An Ashley Jackson winner 34 seconds from time that followed a first senior hat-trick for Arran Strawson saw the Invicta Dynamos win a 7-6 thriller on home ice against the Milton Keynes Thunder in the NIHL South Division 1 on Sunday.
The home side were without Haydn and Taylor Wootton, Harrison Lillis, Damien King and James Richardson but still had one more skater than their opponents who had 16 players at their disposal. John Dibble started in net for the Mos whilst David Wride stood between the posts for the Thunder.
In the opening frame the visitors should have opened the scoring in the first minute as Tommy Ralph’s misplaced pass put Jakub Klima in the clear right in front but John Dibble showed that he was alert early on with a smart save. At 01.18 the first goal then came but at the other end of the ice – Callum Fowler winning the fight for a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and sending a wrist shot over the shoulder of David Wride for 1-0. Fowler threatened again when he outpaced Boris Ruzicka down the right channel but, having darted towards net, he struggled to find a way beyond the netminder from point blank range. An Adam McNicoll one-timer then found the skate of Wride before Jamie Line robbed Ralph in the left corner for a clear shot at Dibble but again the goalie saved well. On the powerplay the Mos came as close as possible to adding a second without troubling the scoreboard – Ashley Jackson firing onto the far post and Wride somehow denying Adam Rehak’s follow-up from right in front. The save was all the more valuable at 17.24 as the visitors equalised with the man advantage as Arran Strawson sat in the box for holding – Ross Bowers flying down the left wing before dispatching a shot off of defenceman Tommy Ralph and into the top far corner for 1-1. At 18.32 the Thunder then took the lead – Cameron Wynn’s pass from behind the frame finding Jakub Klima close left and he tucked the puck beyond Dibble for a 2-1 first period lead.
The Dynamos began the second period by equalising instantly – just 47 seconds passing before Arran Strawson was found in plenty of space at the top of the left circle and he picked his spot by sending the puck into the bottom right corner for 2-2. However, setting the theme for the night, another goal quickly followed as the Thunder re-established their lead – Jakub Klima’s sweep to the crease tucked between the legs of John Dibble by a poke from Cameron Wynn at 21.36. Klima should have added to that lead when Nick Chinn found him alone at the back post but his air shot saw the Mos defence unpunished before the hosts equalised again at 25.26. This time Ondrej Zosiak seized a loose puck in the slot and powered home off of the crossbar for 3-3. At 28.41 Adam Rehak and Harrison Goode had a shoving match behind the play – Goode’s elbow enraging the import who pushed him to the ice to ensure minor penalties all round. However, it was only when Paul Gore was sent to the box for tripping late on that the Dynamos added another – Strawson again picked out in the left circle and this time choosing power over placement as he drilled beyond David Wride for a 4-3 lead at 37.18.
In the final period a delay of the game minor to Nidal Phillips gave the hosts a man advantage but they surrendered a goal straight away – 43.01 the moment when Nicky Lewis gifted the puck to Nick Chin right in front and the veteran was never likely to miss with the player / coach levelling for 4-4. However on the same powerplay the Mos made amends and it was a hat-trick for Arran Strawson – the D-man skating forward from the blue line, around the attempted diving interception of the defenceman and sending a wrist shot off of the arm of David Wride and into the net at 43.23. The Dynamos then looked comfortable at 46.20 – Adam Rehak and Ashley Jackson countering up the ice 2-on-1 and the import using his teammate as a decoy before skating around the dive of Wride and sweeping home for 6-4. However just when the game required the home side to play with cool heads and see out the tie, captain Callum Fowler briefly lost his – clashing with Nidal Phillips behind the play with a high check that was harshly given 2+10 for checking to the head and a cross-check that saw resulted in an additional 2. The result was a Thunder powerplay and they took advantage at 52.04 – Ross Green’s threaded cross-ice pass only eclipsed by the one-timer slapshot that sent it into the twine by Jakub Klima in the left circle for 6-5. Klima then looked to have escaped on the breakaway soon after but the Mos were rescued by the most marginal of offside calls that preserved their one goal edge. However, when Elliott Dewey was sent to the box for high sticks, the Dynamos were pinned back – the clock stopping at 58.43 when Ross Bowers fired into the netminder’s pads with Tom Mboya in place to convert the rebound for 6-6. It looked to be a point dropped for the Mos but a penalty on Bowers with 43 seconds to go gave them hope and a famous victory was then sealed at 59.26 – Steve Osman taking a faceoff in the final third and Ashley Jackson thumping the puck over David Wride from the high slot with all his might for a final score of 7-6.
So it was a euphoric atmosphere at the final buzzer as the Dynamos rescued a win from likely stalemate in a game that neither defence will want to watch again. Arran Strawson’s hat-trick rightly saw him take the man of the match honours for the Mos whilst Cameron Wynn secured the spoils for the Thunder.
Written by Paul Bennett.