Bradley Gutridge scored his first ever goal for the Invicta Dynamos on Sunday night as his effort alongside braces from Steve Osman and Eriks Ozollapa as well as singles from Conor Redmond and Nicky Lewis saw the Mos beat Bracknell 7-3.
After a lengthy Christmas break the Dynamos were swift to shake off any rust and were ahead as early as 02.54 – Callum Fowler’s shot from the left padded away by Daniel Milton but only to Eriks Ozollapa who swept in from close right for 1-0. If the home fans then expected a torrent of goals to follow they would be disappointed – Fowler unlucky twice having beaten his man in style and then firing onto the underside of the bar. Down the other end Daniel Hughes could have answered for Bracknell but, having got goal side of Damien Welch, he missed the target whilst a later attempt was palmed around the post by Damien King. The Hornets’ best chance would come courtesy of a penalty shot at 13.53 – Harrison Lillis hooking Ryan Handisides on the breakaway but the Bracknell forward looking far from confident as he stepped up fired towards the middle where a defiant King stood firm. The miss would prove costly at 17.57 – Jake Pitchley watching from the box as Callum Fowler found Steve Osman in the left circle and the league’s top point scorer lashed beyond Daniel Milton for 2-0.
In the second period the Mos should have struck again but Eriks Ozollapa attempted an elaborate reverse pass on the breakaway when a normal shot would have sufficed. Having escaped a three goal deficit, the Hornets then made it just one – Daniel Hughes’ pass from behind the net finding Ryan Handisides in too much space on the edge of the crease and the forward atoning for his penalty miss by picking out the top far corner at 24.24. The hosts nearly answered immediately – only the post denying Jarvis Mewett’s blue line drive that picked up a deflection en route to deceive Daniel Milton in net. However at 27.46 they had restored their edge – Ozollapa speeding down the left flank and this time his pass right on the money as he teed up Conor Redmond for the simple poke home from the edge of the crease for 3-1. At 29.14 that lead was 4-1 – a big moment for Brad Gutridge who netted his first ever for the hosts as he redirected Damien Welch’s drive from deep to leave Milton no chance between the sticks and put the Mos three up. Ozollapa came close to adding to that tally but he too was robbed by the goal frame before the Hornets finished the period strongly. At 37.07 the Dynamos back line were all at sea when a Stewart Tait drive deflected perfectly for Ryan Handisides to tuck in from close left for 4-2. It then should have been 4-3 as Daniel Hughes escaped on the breakaway but Damien King’s quick hand palmed away his venomous slapshot from the right.
In the final period the home side were a little unpolished as their Christmas break began to show and Bracknell clawed back to within one at 46.21 – a searching Luke Reynolds pass setting Joshua Martin free on the opposition blue line and Martin flicking through the 5-hole to make it 4-3. The strike increased the Mos’ sense of urgency and Arran Strawson thumped the bar from deep to make it five times off the frame for the hosts before they finally hit the target again at 49.26. Jacob Ranson claimed an assist as he sent the puck to the crease where it clipped the pads of Daniel Milton and Nicky Lewis was fastest to react with the flick home for 5-3. Just 16 seconds later that advantage was 6-3 – Steve Osman scoring a great solo goal as he skipped inside Jake Pitchley and then beyond Stewart Tait to go clean through before firing under the grasp of the netminder for his second of the night. To compound Bracknell’s misery they then coughed up an exceptional chance – two Hornets’ forwards breaking through the back line but Daniel Hughes refusing to pass and seeing Damien King in the way of his attempt from close left. The opportunity prompted a timeout from an unamused Kevin Parrish and the Mos were more focussed thereafter – adding to their tally at 57.47 as Eriks Ozollapa used his pace to speed clear down the right and fire in at the near post at the second attempt to make it 7-3. All that remained was for Grant Baxter to accept a very late invitation from Brad Watchorn to dance at 59.50 – the veteran never likely to trouble the Bracknell man known for cage fighting and unable to land a blow as Watchorn secured the takedown. It mattered little as the buzzer sounded immediately after to confirm a 7-3 victory and two more league points.
So for the first time this season it was a third consecutive win for the Dynamos as they showed signs of rust after their three week break but still had enough in the tank to overcome a battling Bracknell side. Man of the match awards went to Steve Osman for the home side whilst the sprightly Ryan Handisides took the spoils for Bracknell, or would have had he not left the ice injured in the dying moments of the game.
Written by Paul Bennett.