Ashley Jackson was the hat-trick hero on Sunday night as the Dynamos enjoyed mixed fortunes on home ice by overcoming the Cardiff Fire 7-2 but losing both George Hoang and Joshua Condren to match penalties leading to possible suspensions.
The Mos took to the ice with a squad of 16 – Justin Robinson, Tom Long, Sebastian Downing and Harrison Lillis all missing out for the hosts – whilst the Fire travelled with a roster of 15. Damien King and Jordan Lawday were the starting netminders.
Cardiff came into the tie with nothing to show from their previous 16 league outings and that record looked set to stretch to 17 with less than a minute gone as the Mos tallied with just 20 seconds on the clock. Ashely Jackson gathered a loose puck along the left boards and skated across the crease before sending a backhand flick over the reach of Jordan Lawday into the top far corner for 1-0.
Despite the lightning start the hosts were then sloppy for much of the opening frame and found their attacking opportunities limited by regular penalties. Callum Fowler sat in the box for cross checking before, at 08.34, a clumsy hit by George Hoang sent Samual Bryant into the boards head first and left him in need of attention from the physio. After several minutes Bryant returned to his feet but would play no further part in the tie – neither would Hoang with the young defenceman given a match penalty for checking from behind. There was no intent from the blue liner who made his way over to the Cardiff changing room in the break to apologise for the mistimed check.
Cardiff failed to convert on the 5 minute powerplay with import Tamas Elias coming closest as he followed up a rebound right in front only to be denied by Damien King and they could have fallen further behind when Callum Fowler and Jaroslav Cesky escaped 2-on-1 but Cesky failed to test Jordan Lawday following his teammate’s pass. At 13.36 the visitors were on the board and in somewhat fortuitous circumstances – Josh Haslam skating to the crease where Arran Strawson attempted to halt his charge but only succeeded in diverting the puck into his own net via his skate to make it 1-1.
Being pegged back spurred the hosts to life and they were back in front at 14.17 – netminder Jordan Lawday lost sight of the puck as Louis Colvin nipped behind the goal allowing Jaroslav Cesky the simplest of finishes when he was found by his teammate close right. The remainder of the first was then dogged by penalties on the home side as Steve Osman and Tommy Ralph each spent time in the box before the Mos was also called for too many men.
The second period was a fairly scrappy affair but the Dynamos created a few more chances – Jordan Lawday was needed to stop Tommy Ralph’s blue line drive and Ashley Jackson’s follow up before Ondrej Zosiak went coast-to-coast and attempted to force inside the near post but the goalie again made the save. Ralph then spent another two minute spell in the box that went unpunished before the hosts moved 3-1 up at 32.04. Ashley Jackson skipped out from behind the net and forced inside the near post before the netminder could make up the ground to pull off the save.
Celebrations were then marred at 32.31 as Joshua Condren became the second Mos man to be tossed from the tie as the number 88 picked up a match penalty for kicking in an uncharacteristic moment of retaliation. Phil Manny hooked the forward then cross checked him after the puck had been played and Condren responded with a shove of his own before lifting his skate and making contact with the Welshman’s shin effectively kicking and tripping him well behind the play. Manny himself picked up a two minute minor leaving the sides 4-on-4 and the hosts made use of the extra space by converting at 33.24 – following an offensive faceoff Steve Osman found Callum Fowler in the slot and he roofed over the shoulder of Jordan Lawday for 4-1. With Manny’s penalty at an end soon after Cardiff then had a three minute powerplay but they were unable to take advantage and returned to the changing room three goals down.
In the final frame the Fire pulled one back at 44.08 to give themselves hope of a comeback – David Christian’s diagonal from the blue line found Tamas Elias in behind the Mos defence and he flicked beyond Damien King to cut the deficit to 4-2. Unfortunately for the visitors a David Manning minor for cross checking was instantly punished by the Dynamos at 45.05 to restore the three goal cushion. Jaroslav Cesky found Ashley Jackson close right and lashed into the top far corner with a well placed wrist shot to complete his hat-trick and make it 5-2.
What was now turning into a miserable night for Cardiff became worse at 45.27 as Kalle Allner fell awkwardly into the boards whilst challenging for the puck resulting in him leaving the game and watching the remainder of the tie with his arm in a sling. Now in the stands the Swede could only spectate as the Mos added another at 49.30 – Steve Osman finding Callum Fowler left of the net and he played across the crease where Mason Webster forced in from point blank range at the second attempt. The last of the night followed soon after at 51.50 – Ryan Morgan advancing to take up a position at the bottom of the left circle before sweeping to the back post where Jaroslav Cesky turned in to make it 7-2.
So by the final buzzer it was a comfortable win for the Dynamos, though not necessarily a polished display, and one that came at a price with match penalties to both George Hoang and Joshua Condren leading to at least one game suspensions. Man of the match awards went to Michael Stratford of Cardiff whilst hat-trick hero Ashley Jackson secured the beers for the Mos.
Written by Paul Bennett.