Ondrej Zosiak’s 45th minute slapshot secured another league point for the Invicta Dynamos on Sunday night as they drew 2-2 with the Oxford City Stars in their penultimate home game of 2015.
The Mos entered the clash short of injured trio Nicky Lewis, Adam McNicoll and Bailey Wootton whilst influential import forward Eriks Ozollapa was sitting a suspension having been dismissed from the tie against the London Raiders the night before. The absence of the quartet was evident in the opening moments as the hosts struggled to create an opportunity but that was remedied at 06.15 as Andy Henderson lit the lamp to make it 1-0. Being deployed as a forward the Scotsman took a pinpoint diagonal pass from Ondrej Zosiak in the right circle and, with the same touch, swept high into the top near corner beyond the glove of Tom Annetts for the early lead. Oxford reacted well and were unfortunate not to equalise – Joe Edwards shooting down the gut of Damien King from close left and only the elbow of the netminder then robbing Benjamin Ealey-Newman from the slot as King diverted around the upright. The Mos certainly had their goalie to thank for preserving their slender edge but they could have added to it just before the buzzer – Steve Osman centring from the wing and Conor Redmond agonisingly close to the touch that would have poked the puck beyond Annetts and made it 2-0.
In the second frame Steve Osman remained the home side’s most effective attacking outlet – the forward almost tallying with a shot that went beneath the pads of Tom Annetts but Oxford’s new netminder managed to trap it on the line. Damien King then did well to hold a venomous Boris Ruzicka drive that was flying goalwards from the blue line but the Mos man’s stubborn resistance was at an end come 28.05 as the Stars tallied to level it up. Darren Elliott’s pass put Joshua Florey in close right and, when Florey’s effort was beaten away by the netminder, Elliott was in the right place to follow up from the edge of the crease to make it 1-1. Just over a minute later and Oxford were then ahead – a long pass out from the back pitting Ondrej Pekarik and Alan Green against lone defenceman Harrison Lillis but Pekarik didn’t need the help of his teammate in the middle and squeezed through the 5-hole of King from close right for the 2-1 edge at 29.21. The Mos struggled to reply but Steve Osman had their best opportunity before the break – the home side’s number 83 shooting between the pads of Tom Annetts but the goalie reacting quickly to trap the puck between his legs.
2-1 down heading into the last, the Dynamos needed a big performance if they were to avoid a second league defeat at the hands of Oxford this season but Tom Annetts remained in good form as he palmed Conor Redmond’s effort from close range over the top. In truth the hosts were missing the incisive attacking play that the suspended Eriks Ozollapa customarily brings and it seemed their best chance of an equaliser lay back on the blue line. At 44.09 Ondrej Zosiak proved exactly that – the Slovak quickly becoming known for his slapshots with another from deep left that caught the arm of Annetts but still had more than enough power to fly across the line and into the twine behind him. As Oxford suffered penalty trouble the hosts were then knocking on the door with the Stars netminder frantically darting across his crease to keep the Mos at bay. Joshua Condren was denied from the slot whilst Taylor Wootton came close from between the circles but neither could find that finishing touch. Ultimately the visitors saw out a difficult spell and they then almost claimed a winner when Boris Ruzicka’s halfway line slapshot took an awkward bounce off of the ice but Damien King watched it all the way and held it with a firm glove. In the dying seconds Arran Strawson then threatened the Oxford net from point blank range but the Stars held firm to claim a rare point at the Silver Blades Gillingham.
So it was honours even come the final buzzer with 2-2 a result that was probably a fair reflection of the game. The Mos worked hard but missing a number of key attacking players lacked that flair to open up the stubborn Oxford defence whilst the Stars proved more than capable of holding their own in a season where they have been much improved. Man of the match honours went to the tireless Jacob Ranson of the Dynamos whilst Sam Arnold took the spoils for the away side.
Written by Paul Bennett.