Juraj Huska netted five times on Sunday night as the Invicta Dynamos romped to a 13-3 NIHL Southern Cup victory on home ice against a London Raiders side forced to ice forward Ross Wilkinson in goal following an injury to Michael Gray.
In the opening frame the visitors started brightly and but for a quick glove stop by Chris Douglas on a Jakub Klima breakaway they would have netted the opener. However the Mos found their feet by the midway point and tallied themselves at 09.46 – Juraj Huska breaking the deadlock with a venomous slapshot from the right boards that crossed the line after ringing the foot of the far post. At 11.18 it was then 2-0 – Adam McNicoll showing great awareness right in front with a neat reverse pass that left Andy Smith the simplest of tap-ins just right of the target. By now the hosts were on the charge and they would add another at 12.30 – Head Coach Kevin Parrish screaming from the bench for Anthony Leone to crash the net and the captain making it work with a flick home when a deflected shot fell his way. As soon as 13.16 the Dynamos then made it 4-0 – Juraj Huska speeding down the left channel before a drop pass found Steve Osman alone between the circles and the forward took his time before roofing high over Michael Gray for the four goal cushion. It was an advantage the visitors finally cut to three during a spell of 5-on-3 – Arran Strawson sitting for hooking and Charlie Phillips harshly penalised for checking to the head allowing Jakub Klima the space to tee up an unmarked AJ Smith for a back post finish at 18.09.
In the second period the Mos continued their dominance and, despite having Juraj Huska in the box early on, they netted their fifth shorthanded to lead 5-1. Lewis Jones was robbed by Steve Osman in the neutral zone allowing the forward skip into the final third and roof over the reach of Michael Gray from close right. At 24.21 Gray would be beaten again – Huska this time involved as he flew down the left channel, sold a deke to step inside and fired home from acres of space in the slot for a commanding 6-1 edge. Removing the puck from his own net would prove the last involvement for Gray who then deserted the ice having seemingly agitated an ankle injury and now found the pain too much to continue. Without back-up Mike Brabon, the Raiders were then given ten minutes to dress Ross Wilkinson – the forward stepping up to fill the void between the posts and facing a baptism of fire when the action restarted. He would be beaten at 25.49 – the make-do shot stopper having no chance as Juraj Huska escaped on the breakaway and fizzed over his shoulder to make it 7-1 whilst shorthanded. The Slovak was then at it again at 28.02 – Huska turning sharply on the inside edge of the right circle and lashing just inside the right post with Ross Wilkinson not even set between the uprights. The onslaught would only continue and at 30.57 the Mos increased their lead to 9-1 – Arran Strawson’s long drive rebounding off of the backboards to Callum Fowler close left and Fowler tucking in from close range for his first of the night. However just as it seemed Wilkinson might be out of his depth he grew into the role by first gloving a Fowler a slapshot and secondly diving to deny an Elliott Dewey drive. In fact it would take the Mos until 39.35 to score again – Steve Osman’s centring pass finding Juraj Huska at the back post who controlled with one touch before scoring with another to make it 10-1 after two.
In the third period the Mos now had Steve Nightingale in net in place of Chris Douglas but he would be beaten at 41.06 – Arran Strawson missing an interception allowing AJ Smith a breakaway that he dispatched through the five-hole for 10-2. Another misconduct to Charlie Phillips then saw him tossed from the tie for the second time in two outings before the Dynamos answered London’s strike at 49.22 – Strawson’s pass sending Danny Terry away on a 3-on-1 but the defenceman needing no help as he swept in from the right circle for 11-2. At 51.58 the Raiders then responded again – Daniel Peters finding Vaclav Drabek between the circles and the import firing in low beyond Steve Nightingale for his side’s last of the night. Shortly after the strike the Mos lost captain Anthony Leone to a questionable misconduct penalty but they continued to push forward without their leader and went 12-3 up at 51.58 – Juraj Huska finding Steve Osman on the back of the right circle and Osman shooting high over Ross Wilkinson to complete his hat-trick. The rout was then finalised at 54.18 – Danny Terry’s slapshot from deep tipped right in front by Callum Fowler leaving stand-in goalie Wilkinson no chance to react and the Mos celebrating a commanding 13-3 victory.
So it was a thumping win for the Dynamos in a game they commanded since taking the lead at 09.46. Michael Gray’s injury in the second period undoubtedly took the edge out of the encounter but the Mos were already dominant and seemingly keen to make their mark after a disappointing showing in Bracknell the night before. Man of the match awards went to Juraj Huska of the home side, after he claimed eight points with five goals and three assists, whilst Ross Wilkinson took the beers and a standing ovation from all at the Silver Blades after saving 29 of 36 efforts on net having bravely stepped in to fill the void.