A depleted Invicta Dynamos team were defeated on the road for the second game running as a man of the match performance from netminder Tom Annetts condemned the Mos to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Oxford City Stars in a tense NIHL South Division 1 fixture.
With Damien King, James Richardson, Taylor Wootton, Nicky Lewis, Mason Webster and Adam McNicoll missing the day before, the absentee list lengthened yet further on Sunday with the additions of Callum Fowler, Adam Rehak and Haydn Wootton leaving the Dynamos with only 12 skaters. John Dibble continued in net for the Mos after being announced as a permanent feature to the squad hours before the face-off.
The opening period saw Harrison Lillis start as a forward on the top line and he registered the first shot of the game which Tom Annetts saved. The next line change featured Arran Strawson who also had a change of role – stepping up to an advanced position with Jarvis Mewett replenishing the vacant D man spot on the line. A one-two between Ashley Jackson and Steve Osman almost created an opening for the Dynamos whilst a quick change of play had Josh Oliver firing wide of Dibble’s frame in the 7th minute. Annetts went on to save from Lillis and Ralph before a Jason Ikin minor penalty on 11.43 gave the Mos their first powerplay of the game. Within 19 seconds of the one-man advantage the Dynamos lost possession to Jaroslav Cesky who played the puck for Alan Green to open the scoring shothanded on 12.02. With the Mos trying to construct a quick reply they fell further behind on 14.34 – Ben Nethersell weaving and dancing between challenges to go alone and beat Dibble for a 2-0 lead at the end of the frame.
The second period had Steve Osman and Alan Green slashing each other within 29 seconds of the restart putting both teams 4-on-4. After the penalties were killed Bailey Wootton had a great chance to register the visitors’ opening goal when he broke clean through, only for Annetts to make himself big and save. The Stars were now starting to put pressure on the away side – Dibble being called into action to deny Green a second of the evening and then Jordan firing wide after a clever back flick by Cesky opened up the Mos defence. A tripping penalty against Elliott Dewey on 27.56 gave the Stars a one man advantage and it only took 16 seconds for Cesky to make it 3-0 – Alan Green and Dominic Hopkins claiming the assists.
The hardworking Ashley Jackson carved out an early third period chance for Harrison Lillis who in turn found Tommy Ralph on the blue line but the incoming slapshot was seen by Annetts who had one eye on the shutout by now. John Dibble ensured the Dynamos still had a glimmer of hope by keeping out Josh Florey and Jason Ikin, whilst Annetts kept up his good form to deny Anthony Baskerville, Joshua Condren and Jackson. The gloves came off on 47.54 – Baird taking a disliking to Lillis with the Mos defenceman edging the fight and Baird ending up lost in his own jersey. Save of the game then came in the 52nd minute – Jackson racing through the middle and a clever backhand flick looked a certain goal but was brilliantly kept out by Annetts. A timeout call by Kevin Parrish helped refocus the Kent side – Tommy Ralph going coast-to-coast when the game resumed but he was once again denied by the netminder. The final goal of the game came the way of Oxford for 4-0 on 55.33 – Dom Hopkins unleashing a powerful shot past Dibble with assists to the names of Cesky and Green.
Man of the match awards went to both netminders. John Dibble facing 22 shots for a 81.82% save percentage and Tom Annetts being unbeaten despite facing 37 attempts at his goal.
Written by Lee Allen.