Goals from Harrison Lillis and Anthony Leone were not enough to prevent the Invicta Dynamos succumbing to a 5-2 home defeat at the hands of the Oxford City Stars in the NIHL South Division 1 on Sunday.
The Dynamos were without any imports having released Filip Sedivy in the week only to then be served with a six game suspension for Juraj Huska from the EIHA. Youngsters Owen Rider and Gregor McAllan were on duty elsewhere whilst defenceman Mark Williams was injured.
In the opening frame the Mos started brightest as Elliot Farrell, Arran Strawson and Tom Davis all tested goalie Ross Miller at close range early on but none could find a route beyond the netminder. Farrell was proving a problem for the Stars again soon after as he robbed David Manning to go clear on net but the shot stopped thwarted his breakaway. It was slightly against the run of play then when the visitors took the lead at 08.54 – a Jack Hayes blue line shot taking a hefty deflection en route to goal with David Manning credited with a touch that he would have known little about on the edge of the crease.
The Mos were back on level terms less than a minute later – Luke Thirkettle sending Harrison Lillis into the final third 1-on-1 and the stand in forward taking an early shot from the high slot that found the bottom left corner to make it 1-1 at 09.52.
The home side had to kill a 5-on-3 as Anthony Leone and Ryan Giles were sent to the box in quick succession but Tom Davis still almost put them ahead as he escaped in behind only for Ross Miller to make a save. As the period drew to a close the Stars then began to establish themselves more – Jake Williams only being denied by the diving block of Ryan Morgan as netminder Zachary Grandy-Smith was grounded. At 19.05 the visitors were back in front – a quick counter ending as Joe Edwards teed up Manning at the back post and he converted for his second of the night for 2-1.
The second period was a scrappy affair with Oxford goalie Ross Miller continuing to frustrate the home side. Miller denied Anthony Leone from tight left before Arran Strawson sent a rebound opportunity over the bar and the goalie was then in place to stop Joe Stephenson who had escaped on a 2-on-1 counter with Kieron Jones. Down the other end Oliver Shone drew a point blank save from Zachary-Grandy Smith whilst Matthew Lawday left Dale Buckland behind for a chance on net but he too was turned away.
The next goal came at 32.55 and once again it was the Stars on target – Anthony Leone doing his best to prevent an Oxford pass with a diving block but the puck still found Dax Hedges on the back of the right circle who drilled a one-timer inside the near post whilst on the powerplay for 3-1.
In the final frame the Mos needed a bright start if they were to cut into the two goal deficit and they tested Ross Miller early – Elliot Farrel firing into the pads of the goalie from the left circle before a neat interchange between Tom Davis and Anthony Leone concluded with the player / coach shooting into the body of the shot stopper. Another chance went begging soon after as Brandon Webster picked out Conor Redmond close right but the Irishman lifted the puck over the bar from prime shooting territory.
The Dynamos finally broke through at 52.26 – Anthony Leone countering up the ice, skipping inside from the wing and firing into the top left corner from between the faceoff circles to pull the hosts within one. The Stars were quick to dash any comeback hopes however and were 4-2 in front at 56.57 – Joe Edwards tallying unassisted as he slipped inside from the right boards and roofed over the shoulder of Zachary Grandy-Smith at his near post. The tie was then all but over as a contest at 58.15 – Joshua Oliver claiming the last of the night as he skated down the left and dispatched the puck into the top far corner off of the underside of the bar to seal a 5-2 victory.
All that remained was for some last minute fighting – a coming together in the corner resulting in Brandon Webster and Jack Hayes throwing punches whilst Dale Buckland and Sam Shone exchanged fists centre ice at the same time. Webster edged the encounter with Hayes and managed to wrestle his opponent to the ground whilst Shone had a swing and a miss and was quickly put down by Buckland having lost his footing. All parties received 2+2 for roughing.
So it was another defeat for the Dynamos in a scrappy encounter where the Stars were farm more clinical in front of net. Oxford were good value for their two points by the final buzzer, the Mos competitive but wasteful in front of net. Man of the match honours went to Joe Edwards of the Stars and Elliot Farrell of the Mos.
Written by Paul Bennett.