A brace from Ashley Jackson helped the Invicta Dynamos finish 2016 with a 7th straight win as they emerged 4-1 winners from a physical and bad tempered clash with the London Raiders at the SilverBlades Gillingham on Sunday.
The Mos were minus just three as Jarvis Mewett, Adam McNicoll and Damien King missed out leaving a total of 19 players whilst the visitors had just 14 – Bailey Chittock, Mark Robinson, Marek Nahlik and Jacob Ranson all absent from the tie.
The opening frame was action packed and Callum Fowler set the tone by whipping the puck onto the crossbar from the left circle early on. London also had chances in the opening minutes – Brandon Miles forcing a pad save from John Dibble from close right and Matt France sending a backhand effort onto the netminder’s shoulder from the edge of the crease. At 04.01 a dangerous hit from behind by John Connolly on Adam Rehak saw Arran Strawson speed in for retribution but he stopped short of ditching the gloves and the London man went to the box for 2+10. At 05.30 the Mos then thought they had the lead but Callum Fowler’s deflected shot from wide right was rightly waved off by the referee with Nicky Lewis stood in the crease. They would only be waiting until 06.52 for the opener though – Elliott Dewey’s blue line shot given up for the rebound and Ashley Jackson fastest to react close left to make it 1-0. At 11.47 Callum Fowler looked set to add to that lead as he sprinted clear on the breakaway but Jake Pitchley halted his escape by bringing his stick down from above his head onto the legs of the forward forcing him to hobble from the ice. Pitchley was tossed from the tie with a game penalty whilst Nicky Lewis stepped up to attend to the resulting penalty shot but Euan King read his stick work and saved. Moments later Ondrej Zosiak thumped the crossbar from the blue line before Tom Davis escaped clear in behind down the other end but Elliott Dewey did well to get back and lift his stick and netminder John Dibble took the opportunity to claim the loose puck. At 16.27 the hosts did add a second – neat link up play between Ashley Jackson, Adam Rehak and Steve Osman ending with Rehak teeing up Jackson for an easy back post finish and his second goal of the night for 2-0.
After a frantic opening frame the middle period was much quieter in comparison though the game still possessed an edge – Sam Roberts landing a hefty hit that sent Mason Webster sprawling into the boards and Arran Strawson responding with a behind the play check that saw him penalised for interference. In front of net Joshua Condren had the best chance as he escaped in behind but was unable to beat Euan King whilst both Ashley Jackson and Mason Webster were denied by the defiant shot stopper at close range. Genuine opportunities for the visitors were few and far between but when Mason Webster was called for interference they made one count on the powerplay to cut the deficit to one. At 38.18 Slavomir Buda found Tom Davis alone between the faceoff circles and he roofed over the shoulder of John Dibble to make it 2-1.
Having been pegged back late in the second the Mos needed a good start to the third to ensure the points stayed in Kent and defenceman Ondrej Zosiak made sure of that with a great solo strike at 43.57. The defenceman was searching for a pass on his own blue line before driving up the ice himself, down the right channel, skating in from the wing and poking through the legs of Euan King at point blank range for the 3-1 lead. A fourth followed at 47.13 – Steve Osman tripped behind the goal but still getting the puck back to Zosiak on the blue line who thumped towards net and off the derriere of Mason Webster right in front leaving King no chance to react for 4-1. Tempers then flared a minute later – a coming together resulting in Brandon Miles singling out Harrison Lillis for attention – Lillis originally attempting to stay clear of Miles who threw punches but eventually accepting he was in a fight a throwing a few in return. Given the early advantage Miles landed the majority of the blows and won the wrestle to the ice to the delight of the visiting bench. When the action restarted Ashley Jackson was denied a hat-trick as King saved his one-timer from the left circle before King stopped yet another breakaway as this time Bailey Wootton was foiled. Further altercations followed late on with Adam Rehak tiring of Julian Smith’s persistent shoving throughout the clash and dropping the gloves but his compatriot did not resulting in the import sitting a misconduct. Smith would later decline an invitation to dance from Mason Webster and there was still time for Arran Strawson’s deflected shot to hit the crossbar as the clock wound down. Late on Thomas Beesley showed his blistering pace as he countered down the right for the visitors but he was unable to find a way beyond John Dibble and his attack was then halted by a hit from behind by Bailey Wootton. Lastly Mason Webster sent London’s goalie sprawling to the ice but the collision was purely accidental with the Mos forward unable to change path after colliding with a Raiders’ defenceman.
So at the final buzzer it was consecutive win number seven for the Dynamos and the perfect end to 2016 as they maintained the pressure on league leaders Chelmsford. The visitors arrived with a physical game plan but struggled to create chances and the Mos were good value for their hard earned two points. Man of the match awards went to Thomas Beesley of London who looks to have a bright future whilst John Dibble took the spoils for the hosts.
Written by Paul Bennett.