match:
Bracknell: Tom Annetts
Invicta: Arran Strawson
Written by Lee Allen.