The Invicta Dynamos and Wightlink Raiders could not be separated on Sunday night as two Callum Fowler strikes and further efforts from Jacob Ranson and Eriks Ozollapa secured the Mos a point in 4-4 draw with the Isle of Wight outfit.
After securing all the spoils on the road against the London Raiders the night before, the Dynamos returned home to face a side accustomed to travel with Wightlink unable to play on their own patch since mid-November. Both sides were full strength or close to it and an even first frame was the result as the teams tussled for superiority in a feisty opening twenty minutes. The Mos came closest to the breaking the deadlock seven minutes in – Matt Colclough saving Conor Redmond’s drive and Nicky Lewis somehow turning onto the post from less than a yard away – the home fans already celebrating as the goal music sounded prematurely. However the opener would follow at 09.19 – Callum Fowler picking up his own rebound after a failed attempt from the right, circling behind the net and teeing up Eriks Ozollapa right in front who swept in off the pads of Matt Colclough for 1-0. That edge only lasted until 12.00 – Ben Paynter playing the puck out of the corner to Alex Sampford in the left circle and he roofed home at the near post beyond Damien King to make it all square. At 17.56 the visitors then took the lead – Craig Tribe’s diagonal finding Corey Watkins in the slot who flicked on for player/coach Jeremy Cornish to turn in from close left for 2-1. That meant the Raiders had shaved it in the opening frame and returned to the changing rooms with their noses just in front.
If the opening period was fiercely contested, the second would see the line crossed as Wightlink’s Damon Larter saw the red mist descend. Callum Fowler unsuccessfully tried to deke the Raiders’ blue liner but was held up by Larter who opted to lash out and begin landing blows from behind. Never one to watch a teammate take the punches, Arran Strawson rugby tackled his opponent to the ice whilst Steve Osman exchanged shoves with Robert Streetly and Eriks Ozollapa tangled briefly with Ben Paynter. The result was a match penalty for Larter whilst Strawson was also ejected for third man in at 27.01. When the game restarted Fowler was again at the forefront of the action as he steamed through on the breakaway but Chris Cooke’s hook stopped him finding the net – Matt Colclough saving high. Tempers then flared again later in the frame – Streetly reacting to a trip from Harrison Lillis by chasing his opponent down and landing punches. Lillis did his best to return to his feet and return the blows and was eventually sent to the box with a tripping minor – Streetly picking up 2+2+2 for roughing. On the resulting powerplay the Mos continuously knocked on the door but were unable to find a way beyond Colclough – Ondrej Zosiak coming closest with a number of stinging slapshots from the blue line.
Having been stifled and agitated by the Raiders all night the Mos needed to focus purely on the hockey in the last to overcome their 2-1 deficit and they made the perfect start by lighting the lamp inside 42 seconds. In the tightest of circumstances Eriks Ozollapa and Callum Fowler shared a neat one-two before Fowler turned in at the back post for 2-2 at 40.42. It was then a double celebration at 41.32 – Wightlink’s Jordan Gregory guilty of a costly giveaway as his pass put Jacob Ranson in on goal and Ranson swept low beyond Matt Colcolough to the far corner to make it 3-2. However, despite momentum being against them, the resilient Raiders were not to be swept aside and after seeing an effort wiped midway through the frame, they pulled level come 50.49. Brendan Baird’s shot from the right deflected off of Jaroslav Cesky in front and fell perfectly for Craig Tribe to swat beyond a now helplessly positioned Damien King for 3-3. Both teams were now chasing the game winner and the intensity remained high – a check from Gregory typifying the battle as it sent Steve Osman somersaulting to the ice. At 53.48 the Mos probably thought they had won it – solid skating from Joshua Condren taking the puck into the final third before a drop pass allowed Callum Fowler to rifle in from close right for the 4-3 edge. To their dismay though, the hosts were unable to see it out – 55.03 the moment when Alex Sampford turned out from behind the goal and found the narrowest of gaps between Damien King and his near post to level it once more. Time was now against both sides and the Mos were angered when referee Solovjovs turned a blind eye to a hook on Jacob Ranson and a trip on Nicky Lewis only to penalise Lewis for high sticks. The man advantage was quickly cancelled out – Sampford sent to the box for goaltender interference a mere five seconds later. With the buzzer now looming the home side then could have stolen it – Callum Fowler picking up a rebound on the right post but firing wide of the target with Matt Colclough grounded.
So it was 4-4 come the siren sounded to bring a frantic encounter to a close. The Mos will feel that they should have held out for a victory but a draw was probably a just result given the effort from both sides. Man of the match awards went to the excellent Matt Colclough of Wightlink whilst an ever improving Harrison Lillis rightly took the spoils for the Dynamos after a mature display.
Written by Paul Bennett.