A shutout from Damien King and goals from Conor Redmond (2), Nicky Lewis and Jacob Ranson saw the Invicta Dynamos finish off their league campaign with a 4-0 win over the Streatham Redskins that cemented second place.
Both sides were minus bodies – the hosts short of suspended import Eriks Ozollapa, juniors Taylor and Haydn Wootton and veteran Grant Baxter whilst Streatham made do without Adam Mahoney, James Warman, Steve Fisher and Chris Wiggins.
Having lost out to the South London side in the NIHL Southern Cup Semi-final, the Mos had a point to prove and they lit the lamp in less than two minutes – Jacob Ranson finding Conor Redmond in front and the Irishman tucking beyond the legs of David Wride for 1-0 at 01.58. Kamil Kinkor attempted to answer swiftly as was picked out on the back stick but netminder Damien King reacted quickly to get a pad in the way of his effort. The Dynamos then had two powerplay opportunities to extend their lead but, having found a second goal elusive whilst enjoying the man advantage, it was when the numbers had evened up that they tallied again. At 14.22 Conor Redmond’s lofted clearance set Nicky Lewis speeding down the right wing and captain lashed over David Wride, off of the crossbar and then the post and over the line for two. Just seconds later, at 14.43 it was 3-0 – Jacob Ranson notching a fantastic third – seizing a loose puck in the left circle and lifting over the netminder and into the top far corner on the backhand for the last of the frame. Streatham could have and probably should have answered before the buzzer – Kinkor teeing up Callum Best at the back post but the Streatham forward misfiring under pressure from the Mos D.
In the second period the hosts nearly found a fourth – Callum Fowler firing to the front of net where Steve Osman flicked through his own legs and almost caught out goalie David Wride behind him. Down the other end Kamil Kinkor remained Streatham’s biggest threat – Damien King’s right leg at full stretch to pad away his effort from the slot. In a swift counter the play was then quickly cleared to Osman who raced through on the breakaway but Osman tried to beat Wride with some quick stick work and the shot stopper only had eyes for the puck. The Mos perhaps edged the chances in the period but neither team could score in the second – Adam McNicoll and Steve Osman escaping 2-on-1 but Osman steering the Scotsman’s early pass into the pads of the netminder to leave the score at 3-0 heading into the last.
After a goal free middle frame the home side wasted little time in putting the clash to bed in the third – Harrison Lillis firing at the target from the blue line and Conor Redmond diverting the puck through the stance of David Wride from right in front for 4-0 at 42.49. With the Mos well ahead on the scoreboard it now was a case of preserving the shutout – Streatham coming close as Joe Johnston, Liam Rasmussen and Callum Best countered for a 3-on-1 but Johnston chose to shoot when a pass would have posed far more problems. With time against them and keen to avoid the duck the Redskins stepped up the intensity but Damien King was in no mood to concede – the goalie robbing Joe Allen of a one-timer back post finish with a fine save typical of his performance. Late on Adam Wood then had the last opportunity – the forward firing wide of the far upright having found a moment of time and space to see the tie finish 4-0 in favour of the Dynamos.
So it was a win for the Mos and a confidence boost ahead of the players – the hosts just the more clinical in front of net and stubborn in defence. Adam McNicoll deputised on the first line in the absence of Eriks Ozollapa whilst Streatham lacked an edge minus the intimidation factor of Chris Wiggins. Man of the match awards went to Conor Redmond of the Dynamos and David Savage of Streatham though mentions too should go to Jacob Ranson for his impersonation of a Duracell Bunny and Damien King for a third shutout – his first at the SilverBlades Gillingham.
Written by Paul Bennett.