A goal in a man of the match performance from Jacob Ranson, alongside braces from Steve Osman and Eriks Ozollapa and a strike from Callum Fowler, saw the Invicta Dynamos sink the Solent Devils 6-2 in the NIHL South Division 1 on Sunday.
Solent travelled to Gillingham with just one win in their last twelve outings so it was no surprise when they deployed bodies behind the puck seemingly focussing more on defence than attack. In the opening frame it was then almost one way traffic – Ondrej Zosiak forcing netminder Christian Cole to palm over following a shot from distance before Callum Fowler had an effort frantically cleared off the line. Jacob Ranson was next to test the goalie with a drive from the slot before Fowler again was at the forefront of the attack – this time firing off of the shoulder of Solent’s stopper. In response the Devils barely tested Damien King but the Mos’ number one still reacted quickly when called upon – robbing Mitchell Murray of the opener from the back post with a lightning glove late on.
After a goal free first, the second period followed a similar pattern with the Dynamos doing much of the attacking but unable to find a way beyond a determined Christian Cole. In the end it was one of his own that beat him – whilst the Devils were down a man with a minor for too many men, Steve Osman tried to find Eriks Ozollapa at the far post but instead the attempted diving interception of Ben Lock diverted the puck over the line at 26.58 to make it 1-0. Arran Strawson then struck the post before a penalty to Elliott Dewey provided the visitors with some much needed rest bite and a chance to attack. Their reward came at 33.53 – if the Devils had felt hard done by when they conceded by turning into their own net then karma had levelled the playing field and levelled the score soon after as Andrew Magee’s drive from out wide caught the skate of Ondrej Zosiak in front and eluded Damien King behind him. However, having waited over 26 minutes for their first goal, the Mos were in no mood to bide their time again and they were back in front come 35.16 – a neat Eriks Ozollapa flick sending Jacob Ranson clear down the right and Ranson ramming home with a slapshot over the shoulder of netminder Cole for a 2-1 edge.
In the final period Callum Fowler was a constant thorn in the side of the Devils and Stephen Gosset could only stop him by tripping him from behind at 44.51. It would cost his team a goal at 45.43 – Nicky Lewis finding Steve Osman just left of the target and the forward tucking inside the far post with a tame effort that Christian Cole, after a fantastic performance so far, probably should have denied. Cole’s evening would get worse at 51.40 as the Devils defence began to lose its stubborn streak – Arran Strawson’s pass sending Eriks Ozollapa speeding down the left flank with Alex Murray no match for his pace and a mere spectator as the Latvian then beat the netminder at the second attempt to make it 4-1. Frustration and fatigue then got the better of Solent’s alternate captain Gosset who saw his night end as he picked up a misconduct penalty for debating an offside call. However, even without him, the Devils still pulled one back – at 56.49 Mitchell Murray swept to the back post where Andrew Magee collected and roofed over a scrambling Damien King for his second of the night. Richard Brown then should have given the visitors real hope of a comeback when the Dynamos allowed him a free ticket in the slot but King was not to be beaten again and came to the rescue of his rear guard. This prompted a response from the hosts and they would add some gloss to the score line with a couple of late strikes that sealed a 6-2 victory. The first of the pair came at 59.16 – a great cross ice interchange between Eriks Ozollapa and Callum Fowler carving open Solent’s back line with Fowler left to finish from a yard out at the back post. The second followed swiftly at 59.37 – Jacob Ranson centring from the wing for Ozollapa right in front who swept over Christian Cole despite losing his footing to round off the perfect evening for the home side.
So it was a win for the Mos and in truth a comfortable one once they had got their noses in front with Solent set up to frustrate and then unable to offer enough in attack when forced to chase the game. Man of the match awards went to Alexander Cole of the visitors whilst a very energetic Jacob Ranson deservedly took the spoils for the home side with 1+1 from the night.
Written by Paul Bennett.