The Invicta Dynamos lost a 2-1 lead to fall to defeat at the hands of the Oxford City Stars in the NIHL South Division 1 on Sunday.
The Mos made the trip up the M40 without the suspended Juraj Huska and they were also missing Kieron Jones and Mark Williams.
The hosts took an early lead on 03:26 through Michael Whillock who fired in from a central position after being set-up by Joe Edwards. The Mos were an even match for their opponents and that showed firstly when Harrison Lillis tried a slapshot from the blue line with netminder Miller pushing the puck out. Then, new import Tomas Banovský showed great speed to dummy his marker before unleashing a shot which was saved. The end-to-end action continued with Edwards hitting the Mos post whilst at the other end Owen Dell passed the puck back to Banovský but his attempt got a deflection and sailed wide. The Mos were dealt a blow on 14:18 when Henry Aiken was penalised for boarding and had to sit a 2 + 10 minute charge for boarding. On the subsequent powerplay a brilliant double save by Grandy-Smith denied Edwards once more. The Mos however got the scoreline level near the end of the first period – Arran Strawson slapping a shot from distance which was touched by Leone and into the new for 1-1.
At the beginning of the 2nd period early pressure from the Mos puit the Stars on the backfoot. Tomas Banovský found space and squared the puck to Strawson who fired wide. The import then passed to Leone who’s attempt was smothered by Miller. The Mos finally got reward on 23:08 – Brandon Webster assisting Jake Stedman who slotted past Miller for a 2-1 lead. As the teams skated for towards the centre for the face-off both Brandon Webster and Darren Elliott had heated words and were both sent to the penalty box – Webster 2 minutes for roughing and Elliott 2+2 minutes for unsporting conduct which put the Mos on the powerplay. Huge pressure on the Oxford net during the 2 minutes didn’t come with any reward despite efforts from Lillis and Davis. When Oxford returned to full strength they immediately called Grandy-Smith into action.
The Mos could have doubled their lead when Stedman paced down the right flank and cut the puck across the goal with Webster only an inch from getting the vital tip. The hosts had a goal washed-out in the 32nd minute on a powerplay after Dale Buckland was sent to the box on a tripping charge – but they final got level on 34:58. Arran Strawson lost possession of the puck playing out of defence with Lawday and Shone setting-up Hedges who fired past Grandy-Smith on 34:58 for 2-2. Grandy-Smith then made a save which started a Mos break and Dell brought a save out of Miller. Oxford then took the lead before the close of the period – Strawson penalised for cross checking to put the Stars on the powerplay which they scored through on 38:36 with debutant Nidal Phillips firing a slapshot fom a long way out for 3-2.
The final period had the Mos on an early powerplay but despite a Tom Davis effort being padded away the Stars killed the penalty. The Mos were then under huge pressure with Morgan (tripping) and Leone (hooking) both in the penalty box and the Kent side defending a 5 on 3 situation. Away netminder Grandy-Smith was kept very busy and the Mos managed to return to 4 skaters and break through Banovský on the shorthand but he could only hit the side netting once he got into a shooting position. Luck wasn’t on the Mos side on 49:15 – with seconds remaining before returning to full strength Stars’ forward Whillock hit the puck across goal which hit the skate of Ryan Giles and flew into the net for 4-2, probably the most unlucky goal the Mos will concede all season.
The Mos were given an opportunity to claw a goal back when Phillips was penalised for a late hit on 49:32 but they couldn’t take any advantage from the powerplay. Once the hosts returned the full strength they were then given a powerplay when Stedman was reprimanded for interference – and the Stars took full advantage and scored on 56:21 through Matthew Lawday to end the scoring on 5-2. The Mos will be disappointed that mistakes cost them a game that they could have got something from.
Oxford Points: S. Shone 0+1, M. Lawday 1+2, A. Andrews 0+1, N. Phillips 1+0, J. Edwards 0+2, D. Hedges 1+1, M. Whillock 2+0
Invicta Points: B. Webster 0+1, J. Stedman 1+0, A. Leone 1+0, D. Buckland 0+1, A. Strawson 0+1
Oxford: R. Miller – 92.00% (25 shots /2 goals)
Invicta: Z. Grandy-Smith – 85.71% (35 shots /5 goals)
Man of the Match:
Oxford: Nidal Phillips
Invicta: Jake Stedman
Written by Lee Allen