Two goals from Adam Rehak helped the Invicta Dynamos maintain their 100% record on Sunday as they came from behind to overcome a battling London Raiders 4-2 in the NIHL Southern Cup.
With Steve Osman nursing an injury and Anthony Baskerville unavailable the Mos were just short of full strength but they still outnumbered their opponents as the Raiders arrived with a roster of 16. It was London’s first outing of the new campaign but they showed no signs of summer rust and flew out of the traps as though they had a point to prove. Netminder Damien King had gone over 170 minutes without conceding a goal before the puck drop but the visitors ended his streak just 42 seconds in – Tom Davis passing to the crease where Marek Nahlik had been left alone by the Dynamos defence and neatly steered around the shot stopper to make it 1-0. King then had to be on hand to prevent Kamil Kinkor doubling that lead before the first flash point of the night came courtesy of J.J. Pitchley – the London agitator clattering Adam Rehak with a hit from behind and earning his 2+10. With Paralympic gold medallist Charlotte Evans watching in the crowd the Mos own Olympian Ashley Jackson then almost equalised as he beautifully side stepped Nahlik for a sight of the target but his low drive was just wide of the frame. The Raiders looked the more dangerous though and young speed merchant Thomas Beesley was seemingly in the clear only for Elliott Dewey to end his breakaway with a trip. It was perhaps against the run of play then when the hosts equalised at 11.09 – Nicky Lewis doing an entire lap of the net as though he were circling the M25 before lashing high into the roof of the target to tie it up at 1-1. The remainder of the period was then end-to-end – Bailey Wotton only able to find the chest of Michael Gray from close right whilst Damien King did well to hold on to a venomous Kinkor slapshot.
After a frantic end to the first the second saw a scrappy start as both teams closed each other down determined to stamp their mark on the game. At 26.09 the visitors found a touch of class – James Pentecost picking out Marek Nahlik in the left circle and the import lashing over the glove of Damien King and into the top far corner for 2-1. Again King had to be on top form to spare the Mos another – Thomas Beesley all set for a back post tap-in until the netminder made an excellent stop with a quick outstretched leg. Down the other end Adam Rehak skipped inside his man and fired off of the crossbar before the gloves came off at 30.21 – but only Tommy Ralph’s. Ralph felt J.J. Pitchley had deliberately hit him with his stick and dropped the mitts ready to fight but his counterpart instantly turtled and drew the Mos D-man into a misconduct penalty as well as 4 minutes of minors. Despite being shorthanded Ashley Jackson almost equalised but Michael Gray halted him on the breakaway before London’s powerplay was extended further as Mason Webster sat for tripping. However, despite looking dangerous at 5-on-5, the Raiders were oddly toothless on the powerplay and the opportunity went begging. At 36.26 further penalties followed – Joshua Condren landed a hit on Nahlek and Jack Cooper saw red and jumped him from behind. Unable to defend himself Condren ducked to the ice before Arran Strawson raced in and returned the favour to Cooper by dragging him of his teammate. It would prove to be the end of Strawson who received a game misconduct for 3rd man in but the Mos still secured a powerplay and made it count at 36.32 – Adam Rehak smashing low inside the near post from the right circle to tie it up at 2-2.
In the final frame James Pentecost outpaced Jarvis Mewett down the channel and fired a wrist shot off of the bar before the hosts took the lead for the first time at 44.55. Mason Webster stole the puck in the neutral zone before charging at net and centring for Adam Rehak in the middle who quickly stick handled around the dive of Michael Gray to make it 3-2. Having been on top form Gray then almost had a nightmare moment as he dropped a slapshot onto the roof of his own net before he was beaten again at 48.32 only for the referee to wash it out. Tommy Ralph’s blue line drive was tipped down over the line by Rehak but the officials decided his stick was higher than the crossbar and the home goal music was brought to a swift end. At the other end of the ice James Pentecost snapped at a loose puck in the crease and sent it just wide of the near post before the gloves came off again at 53.01. Having antagonised all night long J.J. Pitchley picked the wrong opponent to wind up and Mason Webster left him no way out this time and began to land the blows. After struggling initially, Pitchley then looked to be holding his own before a Webster right hook to the jaw sent him downwards and emphatically ended the bout. When the action restarted the Mos made sure of the win with the last goal of the night at 55.31 – Rehak somehow eluding both Juliam Smith and Thomas Beesley in the corner before teeing up Haydn Wootton for the back post finish.
So after a demanding and bruising encounter it was a third straight win for the Dynamos against a London team that looked much improved on the previous season. Man of the match awards went to Adam Rehak of the Mos who played a key role in getting them over the line whilst young Raider Thomas Beesley was exceptional on his debut and rightly scooped the honours for the visitors.
Written by Paul Bennett.