It took a man of the match performance from Solent netminder Christian Cole to prevent the Dynamos continuing their 100% start to the season with the shot stopper saving 52 efforts on his net to rob the hosts of what would have been a deserved victory.
The Mos were short on numbers with Tom Davis, Tomas Banovsky, Ben Clements and Billy Woods all not icing whilst the Devils, missing a few themselves, still outnumbered their opponents.
In the opening frame the visitors made the perfect start – just 18 seconds in the puck fell nicely to Ralfs Circenis on the inside edge of the right circle and he slammed low in off the far post for the early lead. That advantage was doubled at 01.39 – Mason Webster sat in the box as Circenis found Elliot Lewis from the left wing and Lewis roofed over netminder Owen Rider from the same position his teammate had tallied just moments before.
In danger of falling out of sight already, the Mos hit back instantly – the clock stopped at 02.14 when Mason Webster rounded the back of the net then fed Matt Foord point blank right and he tucked beyond Christian Cole to cut the deficit to 2-1. For the remainder of the period the hosts then dominated the tie peppering the Solent net but Cole stood firm to allow the Devils to return to the changing room with a slightly fortuitous lead.
In the second frame the Dynamos picked up where they left off and were finally rewarded at 26.28. Daniel Lackey sat a hooking minor allowing Juraj Huska to find plenty of space in the high slot and lash high through traffic and over the shoulder of Christian Cole for 2-2. At 28.44 the hosts then led – Huska again the man on target as he skated across the slot and then tucked inside the near post beyond the unsighted netminder from the right circle.
Solent tried to hit back but Owen Rider stood up well to the efforts of Elliot Lews and Daniel Lackey both of whom he denied from close range. At the close of the frame tempers then briefly flared as Jack Flynn nudged out at Ralfs Circenis prompting a roughing match with Alex Murray. Flynn took minors for slashing and roughing whilst Murray sat one for just roughing giving the Devils a powerplay heading into the last.
That extra man in the final frame immediately proved the difference as Solent levelled the tie at 41.26 – a blue line shot from Ben Lock took a diversion off the stick of Juraj Huska who was closing him down and flew beyond Owen Rider who had been left with no chance. One goal was quickly followed by another – a neat reverse pass from Oscar Evans set Elliot Lewis free and he stick handled around the attempted intervention of Rider before tucking home for the 4-3 lead.
Having fallen behind the Mos pushed hard for another goal but Christian Cole was in stubborn form – robbing Matt Foord, then Juraj Huska, then Ashley Jackson and then Brandon Webster. Despite largely being pinned back the Devils were still dangerous with their pace on the counter and a great read was required from Owen Rider to thwart Ralfs Circenis as he escaped on the breakaway.
In the final minutes Joshua Condren was also thwarted from close right, Anthony Leone poked wide on the stretch having escaped in behind the defence and Cole then froze the play during a frantic scramble in his crease. The leveller looked like it may come in the very last second as the puck dropped towards Mason Webster right in front on the buzzer but the play jumped his stick and the clock ran out to give the visitors the win.
It was a frantic and entertaining game of hockey and the Mos, though disappointed to drop points, should be delighted with their work rate and presence in the game despite the number of bodies missing. For Solent – they were perhaps fortunate to escape with both points.
Written by Paul Bennett.