It was a night of huge frustration for the Invicta Dynamos on Sunday as 97 minutes of penalties against the hosts allowed visiting Streatham to claim a 3-1 road win at the Silver Blades, Gillingham.
The Mos took to the ice minus the injured Haydn Wootton, Joshua Condren and Damien King whilst captain Callum Fowler was suspended and Ashley Jackson was plying his professional trade in India. Streatham were without Vaclav Drabek and Callum Best. John Dibble and Matt Colclough were the starting netminders.
There is rarely any love lost when Invicta and Streatham cross paths but Sunday was to take the rivalry to a new level with the first period a penalty strewn fight fest. At 08.51 Mason Webster sent Liam Rasmussen into the boards but referee Richard Belfitt kept his arms by his side until Ryan Giles charged the Mos man from behind and cross checked him to the floor in response. A near line brawl followed – Webster and Steve Fisher pairing off and Webster flooring the Streatham forward with two punches before Giles goaded Elliott Dewey into a bout that saw both fighters land blows before the Redhawk secured the takedown. Bizarrely the penalties did not fit the crimes – Webster given 2+10 for checking from behind despite the referee’s hand staying down after the hit whilst Fisher received the same punishment even though Giles was the guilty party. All four combatants also took 2+2 for fighting. At 12.51 a repeat followed – Jack Tarczycki planting Nicky Lewis face first into the boards from behind resulting in Adam Rehak seeking retribution. Rehak landed punches whilst Harrison Lillis also weighed into the melee, that now included George Norcliffe, seeing him chucked from the tie with a game misconduct for third man in and a match penalty for fighting. Norcliffe and Rehak sat 2+2 whilst Tarczycki was perhaps fortunate to escape with just 2 for boarding. When play finally restarted some hockey followed – Alex Sampford twice denied by John Dibble from close range and Adam Wood unable to beat the goalie with a rebound attempt right in front. Down the other end Nicky Lewis rattled the frame for the visitors but, nearly an hour after it started, the opening period ended with no goals but plenty of talking points.
In the second period Liam Rasmussen was called for interference and the Dynamos capitalised at 23.11 – Arran Strawson retrieving a wayward shot behind the net and rifling high into the top far corner over Matt Colclough from the left circle for his 200th point in Mos colours. Colcough would be the busier goalie in the middle frame – Adam Rehak firing into the netminder’s shoulder from wide right before the import escaped on the breakaway but sent the puck onto the underside of the bar and down onto, but not over, the line. Rehak then handed Mason Webster a chance right in front but the forward was unable to control and then failed to beat the netminder on the backhand. The Dynamos were dominating the chances so it was against the run of play when Streatham tied it up at 32.42 – Alex Sampford claiming the puck behind the goal line and instinctively whipping it around the near post to tally on the wraparound for 1-1. The strike gave the Redhawks confidence and they perhaps should have led when Daniel Rose and Sean Scarbrough escaped 2-on-1 but Rose refused the pass to the American and Dibble blocked his effort from wide right. Scarbrough then attempted a wraparound of his own before the buzzer but this time Dibble swiftly closed the gap between pad and post to make the save.
In the final period Bailey Wootton was robbed by Matt Colclough as he followed up a Tommy Ralph drive whilst Adam Rehak also saw his rebound attempt stopped by the determined netminder. Down the other end Ryan Webb tried to find the far post from close right but John Dibble was equally defiant between the uprights and the score remained 1-1. That was until another controversial penalty at 53.08 – Streatham’s Chris Cooke slipped and fell into the boards under pressure from Rehak and referee Richard Bellfit was quick to call 2+10 for checking from behind ruling the Czech out of the rest of the tie. At 53.12 the visitors made the most of the powerplay – Adam Wood finding Sean Scarbrough point blank left and the import forward leaving Dibble no time to react with a quick finish that made it 2-1. A holding penalty against Arran Strawson was then further compounded at 55.10 when the Mos bench received a minor for abuse of the official as frustrations reached fever pitch. Streatham failed to make the two man edge count though – Dibble keeping them at bay as he threw himself across his goal line to deny Webb a back post tap in. With time now all but gone the Dynamos then played the lottery of pulling Dibble for the extra forward and despite heavy pressure on the Redhawks’ net it was the visitors that tallied – George Norcliffe picking out the unguarded target from the halfway line for 3-1. To compound the misery for the home side Ondrej Zosiak’s stick was broken by a slash from Alex Sampford before the strike but nothing was given except a misconduct to the Slovak for complaining.
So it was disappointment, frustration and a weekend to forget for the Dynamos who will now go into the next fixture with a flurry of suspensions. With some justification the Mos felt hard done by the match officials having been on the wrong end of 97 minutes of penalties but it mattered little to Streatham who claimed two points to heat up the race for second. Man of the match awards went to Matt Colclough of the visitors who let in just one of 50 shots whilst 200 point man Arran Strawson took the spoils for the Mos.
Written by Paul Bennett.