The Invicta Dynamos saw their NIHL Southern Cup defence halted by the Streatham Redskins on Sunday night as the London outfit secured a 5-3 victory in Gillingham to progress to the final with a 6-3 aggregate win.
The Mos returned to the SilverBlades just a goal behind following the first leg at the High Road but that deficit was obliterated as early as 03.24 – Callum Fowler speeding clear down the left channel and launching beyond Will Sanderson at his near post to make it 1-0. The forward then nearly doubled that edge – dancing around the outside of James Warman for a sight of goal but unable to squeeze through the legs of the netminder from point blank range. It was a positive start from the hosts but Streatham found their way into the tie midway through – a freak deflection off of the boards allowing Chris Wiggins to feed Adam Wood at the back stick but Damien King blocked his advances not once but twice. King’s net would come under increasing pressure throughout the period and his resistance was eventually overcome at 16.25 – Bailey Wootton in the box as Callum Best teed up Joe Allen close right and the forward thundered in with a one-timer for 1-1. As the tensions began to build so did the physicality – Chris Wiggins living up to his tag of pantomime villain with a check that left Arran Strawson down on the ice before Steve Fisher pushed out at Eriks Ozollapa well behind the play. The Mos were unable to take advantage on the powerplay though and returned to the changing room as they had begun – one goal behind on aggregate.
In the second period the Dynamos were sloppy and paid the price at 22.51 – Streatham taking a 2-1 lead on the night as Nicky Chinn connected with a loose puck on the edge of the crease and directed it home for his first of the evening. However any celebrations were cut short just six seconds later – Eriks Ozollapa splitting the defence straight from the faceoff and roofing over Will Sanderson into the top left corner for 2-2. Undeterred the Redskins pushed on and they should have retaken the lead but import Kamil Kinkor fired over the top when found in acres of space close left. His blushes were spared at 31.23 – a penalty to Arran Strawson allowing Kinkot to find room on the edge of the crease and the forward beat King at the second attempt to make it 3-2. Down the other end Adam McNicoll almost responded with a close range effort that Sanderson padded to safety before Streatham looked to have put the game to bed with a fourth at 36.59. A rare giveaway from Elliott Dewey allowed Nicky Chinn to charge into the offensive zone before bobbling a shot over the line off of the netminder for a 5-2 aggregate lead.
In the final frame the Dynamos now needed three without reply just to restore parity but they found the Redskins defence more than happy to sit back and pack the zone with the scoreboard firmly in their favour. The clock was now against the hosts and seven minutes without a stoppage at the beginning of the period saw the likelihood of a comeback seem ever more unlikely. To their credit they fought on – Callum Fowler denied from close range whilst Will Sanderson expertly held an Arran Strawson blue line drive. Eventually they would tally at 56.34 – the visitors without both Kamil Kinkor and Ryan Giles who were seated in the box watching as Strawson fed Steve Osman in the left circle and he thundered over Sanderson to cut the deficit to 4-3 – 5-3 overall. Still in need of two, the Dynamos had no choice but to pull netminder Damien King in the closing moments but at 59.39 the inevitable came – Nicky Chinn scoring perhaps the calmest ever empty net goal as he skated the length of the left wing and swept in on the backhand to seal a Streatham win.
So it was a 5-3 success on the night for the South London side and a 6-3 victory on aggregate that means the Redskins will now take on Chelmsford for the right to lift the NIHL Southern Cup. What started as a promising night for the Mos ended in disappointment as the Redskins secured the upset with physical hockey and a clinical touch in front of net. Man of the match honours went to Joe Allen of the visitors whilst captain Nicky Lewis took the spoils for the hosts.
Written by Paul Bennett.