The Invicta Dynamos extended their unbeaten run to eight on Saturday night as braces from Eriks Ozollapa and Adam McNicoll set them on the way to a 6-2 win over the Bracknell Hornets at the Hive in the NIHL South Division 1.
The Mos made the trip to Berkshire without the services of brothers Taylor and Haydn Wootton and the experienced Grant Baxter but were boosted by the return of forward Bailey Wootton following a knee injury.
The game was only 45 seconds old when Callum Fowler found some space in the opening period but his lofted shot was hacked away to prevent a lightning start. A few minutes later, Joshua Condren then beat Danny House with ease but home netminder Daniel Milton was on guard to keep the scoreline level. House then tried to start a rumble with the returning Bailey Wootton, supported by two colleagues, but the officials stepped-in before it could go any further. The first goal then came at 09.36 – Condren picking the puck-up from the middle of the ice pad and finding Wootton on the attack down the left who spotted a skate by Adam McNicoll through the middle allowing the Scot to dispatch a perfect pass beyond Milton for Invicta’s lead. That edge was then doubled in the 11th minute when a powerful drive by Steve Osman was pushed away by the goalie only for Callum Fowler to pick up the play and cut a pass across the crease for Eriks Ozollapa to convert making it 2-0. Just as things started to look comfortable for Invicta, Bracknell then pulled a goal back via Danny Hughes who placed a well-timed shot into Damien King’s top left corner at 13.42. Soon after a close range save by Milton from Ozollapa caused a mini fracas – JJ Pitchley coming in from the blindside to hit Ozollapa on the back of the head. Ozollapa, clearly not happy replied in the perfect way – by putting Invicta 3-1 up on 15.56 as he fired beyond the netminder after Fowler and Osman had combined on the break.
With a two goal advantage to protect come the end of the first, Damien King was busy in the second saving well from Josh Martin on 23.10 and again at point blank range at 24.18. Meanwhile, down the other end Ondrej Zosiak hit one of his trademark powerful shots but Daniel Milton watched it all the way and caught it well. There was then a delay on 29.38 whilst JJ Pitchley went down injured after a collision with Zosiak – Pitchley got up after a few minutes and retribution from Bracknell was to follow a bit later. Before then the Hornets struck back – with Harrison Lillis penalised for holding, Josh Martin notched a powerplay goal assisted by Danny Hughes on 30.46. Eriks Ozollapa could have rubbed out that strike as had a one-on-one with the goalie on 33 minutes but Milton saved well with his skate to keep the deficit at 3-2. Scoring then took a brief break as, at 33.52, Bracknell enforcer Brad Watchorn got the fight he was spoiling for by trying to rough Zosiak and then throwing a punch at Conor Redmond when he leapt to his teammate’s defence. Harrison Lillis stepped-up to wrestle Watchorn until the referee brought things to a stop. Both Watchorn and Zosiak ended up receiving two minutes each for roughing but the rough stuff did not stop there. Just a few minutes later JJ Pitchley followed through with a challenge on Damien King – the Invicta netminder giving Pitchley a few hits that he deserved and picking up a minor for roughing for his troubles. More drama was still to follow when Danny House then tangled with Callum Fowler only to be spotted by referee O’Neill and get called 2 minutes for roughing and a further pair for holding on 38.09.
In the final frame, with 49.33 on the clock, Arran Strawson played a wonderful pass through the middle of the pad – Steve Osman reading it well but seeing his back flick shot saved. However, continued pressure by the visitors finally paid-off when Joshua Condren rounded three Bracknell players and guided the puck past Milton on 51.08 assisted by Eriks Ozollapa to make it 4-2 in favour of the Mos. With the minutes ticking away the Hornets pushed forward and JJ Pitchley went on the break almost escaping one-on-one with Damien King only for Strawson to slide across and poke the puck to safety. Not long after, it was then 5-2 – 54.46 the moment when captain Nicky Lewis put the game beyond the reach of Bracknell after work from Ozollapa and Conor Redmond. The sixth and final goal for the away side then came from Adam McNicoll who doubled his tally on 57.44 by tapping home Redmond’s pass – the second assist courtesy of Harrison Lillis.
So it was the perfect start to Invicta’s run of five games in just nine days as they comfortably outshot their hosts and made it show on the scoreboard to secure two league points. Man of the match went to two goal hero Erik Ozollapa whilst Adam McNicoll was equally worthy of a mention with his pair suggesting he’s getting back to his best following his lengthy lay-off.
Written by Lee Allen.