Ondrej Zosiak’s winner just 73 seconds from time saw the Invicta Dynamos take two points in a 6-5 win over the Milton Keynes Thunder on Sunday having fought back from 4-2 down going into the final frame.
The Mos took to the ice with a considerable advantage in numbers but it was 14 man Milton Keynes who made the better start – lighting the lamp as early as 02.38 on the powerplay. Ryan Coffey centred from the right boards and, though Damien King blocked Harrison Goode at point blank range, Goode followed up to make it 1-0. At 03.31 it was two – Josh Nicklin coming out from behind the net on the left side and sweeping to the back post where a waiting Tom Mboya prodded home. As the puck crossed the line the gloves also came off – Tom Castle reacting to a hit from Arran Strawson on Nicklin in the build up to the strike and the pair exchanging blows. The Mos d-man claimed an easy victory in the mismatch but the Thunder would lead on the scoreboard by two goals to nil. Already facing an uphill battle the hosts then set about cutting into their deficit but import goalie Villem-Henrik Koitmaa was proving stubborn down the other end. The Estonian slammed the door shut on Steve Osman who had worked his way clear and fired towards the 5-hole whilst Eriks Ozollapa fired onto the bar having skipped in from the left channel.
In the second period the Mos continued to force the issue but were lacking that finishing touch – Eriks Ozollapa going coast-to-coast but Villem-Henrik Koitmaa there to thwart him again. The saying goes ‘if you can’t be good, be lucky’ but Koitmaa was proving to be both – the Estonian saving Joshua Condren’s drive with the handle of his stick in the opening moments. Eventually the hosts would answer – 27.49 the moment when Andy Henderson sent the puck home with a wrist shot from back on the blue line that went in off of the right post to make it 2-1. The Scotsman’s strike was the start of a tit-for-tat spell – the Thunder answering as swiftly as 29.09 when Tom Mboya robbed Arran Strawson on his own blue line before feeding Jamie Line close right for the high near post finish. At 32.32 the Mos then struck again – Ozollapa not allowing Paul Gore any peace on the puck behind the goal line and playing to the crease where a well-placed Steve Osman poked in to cut the lead to 3-2. The Dynamos now had momentum but netminder Koitmaa refused to give up a leveller – Ozollapa’s one-timer from the slot being plucked from the air by the goalie’s glove and Jacob Ranson’s low shot being pushed around the post by an outstretched leg. At 39.28 then came a seemingly killer blow – Ryan Coffey latching on to a clearance up the ice, shifting beyond Strawson, across the crease and tapping in at the far post to give the Thunder a 4-2 edge.
Two down heading into the final period, the Mos needed a big 20 minutes to avoid a point free weekend and two goals in the space of 54 seconds put them straight back on an even keel. The first of the pair came at 41.42 – Steve Osman latching on to a loose puck in the slot and feeding Bailey Wootton right in front who poked through the 5-hole to make it 4-3. At 42.36 it was 4-4 – Conor Redmond firing across the crease from the right boards where the on-rushing Eriks Ozollapa diverted home to raise the decibel level inside the SilverBlades. Once again the hosts had the momentum but Villem-Henrik Koitmaa refused them the lead – Osman firing onto the netminder’s shoulder and over and Redmond being robbed from right in front with a slapshot. It was against the run of play then when the Thunder replied with yet another deadly counter – 51.01 the moment when the speedy Jamie Line charged down Harrison Goode’s clearance up the ice, skipping inside Andy Henderson and rifling over Damien King to lead 5-4. However to their credit the Mos battled back yet again – Koitmaa, who was otherwise solid on the night, giving up a simple rebound from Redmond’s long drive allowing Ozollapa the easy far post tap-in for 5-5 at 56.31. When Nidal Phillips then sat a minor penalty the hosts sensed blood – Ondrej Zosiak moving from defence to forward and making the difference with a thumping slapshot from wide left that rocketed into the top far corner for the winner at 58.47.
So it was a win for the Mos – one that looked as though it may be routine before the puck drop but ultimately felt monumental at the buzzer given the nature of the comeback required to seal the two points. Credit must go to the shortbenched Thunder for such a battling display despite a lack of numbers whilst the hosts will undoubtedly feel a surge of confidence having taken the ‘W’ when defeat looked on the cards. Man of the match awards went to Jamie Line of Milton Keynes whilst Andy Henderson took the honours for the Dynamos.
Written by Paul Bennett.