Mason Webster’s goal and a battling display from the Invicta Dynamos were not enough to save the side from defeat on Sunday evening as they lost out 5-1 at the hands of NIHL South Division 1 league leaders the Peterborough Phantoms.
Up against arguably the favourites to take the title, and without import forward Adam Rehak, it was a sizeable task for the Mos to take anything from their encounter with the Phantoms but the hosts started well and outshot their opponents in the opening frame. As the visitors fell afoul of the referee’s whistle, Tommy Ralph’s blue line shot was saved by Adam Long before Mason Webster steered the rebound wide of the post. The Mos then hit the upright in a goalmouth scramble before Arran Strawson was also denied from distance and Callum Fowler fired off the netminder’s shoulder from close left.
The Dynamos were looking dangerous with the man advantage but it was when one of their own was sent to the box that that the visitors got a foothold in the game and tallied the first of the night. With Justin Robinson serving two for cross checking, Will Weldon had space to the right of the target to tee up Ales Padelek right in front and the Czech’s one-timer was too fast for Damien King at 14.46.
Down the other end Callum Fowler’s cross ice pass found Ashley Jackson clear close right but he fired straight down the gut of Adam Long before Damien King had to be alert to thwart both Nathan Salem and Ales Padelek in the dying moments.
Having been on the back foot for much of the opening frame but still come out a goal to the good, Peterborough upped a gear in the second and began to dominate the tie. At 22.16 they were 2-0 up – Leigh Jamieson’s blue line wrist shot posing little threat until Glenn Billing redirected right in front to leave Damien King with no time to react. Callum Fowler then attempted a similar tip from the edge of the crease on a Ryan Morgan drive at the other end of the ice but Adam Long reacted quickly to preserve his team’s cushion.
An interference minor on Nathan Pollard gave the Mos a powerplay and, having posed the Phantoms problems with the man advantage they saw this as their chance to hit back, but it quickly became their downfall as they overcommitted and conceded a shorthanded third. Scott Robson’s alert eye spotted Owen Griffiths in behind and a perfect pass set the forward on a breakaway with Griffiths lashing beyond King at 32.41 for 3-0.
A frantic few minutes followed as Ondrej Zosiak went coast-to-coast and fired low to the far post from wide right however Adam Long padded to safety with an outstretched leg before Darius Pliskauskas escaped on a breakaway but Damien King was alert to his quick stick handling and kept the Lithuanian at bay. At 34.18 the visitors then registered again – Harrison Lillis losing out to Griffiths in a battle for the puck on the edge of the crease with the Phantom’s forward sweeping in low from point blank range to make it 4-0.
In the final period Peterborough again began brightly – Darius Pliskauskas sending an inviting pass to the back stick but Owen Griffiths spurning a hat-trick completing opportunity by turning wide before Edward Knaggs worked room in the slot by skipping inside Ryan Morgan but then fired over the target. Tiredness and frustrating threatened to get the better of the hosts and Tommy Ralph picked up a ten minute misconduct from referee Blaine Evans when reacting to a late offside call at 46.14.
Despite the setback the Dynamos claimed the goal their hard work deserved at 48.43 – Owen Griffiths in the box as Ashley Jackson’s pass to the back post found Callum Fowler who resisted the urge to shoot and put the puck on a plate for Mason Webster left of the target to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Having been pinned back the Phantoms pushed forward again and Conor Pollard unsuccessfully attempted to beat Damien King with a wraparound before dangerous duo Nathan Salem and Ales Padelek escaped 2-on-1 but King threw himself in front of Salem’s shot following the import’s pass. The pressure would eventually tell at 58.59 – Salem finding Padelek in the right circle and the Czech skipping by a tired Mos defence for a sight of the target and lashing into the twine to seal a 5-1 victory.
So it was a loss for the Dynamos but against a former EPL big hitter and without an import forward the hosts had no shame in defeat especially after an excellent first period display.
Ultimately the Phantoms had an extra level and extra depth on their side and were worthy winners once the buzzer sounded after the 60 minutes. Man of the match honours went to Scott Robson of Peterborough and Ondrej Zosiak of the Mos – the Slovak easily clocking up far more minutes on the ice than off of it.
Written by Paul Bennett.