The Invicta Dynamos came away with a 4-4 cup draw from Lee Valley on Saturday night despite braces from Ericks Ozollapa and Nicky Lewis putting them 4-2 to the good early in the third period against the London Raiders.
Following the departure of Mark McGill, Steve Nightingale took the responsibility of minding net for the Mos in this NIHL Southern Cup clash – his first start of the 2015/16 season. Adam McNicoll and Grant Baxter were also missing, allowing junior Haydn Wootton the opportunity to make his first appearance for Invicta under a two-way deal with Guilford. The first period started with early opportunities falling to both Eriks Ozollapa and Bailey Wootton but neither could take advantage to seal the opener. Ondrej Zosiak then skated coast to coast just before the end of the frame but was denied by Raiders netminder Michael Gray as both teams finished the period without scoring.
The second period finally produced goals. Raiders D-man David Oliver had committed a slashing penalty to give Invicta a powerplay and they took full advantage at 24.05 – captain Nicky Lewis notching with Eriks Ozollapa and Jacob Ranson providing the assists. Moments later, on 24.45, Steve Nightingale then produced the save of the game, denying Sam Roberts who looked certain to put the Raiders back level from close range. However at 26.03 he was left hung out to dry when ex-Dynamo Michal Oravec skated through two Invicta defenders on the blue line before beating Nightingale one to one to put the score at 1-1. Oravec then turned from goal scorer to goal provider on 32.27 – finding the unmarked TJ Fillery who fired Raiders ahead – the netminder again left with no chance to prevent the strike. However penalties on London duo David Oliver and Robert Veares left the Dynamos with a 5 on 3 advantage come 33.49 and they produced an equalising goal from Eriks Ozollapa, assisted by Arran Strawson and Nicky Lewis. Soon after Invicta were then penalised at 35.33 for having too many men on the ice but, despite being a man short, they mainatined their momentum and scored a shorthanded goal – Ozollapa netting again after being played through by Strawson. With the clock winding down the second period then ended abruptly, and four seconds early, following an injury to Invicta forward Joshua Condren who ended-up being stretchered away from the ice and playing no further part in the game after a hit.
In the final frame Nicky Lewis put the Dynamos into a 4-2 lead at 42.17 – stroking the puck past Michael Gray with the assist coming from Andy Henderson. However, on 49.59 Michal Oravec found Rio Grinell-Parke who dinked past Strawson on the left and fired beyond Steve Nightingale to cut the deficit to just 4-3 with ten minutes still remaining. The leveller would inevitably follow – Oravec having a hand in a fourth goal, this time on 55.09, as he converted past Nightingale following build-up play from David Oliver and Tom Davis. Despite the setback Invicta then had a great chance to win the game on 56.09 – Eriks Ozollapa hacked down when straight through on goal and awarded a penalty shot but he missed with his effort sending the puck flying past Gray’s post to leave the teams level.
So the game ended 4-4 – a draw that ensured the Mos would stay above the Raiders in their cup group to secure a second place finish in the group. Nicky Lewis took the man of the match beers for Invicta whilst Robert Veares secured the spoils for London Raiders. Netminder Steve Nightingale faced 38 shots and finished with an 89.47% save percentage.
Written by Lee Allen