The Invicta Dynamos completed a three point road weekend with a hard fought 4-4 draw against the Wightlink Raiders in Solent on Sunday night despite being 3-1 down going into the final period.
With the game being staged at Gosport with Wightlink’s rink still shut for roof repairs, faceoff was delayed until a late 7.15pm after the previous fixture overran. With it already looking like a late night the Mos were minue a few for the battle – the visitors without the services of key forwards Callum Fowler and Nicky Lewis whilst Steve Nightingale, Grant Baxter and the two Wootton twins were also unable to play.
When play got underway Jacob Ranson had the earliest opportunity on the small Gosport ice pad – the forward firing wide after good build-up play by teammate Eriks Ozollapa. That early chance sprung Wightlink into attack – the ‘hosts’ at one stage escaping 3-on-1 with only Arran Strawson to beat but the experienced D-man read the situation to win possession back. A few minutes later, Ryan Webb then tested netminder Damien King but was unable to beat the Dynamo man standing tall between the posts. The breakthrough eventually came at 09.58 – Arran Strawson opening the scoring for Invicta as the ex-Wightlink player, who lost his place in the last week’s encounter with the Raiders for third man in, converted a Steve Osman pass on a powerplay after Ben Paynter was sent to the penalty box for the home side. Jacob Ranson secured his first point of the night by collecting the second assist. However, just when it looked like the Mos would hold the lead to the end of the period, a penalty on Joshua Condren for interference was punished by Nick Compton who smashed the equalising goal beyond Damien King at 17.47 to make it 1-1.
Within two minutes of the restart in the second frame, Wightlink took the lead through Corey Watkins who beat Damien King at the far post following a Daniel Rose pass. The visitors attempted to reply with a five-minute attacking spell that created opportunities for Arran Strawson, Steve Osman, Ondrej Zosiak and Jacob Ranson but Matt Colclough held firm in the Wightlink net to preserve his team’s slender lead. With play switching to the other end, Damien King pulled-off a superb double save only to be beaten by a third attempt from Ryan Webb at 26.31 for a 3-1 Raiders lead. Further pain was then to be inflicted on Invicta on 33 minutes as the visitors, already without Callum Fowler and Nicky Leiws, saw Steve Osman chucked from the game for a high stick on Ryan Webb which resulted in a cut chin for his opponent.
Knowing the next goal would be vital, Invicta made the breakthrough early in the third period through Eriks Ozollapa who notched on 42.52 to make it 3-2 – the busy Jacob Ranson claiming another assist. With Wightlink heads now looking concerned, birthday boy Joshua Condren then found an equaliser for the Mos on 47.04 – scoring amongst a crowd of players after being found by Ozollapa to tie it up at 3-3. When Danny Ingoldsby was then penalised on 49.27 for high sticks, Invicta took a dramatic lead – Ozollapa beating Colclough from the right post and celebrating in his usual style at 51.08 as the visitors tallied their third without reply. However, having seen his side throw away a 3-1 lead, home coach Jeremy Cornish called a timeout to rally his troops and his words paid off at 55.51 when Jaroslav Cesky broke Invicta hearts with the last goal of the game to settle the score at 4-4.
So it was a second consecutive 4-4 draw between the sides but a more than acceptable three point tally from the weekend for the Mos that further cemented their second place in the NIHL South Division 1. Man of the match honours went to grafter Jacob Ranson of the Dynamos whilst Ryan Webb took the spoils for the Raiders.
Written by Lee Allen.