A Steve Osman double, a first in Invicta Dynamos colours for Jack Lee and a drive from Andy Henderson saw the Mos secure a 4-2 victory over the Milton Keynes Thunder in the NIHL South Division 1 on Saturday.
Having narrowly overcome their opponents 6-5 courtesy of a last gasp goal in the most recent match-up, the Mos set about finding an early strike this time around but found import goalie Villem-Henrik Koitmaa in stubborn form. The Estonian took an Arran Strawson slapshot to the mask, denied Taylor Wootton his first Mos goal by swatting away his rebound and stood tall to deny Eriks Ozollapa after the Latvian had skinned his man on the outside and raced to goal. Eventually his resistance was overcome at 08.30 – Haydn Wootton collecting the puck behind the net and flicking towards the crease where Jack Lee forced home just inside the left upright at point blank range to make it 1-0. The home side’s goal then inspired a mini lull – Josh Nicklin almost taking advantage with a shot from the slot that hit the shoulder of King and bounced just over the bar. At 16.06 the visitors made their increasing influence on the game count – Ryan Coffey’s pass bobbling to Jamie Line on the edge of the crease and the Thunder forward sweeping inside the far post from close range to tie it up at 1-1. A tripping penalty to Andy Henderson then gave them the chance to push on but, a man up, they went a goal down – Jacob Ranson and Steve Osman countering up the ice 2-on-1 and, though Koitmaa blocked Ranson’s shot from wide right, Osman was in place to tuck home the rebound in the middle at 19.18.
After a strong finish to the opening period, the Mos went off the boil for much of the second allowing Milton Keynes to dominate the scoring chances. Harrison Goode’s effort from the left circle had to be turned around the post by Damien King who then also did well to rob an unmarked Josh Nicklin from close range. Ross Bowers found King equally difficult to beat when he had time and space on the edge of the crease before the netminder thwarted Nicklin for a second time – the forward’s shot across target being plucked from the air by the swift hand of the goalie. The best the Mos could muster in reply was Taylor Wootton’s slapshot from the slot that looked to be finding the top left corner until Villem-Henrik Koitmaa palmed to safety. Ultimately the Mos had King to thank for preserving their 2-1 lead – the shot stopper required again late on to block a low drive from between the circles and then quickly find his feet to halt Harrison Goode’s high follow up.
After a pep talk from their Head Coach, the Mos returned from the intermission with a bit more determination in their stride and only Villem-Henrik Koitmaa prevented them from adding to their lead during a powerplay – the netminder standing tall to deny a barrage of close range attempts in quick succession. At 43.41 he was beaten – Taylor Wootton finding Andy Henderson skating forward from the blue line and the defenceman’s wrist shot from the back of the right circle was perfection – as close to the top right corner of the net as it could be and over the line for 3-1. The Mos then continued to pressure the Thunder goal – Nicky Lewis denied from close left, picking up the puck, skating across the crease and trying again from close right only to be turned away once more. As time wound down the visitors made one last rally – 56.22 the moment when Ross Bowers’ shot from the left was padded away by Damien King who then did well to block Jamie Line’s first follow up but was powerless to stop his second that cut the deficit to 3-2. Thunder netminder Koitmaa was then persistently seeking the nod to flee from the ice to give the away side the extra skater but it only came in the dying minute and the roll of the dice would ultimately not go their way. At 59.30 Steve Osman claimed a loose puck in the right faceoff circle in his own zone and swept it clear up the length of the ice before watching as it picked out the middle of the empty frame to secure a 4-2 victory.
So it was a win for the Mos but far from spectacular. Two more points on the board will prove invaluable but the hosts made hard work of a 14 man Milton Keynes and might have come unstuck against some of the division’s stronger sides. Post-game the squad held a team meeting with a much improved performance set to be required away to the Chelmsford Chieftains the following day. Man of the match awards went to ever dangerous speedster Jamie Line of Milton Keynes whilst Damien King earned his bears for the Dynamos.
Written by Paul Bennett.