A wonder goal from Ondrej Zosiak and a blue line drive from Adam McNicoll were not enough to prevent the Dynamos from slipping to a narrow 4-2 Southeast Trophy defeat at the hands of the Chelmsford Chieftains on Thursday.
After opening their campaign with two wins from two the new look Mos faced their sternest test yet as the reigning league champions arrived for a rare midweek fixture. The Chieftains almost broke the deadlock in the opening minutes – Mark McGill saving a long drive and Matt Turner firing the rebound onto the frame of the goal with an early warning shot. McGill would be the busier of the two netminders and was needed again later in the frame to save from Juraj Huska in the slot and Turner again, this time from close left. Down the other end the Dynamos found their ability to attack stunted by frequent penalties – minors to Elliott Dewey, Eriks Ozollapa and a pair against Arran Strawson leaving the hosts killing time for almost half the frame. Nevertheless they finished with a flurry – Conor Redmond having the best chance when Bailey Wootton found him in the slot from the right corner but Redmond miscued leaving Euan King relieved between the posts.
After a goalless and often scrappy opening period the Mos set about continuing to frustrate Chelmsford in the second with some stubborn defending that prevented the Chieftains playing their free flowing game. Matt Turner again found Mark McGill denying him the breakthrough whilst Cameron Bartlett’s shot on the spin between the circles was bound for the 5-hole until the goalie shut the door. At 28.17 the hosts then took the lead – Ondrej Zosiak looking more import forward than defenceman as he picked up possession in his own zone, sped beyond Oliver Baldock and Julian Smith down the right wing and fired over the shoulder of Euan King from tight right for a fantastic solo strike. The goal briefly gave the Mos momentum and Conor Redmond almost doubled the lead from close left but King kept him at bay to keep the score at 1-0. At 35.24 tempers then flared as Jack Lee slashed Grant Bartlett in the corner to instigate a scrap at centre ice. Lee landed the first blow and Bartlett the second but the pair then slipped bringing an end to the bout as the officials dived in. Now forced to sit a slashing minor as well as the standard 2+2 for roughing, Lee then watched on as Chelmsford made use of the powerplay – the clock stopping at 35.55 when Lukas Zatopek launched at net from the blue line and Matt Turner beat the puck down out of the air to divert it beyond Mark McGill for 1-1.
Having chased every loose puck and fought valiantly over the opening two frames, the Dynamos were caught out quickly in the second as Chelmsford tallied at 41.37 to take the lead. Juraj Huska finally found some space on the edge of the crease and when Jake Sylvester found him he did the rest with a trademark finish to put the visitors in front. The Mos then attempted to reply when Eriks Ozollapa robbed Lukas Zatopek on the right boards and fed an unmarked Nicky Lewis in the slot but netminder Euan King produced a big save to preserve his side’s lead. That stop would prove all the more valuable at 47.15 as the Chieftains added a third for the 3-1 edge –Zatopek claiming a fortunate goal as he fired at net from tight left and watched as the puck clipped the back skate of Mark McGill and trickled over the line for the two goal advantage. At 50.03 the game was then as good as up – with the hosts chasing the game Callum Wells’ long diagonal found James Ayling alone close left and he fired back over the shoulder of the netminder for 4-1. However, to their credit, the young Mos refused to give in and they mustered a reply on the powerplay at 53.17 – Adam McNicoll sending a wrist shot through traffic from the blue line that flew beyond replacement shot stopper Sonny Phillips. Despite conceding early, Phillips then produced a fine save to stop Eriks Ozollapa reducing the deficit to one whilst Mark McGill threw himself across the crease down the other end to deny what looked like a certain strike for Grant Bartlett late on.
So it was defeat for the Dynamos but a marginal one that featured numerous positives given the team’s age difference and inexperience relative to an established Chelmsford side. The Mos battled tirelessly throughout and frustrated the Chieftains in front of net in the opening two periods but the Essex outfit ultimately secured the win – their greater strength in attacking options ultimately the difference between the teams. Matt Turner was the pick of Chelmsford’s performers whilst Ondrej Zosiak was the best man out on the ice for the Dynamos and arguably both teams.