A hat-trick from Juraj Huska and further goals from Tomas Banovsky, Anthony Leone, Brandon Webster and Tom Davis saw the Invicta Dynamos narrowly edge out a battling Raiders side in Gillingham in the London Cup on Sunday.
Before the game there was a minute long applause held in memory of Dieter Korff who was a long time supporter, volunteer and coach of hockey in Medway.
When the action started the opening minutes was something of a goal fest. The deadlock was broken at 03.01 – Juraj Huska sending an effort towards net from behind the halfway line that netminder Tyler De La Bertouche seemed to lose en route with the puck slipping between his pads to make it 1-0. The Raiders answered quickly though – at 05.01 Daniel Fay’s blue line shot was redirected by Adam Erskine between the circles leaving Owen Rider stranded as the puck sneaked over the line for 1-1. The visitors then went ahead at 05.49 – Kaloyan Popov getting the better of two Mos players against the right boards to find Casey Wilson in the right circle and he played to the back post where an unmarked Harvey Briggs swept in.
The Dynamos levelled at 06.42 – Brandon Webster working some space on the left wing before a cross ice pass found Tomas Banovsky alone in the right circle who drilled a one-timer straight into the top corner with a trademark finish. This effort was the last of an otherwise scrappy frame that the visitors arguably edge with Donald Campbell also striking the post.
In the second frame the visitors were still making more chances and they took the lead again at 24.09 – Vilius Krakauskas picking off a sloppy pass in the neutral zone before charging forward and placing a wrist shot as perfectly as it could be placed into the top left corner from the right circle for 3-2. The Raiders then looked to be heading out of sight at 26.02 as they added another – another giveaway allowed Gian Luca Pascale to enter the zone down the right channel and he passed to the back stick where the on-rushing Krakauskas claimed his second.
In reply Tomas Banovsky forced a pad save from Tyler De La Bertouche from the left circle and then the goalie came out on top again as the Slovak tried his luck on the backhand from the slot moments later. He would be beaten at 32.33 though – Juraj Huska playing to the crease from behind the net were a waiting Anthony Leone fired in to cut the deficit to 3-2. The goal prompted the hosts to go up a gear with the Raiders finally coming under persistent pressure until the buzzer. That meant an equaliser seemed inevitable and it arrived at 36.13 – this time Leone putting the puck in front of goal from behind the net where Huska forced in for 4-4. Brandon Webster had a breakaway chance late on and De La Bertouche made a double save from Ashley Jackson close right but the teams finished the period level.
In the final period the Mos took the lead for the first time since the third minute – Tomas Banovsky selling multiple dekes to find space wide right before a cross ice pass to Brandon Webster in the left circle who fired in the one-timer at 43.08. They were immediately pegged back though – at 43.52 Donald Campbell’s blue line shot was tipped by Adam Erskine in front to beat Owen Rider and square the tie at 5-5.
After the restart Tyler De La Bertouche denied Juraj Huska from right in front and then Tomas Banovksy from similar range. His resistance was undone at 50.37 though – Daniel Fay sitting a delay of game minor allowing the space for Juraj Huska to shoot low on the spin from the left circle beyond a netminder who was being effectively screened by Henry Aiken on the edge of the crease.
At 52.22 there was then a moment of feistiness – Anthony Leone taking a disliking to a hit by Donald Campbell on Juraj Huska against the boards and immediately jumping in to wrestle his opponent to the ground to earn a roughing minor. The visitors were unable to do anything with the powerplay though leaving them needing to pull the goalie in the dying moments. In the final second of the game that risk taking came without reward as Tom Davis killed the tie with a shot from the blue line that beat the last defenceman and trickled into the empty net.
So two London Cup points for the Mos in a game that had a thrilling conclusion but was often low on quality. The Mos have and certainly will played better whilst the young Raiders put up a dogged display to push the hosts to the buzzer. Man of the match awards went to Adam Erskine of the visitors and Owen Rider for the Dynamos.
Written by Paul Bennett.