A hat-trick from Adam Rehak, a double from Ondrej Zosiak and efforts from Callum Fowler and Ashley Jackson saw the Invicta Dynamos overcome the Oxford City Stars 7-5 in their penultimate home game of 2016.
Both sides were near full strength for the bout – John Dibble continuing in net in place of the injured James Richardson and Damien King for the Mos who were also without Adam McNicoll whilst Oxford were minus only Andy Cox and Logan Prince.
Having already succumbed to the Stars twice this season the Dynamos were keen to make their mark early and did exactly that at 00.38 – Adam Rehak picking up a loose pass on his own blue line, speeding up the ice around two defenceman and shifting the puck beyond the reach of goalie Tom Annetts for 1-0. Michael Whillock could have answered when he was found close right but his drive to the 5-hole was denied by the pads of a quick footed John Dibble. Down the other end Nicky Lewis discovered the angle was too tight and Annetts too big a barrier when he found space point blank left whilst Joshua Oliver was the recipient of a fortunate puck bounce off of the back boards that found him clear in the slot but he blasted straight into the chest of the netminder. With chances at either end it seemed it was going to take a moment of magic to create a second goal and Rehak more than delivered at 16.50 with a sublime solo strike. The Czech robbed Ben Paynter in the Mos end, flew through the middle of the ice leaving Benjamin Nethersell hopelessly far behind and sold Annetts a delightful deke for the 2-0 lead.
In the second period Alan Green was found at the back post with half the goal to aim at but John Dibble made up the ground and executed a quick glove save to frustrate the Stars early on. They would be further frustrated at 25.02 as the Mos tallied a third on the powerplay whilst Dominic Hopkins sat for interference. Ondrej Zosiak chose his spot and found the top right corner from back on the blue line with a deadly accurate wrist shot that made it 3-0. However just as they were in danger of slipping out of sight Oxford answered at 26.08 – Alan Green rounding the net and firing through the legs on an unsighted John Dibble from close left to cut the deficit to two. Tempers then flared at 29.01 – Michael Whillock shooting the puck moments after the whistle prompting an exchange of shoves with Mason Webster that resulted in the gloves hitting the ice. Webster landed some hefty blows flooring the Stars man but to his credit he regathered his footing to initiate a brief wrestle from which the Mos forward also emerged victorious. With the extra momentum the hosts then notched their fourth at 30.05 – Nicky Lewis’ blind backhand pass in the slot finding Callum Fowler close left and he roofed over Annetts for 4-1. It was during a tripping penalty to Jarvis Mewett that Oxford replied though – 32.14 the moment when Brendan Baird drilled the puck to goal from the blue line and Ben Paynter redirected in front to make it 4-2. It was a contentious strike with the Mos bench believing the puck had crossed the blue line and left the zone before Baird’s slapshot. The Dynamos were far from shaken up though and would be back to three ahead by the break – Benjamin Nethersell’s sloppy pass putting Ashley Jackson clean through and the Olympian dispatched over the shoulder of Annetts for 5-2.
In the final period the Stars needed an early goal to maintain hopes of a comeback and they duly delivered at 42.56 – Dax Hedges feeding Joe Edwards in the left circle who showed great composure to skate across net, commit John Dibble and flick into the now unguarded target to cut the lead to 5-3. Jaroslav Cesky was unfortunate not to make it 5-4 seconds later as his backhand flick from close left found the underside of the bar and the Mos capitalised on the miss at 48.45. Joshua Condren’s pass from the wing teed up Nicky Lewis in the left circle and, when Tom Annetts saved his shot, Adam Rehak was in place to follow up close right and complete his hat-trick. Back down the other end a Cesky breakaway was halted by Tommy Ralph who was swiftly penalised for holding and perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty shot but the Stars failed to make the most of the powerplay. They netted shortly after regardless – 57.29 the moment when Michael Whillock’s backhand shot was blocked by Dibble but the puck fell onto the skate of Taylor Wootton and bounced into the Mos net to put Oxford back within two. Inevitably the visitors pulled their netminder but at 59.03 the gamble failed to pay off – Ondrej Zosiak claiming the puck in the left channel and taking his time before firing into the empty frame to lead 7-4. Game over, although seemingly not for the Stars who tallied the last of the night at 59.31 – defenceman Joonas Liimatainen sweeping into the roof of the net on the backhand from close right with a well taken finish that saw the tie end 7-5.
So after a frantic but thoroughly entertaining 60 minutes it was a win for the Dynamos – their fifth in succession and their first over Oxford in 2016/17. Man of the match awards went to Ben Paynter of the visitors whilst hat-trick hero Adam Rehak rightly took the spoils for the hosts having looked like a man on a mission.
Written by Paul Bennett.