It took a goal 39 seconds from time for the London Raiders to overcome the 13 man Invicta Dynamos on Sunday who put in a heroic display to battle back from 3-0 down to tie the game 3-3 before losing out in the dying moments.
The Mos travelled light having released Ed Piacka during the week and were also missing Arran Strawson, Owen Dell and Joe Allen which resulted in the Kent side icing only 11 skaters. Starting in the nets for the Mos was Adam Long whilst at the opposite end Michael Gray took guard of the Raiders’ goal.
The home side applied heavy pressure from the start of the game which kept Adam Long busy. As early as the first minute a sizzling pass across his goalmouth was almost angled beyond him by Matt Turner and a minute later Long had to save with his leg pads after losing his stick in a build-up to a Raiders attack. A loose pass by Ryan Giles seconds later presented Aaron Connolly with a chance which the goalie was equal to as he continued to keep the Raiders at bay.
The calmness of Ondrej Zosiak bringing the puck out of defence played Anthony Leone into attack mode which resulted in Dan Scott hooking the Mos captain and earning them the first powerplay of the game. The Dynamos didn’t really show much during their extra man advantage and had Long to thank when Sedivy broke on the shorthand with the shot stopper again standing firm.
Long was finally beaten on 08:19 – Ashley Jackson and Juraj Huska presenting the puck to Matt Turner in front of the target who roofed it into the net for 1-0. The game was paused in the 12th minute after linesman Phil O’Neill took a nasty accidental hit to the head after being on the wrong side of a hit from Zosiak on Pitchley. O’Neill sat out the remainder of the first period and despite briefly returning in the second period he couldn’t see out the game. Long again kept out efforts from Aaron Connolly and later Tom Huggett with the first period ending 1-0 to the Raiders.
The second frame had the Mos register only their second shot on goal on 20:59 when Matt Foord fired from the right flank which Gray had covered. Ryan Giles was penalised for slashing in the 24th minute which gave the Raiders their fist powerplay of the night. The Dynamos could only see out a minute of the penalty with the Raiders striking through Aaron Connolly on 25:04, assisted by Jackson and Pitchley. Tempers flared just before the 26 minute mark with Brandon Miles and John Connolly willing to drop the gloves but referee Will Hewitt did well to break the pair up. The Mos were building-up their momentum and chances fell to Jake Stedman and Anthony Leone but that crucial first goal didn’t appear. With 29:49 on the clock the Raiders made it 3-0 through Filip Sedivy, assisted by Sean Barry. The Mos weren’t giving up though with Foord, Colvin and Miles getting attempts on Gray. A key penalty fell the way of the Dynamos on 38:24 when Harrison Lillis (playing as a forward) broke past John Connolly who could only stop him by hauling him down resulting in him being sent to the penalty box on an interference call. On 39:08 the visitors clawed a goal back for 3-1 with Best and Zosiak moving the puck around to find Leone who stroked a delightful shot into the Raiders’ net.
The final period started with great defending by Andy Munroe who, despite being grounded, managed to hook the puck away from danger when the Raiders looked certain to add a further goal. It was Munroe again who would have a big influence a few minutes later when he carried the play into attack and shot beyond Gray for 3-2 on 43:06 assisted by Callum Best. The Raiders were rocked and the Mos had chances through Foord and Best before they finally got an equaliser to mark a remarkable comeback – Foord playing the puck wide to Colvin who quickly released Leone to dispatch the puck past Gray for 3-3 on 48:20. A timeout from the Raiders refocused the hosts and Long did well to deny Pitchley when the game restarted. The Mos were presented with a couple of powerplays with 8 minutes of the game remaining but despite applying heavy pressure they couldn’t grab the lead. The hearts of the Dynamos players and fans were then broken on 59:21 when JJ Pitchley shot from the left post which seemingly hit Longs’ skate and bounced into the net for 4-3 in favour of the Raiders. The Mos pulled Long for the remainder of the game in the hope an extra skater would help grab another equaliser but they ran out of time and ended-up empty handed.
Referee: Will Hewitt Linesmen: Phil O’Neill, Mariusz Kowal
Raiders: M. Turner 1+0, D. Scott 0+1, J. Pitchley 1+0, C. Wells 0+1, S. Barry 0+1, A. Connolly 1+0, A. Jackson 0+2, J. Huska 0+2, F. Sedivy 1+0
Dynamos: O. Zosiak 0+1, C. Best 0+2, M. Foord 0+1, A. Munroe 1+0, A. Leone 2+0, L. Colvin 0+1
M. Gray save percentage – 81.25% (16 shots/3 goals)
A. Long save percentage – 93.22% (59 shots/4 goals)
Raiders – 14
Dynamos – 8
Man of the match
Raiders – A. Jackson
Dynamos – A. Leone
Written by Lee Allen.