A 54th minute Adam Rehak thunderbolt decided the game on Sunday night as further efforts from Steve Osman and Bailey Wootton saw a Dynamos side depleted by injuries and suspensions overcome the London Raiders 3-2.
The Mos entered the clash with 14 players – Haydn Wootton, Joshua Condren and Damien King out through injury, Mason Webster, Harrison Lillis, Callum Fowler and even Head Coach Kevin Parrish suspended and Ashley Jackson abroad playing field hockey. London also iced 14 with youngster Callum Burnett making his senior debut. John Dibble and Euan King started between the posts.
After two consecutive defeats the Dynamos were keen to make a positive start and they almost netted in the opening moments as Nicky Lewis was found in space right in front with time – perhaps too much time as the forward then fired straight into netminder Euan King. A holding minor on Andrew Munroe soon after would result in the first goal at 03.54 – Arran Strawson’s shot from deep redirected at the near post by Steve Osman close left to end the forward’s dry spell and make it 1-0. London thought they had answered moments later as Alan Lack tested John Dibble from point blank right before falling on top of him allowing Slavomir Buda to fire in the rebound but the strike was correctly washed out. Down the other end Adam Rehak beat three before Euan King denied his shot to the 5-hole whilst a mazy skate from Ondrej Zosiak ended in the same fashion as the netminder again came out on top. Marek Nahlik was unable to break London’s duck with an opportunistic backhand attempt close left that Dibble pushed wide before Rehak was again forcing King into action – this time the shot stopper gloving a venomous slapshot from the left circle.
In the second period London started brighter but Thomas Beesley’s shot on the spin from close left was deflected wide and Marek Nahlik fired over the target with a clear sight of net from between the circles. Jake Pitchley then landed the hit of the night but unfortunately for him, and even more unfortunately for Nahlik, it was his own teammate he sent crashing to the ice. Down the other end Adam Rehak tested Euan King from wide left but the netminder had a good view of it – so good the puck hit him in the mask stopping play. In truth it was a scrappy period with both sides struggling to create chances but starting to agitate each other – a hit from Alan Lack on Rehak seemingly the final straw at 34.47. Both Lack and Rehak ditched the gloves but Rehak slipped just as they grabbed each other’s jerseys and the fight was over without a punch thrown. Both players would receive 2+2 for roughing – or at least attempted roughing. After the bout Brandon Miles was determined to goad Brad Gutridge into a scrap but the Mos man was focussed on his hockey. The Raiders then almost levelled following a neat 360 spin by Beesley wide right followed by a pass to the crease but Slavomir Buda found John Dibble in his way and it remained 1-0. That could have been 2-0 at the break – Bailey Wootton escaping on the breakaway but King reading his shot to the bottom right corner to keep London close.
After a goal drought in the second frame there was a glut in the third but first Steve Osman was denied as he escaped in behind the back line whilst John Dibble twice blocked from Marek Nahlik at close range. At 43.44, nearly 40 minutes after the first strike, the second came but this time for the visitors – Alan Lack’s reverse pass teeing up Jack Pitchley close left and he picked out the top far corner for 1-1. Pitchley should have had another soon after as he broke clear on the breakaway but John Dibble dived to poke the puck clear and then rose quickly to block Slavomir Buda’s instant follow up. The miss looked costly at 50.59 as the Mos restored their lead – Adam Rehak’s shot given up for the rebound and Bailey Wootton left to poke home from all of a yard for the 2-1 edge. The Raiders were incensed with the referee appearing to blow for a frozen puck as Wootton tallied but the strike stood with the disc still in play and already en route to the twine. Protests swiftly turned to celebrations however – the Raiders answering at 52.26 as an almighty scramble in front of the Dynamos goal ended with Nahlik forcing beyond John Dibble who had done his best to deny three quick-fire attempts. It seemed as if a stalemate was looming but when the Raiders fell afoul of a bench minor for too many men they were made to pay the price. At 53.53 Arran Strawson found Adam Rehak in the left circle and his thunderous slapshot flew over Euan King to put the Mos 3-2 to the good. The effort would prove decisive despite Lack having a clear shooting opportunity close right but again Dibble blocked his path. All that remained was for a last minute moment of controversy – Tommy Ralph and Pitchley both chasing a puck back towards the home goal that was frozen by Dibble. Despite the foot race being over Pitchley then shoved Ralph from behind forcing him into the goal frame head first and leaving him in need of attention on the ice. Ralph would recover to his feet five minutes later whilst Pitchley was tossed form the tie with 2+10 for checking from behind.
So it was a return to winning ways for the Dynamos who overcame the absence of a number of top two line players to put another two points between them and second place chasing London. Man of the match beers went to Thomas Beesley of the Raiders – who also received a Coke given his youth (other Cola’s are available – just not as nice…) – whilst John Dibble rightly took the spoils for the Mos.
Written by Paul Bennett.