Goals from blue liners Andrew Munroe, Ondrej Zosiak and Arran Strawson were not enough to prevent the Invicta Dynamos slipping to a 5-3 defeat on Saturday as the Milton Keynes Thunder emerged victorious from an entertaining end-to-end encounter.
The Dynamos were without Jake Stedman, Ryan Giles and Harrison Lillis but saw Callum Best return to roster for the game. Thunder were missing Jamie Line, Hallden Barnes-Garner, Gareth O’Flaherty and Sean Norris.
Thunder won the opening faceoff as Trevor LeBlanc skated up the wing and took a shot on Connor Morris. Morris was unable to save the Canadian’s effort resulting in the visitors taking a 1-0 lead after 01:16. The Dynamos then began to dominate the play and pose a threat to netminder Jordan Lawday. After several attempts, Andy Munroe found the back of the net with a wrist shot from the blue line to level the score at 1-1 on 02:18.
Arran Strawson tried his luck with a slapshot from the blue line but the puck went over the top of the net. Owen Dell then collected the puck and tried to perform a wrap-around on Lawday, but he easily saved the youngster’s shot. Lawday was feeling the pressure as after five minutes of play, the Dynamos dominating and putting him to the test. However, against the run of play, Leblanc managed to steal possession from Dell and skated up the ice before taking a back hand shot which Morris was unable to save with a dive. The goal put the visitors back in the lead at 13:03.
Milton Keynes were then on top for the remainder of the frame but they were unable to extend their advantage and the first period ended with the visitors leading 2-1.
The second period began, and the two teams battled for dominance. Oskars Ancitis was sent to the box for two minutes for high sticks. Soon, Strawson was to join his fellow teammate in the box as he was called for a two-minute hooking penalty. Goal three then came for Thunder on the p0owerplay courtesy of Rio Grinnell-Parke – the Milton Keynes forward turning in a rebound from the edge of the crease at 30:37. The goal angered the Dynamos netminder and he slammed his stick into the boards in objection.
Moments later Ondrej Zosiak collided with Rio Grinnell-Parke against the boards. Neither party were happy about the check as Grinnell-Parke cross checked the Slovak who responded with a slash. The Dynamos defenceman then grabbed the Thunder player and wrestled with him before letting his opponent fall to the ice. Zosiak received a two minute late hit penalty followed by a two-minute roughing penalty whilst Grinnell-Parke sat in the box for a two-minute cross-check.
Dynamos got lucky as Joe Edwards was sent to penalty box for a two-minute hooking penalty. Followed by Leblanc who received two-minutes for cross-checking. However the Mos were unable to score during their two man advantage with their passing too slow to engineer scoring opportunities. Zosiak sent a rocket slapshot towards Lawday who managed to save it but fell on impact. The end of the second period followed with Milton Keynes leading 3-1.
Beginning of the third period and Lawday got lucky as a shot from Anthony Leone rebounded and Louis Colvin’s follow-up hit the post. Zosiak then got the Dynamos back in the game with a goal – the defenceman was tripped as he sent the puck flying from the slot but it still reached its target to make it 3-2 at 42:16.
Behind the play, Brandon Miles then fell to the ice as a result of an accidental collision with a linesman and finally managed to get to his feet and stumble towards the bench before collapsing at the gate. He would later return to the action unscathed.
Goal four for Thunder came as Ross Bowers skated across the crease and roofed over Morris’s shoulder. It was a powerplay strike tallied at 44:46 to restore the away side’s two goal lead and make it 4-2.
Down the other end Oskars Ancitis showed Joe Edwards who was boss with a huge hit into the boards behind the play. Thunder players were not happy, but the officials did not see the Invicta forward’s check. Not long after, Ancitis checked Edwards again dispatching the Thunder player to the ice once more. Moments later Thunder’s Sam Talbot was sent to the box for a two-minute interference penalty – the young forward had checked Dell who fell head first into the boards and Dynamos were not happy with the hit on their young player. Despite this the penalty gave the hosts a powerplay opportunity and Strawson sent a rocket slapshot into the roof of the net from the blue line for 4-3 at 50:30.
Dynamos called for a timeout with just over five minutes remaining of the game. It was the visitors who struck next though – Bowers beating Ryan Morgan to go through on Morris and then pulling off the same move as he used earlier in the game to complete a neat finish that made it 5-3 at 55:15.
In response the Mos threw everything they could at Lawday but none could find the back of the net. Late on Grinnell-Parked tried to check Strawson into the boards with a high challenge but the Thunders player bounced off of the Dynamos defenceman. Grinnell-Parke and Strawson exchanged some words and the Mos man responded with a slash that saw him sent to the box. With Strawson in the box, Bowers decided to skate towards the Dynamos bench and had a few words up close with coach Kevin Parrish who laughed at the Thunder player.
Only 12 seconds remained, and the Dynamos returned to full strength. Morris was pulled from his net and the Dynamos fired shot after shot at Lawday but could not get it past the netminder as the last buzzer sounded.
So the tie ended 5-3, the visiting Thunder victorious by a narrow margin in a fairly even end-to-end clash. Man of the match awards went to the excellent Jordan Lawday of the visitors and captain Anthony Leone of the Dynamos.
Written by Hannah Lawrence.