Andy Smith claimed his record breaking 500th goal for the Invicta Dynamos on Saturday night as the Mos cruised to an emphatic 9-3 win on the road against the Cardiff NIHL Devils in the NIHL South Division 1.
Despite a sizeable margin of victory come the final buzzer, the Dynamos initially fell behind shortly after the puck drop as the Devils found a way beyond Chris Douglas as early 07.17. Giovanni Raffaelli was the architect as he teed up Owen Bradshaw and Bradshaw converted beyond the netminder to put the Welsh outfit 1-0 in front. A lack of discipline would be their undoing though and two powerplay goals in the final five minutes of the period ensured it was the visitors who had the edge at the break as they came from behind to lead 2-1. Kieran Latchford was sent to the box for roughing allowing Juraj Huska the space to find Anthony Leone – the captain firing home over the reach of Luke Takel for 1-1. At 19.02 the Mos then added their second – Luke Merrick watching on this time having been deemed guilty of elbowing and Andy Smith rifling over the line following build-up play from Billy Phillips and Juraj Huska for his 500th strike in Invicta colours.
The second frame began much the same way as the first had ended – Cardiff’s Jack Randall seated for roughing and his misdemeanour punished when Callum Fowler slotted beyond Luke Takel on the powerplay for the 3-1 edge. Less than a minute later the clock was stopped again – Nicky Lewis doing it all on his own as he seized possession and then dispatched into the net to give the travelling Dynamos a three goal cushion. The Mos continued to enjoy the better of the play and they eventually added to their lead at 33.53 – their fourth powerplay strike of the night coming as Anthony Leone doubled up to capitalise on a kneeing minor to David Sadler. Not content with five the visitors then sought a sixth and they would have it at 37.02 – Leone continuing his remarkable form by fizzing the puck beyond Luke Takel to complete his fourth hat-trick of the 2014/15 campaign. At 37.42 the clash then took a sour turn – Jack Randall guilty of a nasty check from behind on Andy Smith that propelled the forward face first into the boards resulting in cuts to the face. Teammate Arran Strawson was first to react to the hit as he went in swinging landing a number of blows to Randall and earning a match penalty in the process. Meanwhile Randall’s dangerous play rightly saw him also tossed from the tie with Billy Phillips and Anthony Leone baying for his blood. When the action finally restarted the Dynamos hit the Devils where it hurt the most, on the scoreboard, as they made it 7-1 at 39.52. Juraj Huska again played a role in the build-up before Nicky Lewis swatted over the line for his second of the evening.
In the final period a hooking minor to Callum Fowler put Cardiff on the powerplay and they tallied straight from the resulting faceoff – Jonathan Nash winning the play and Alexander Madge drilling into the twine to cut the deficit to 7-2. The Mos would answer at 49.24 though – Frankie Harvey scoring a solo effort to extend his team’s lead to 8-2 and keep the Devils well out of sight. The margin of seemingly inevitable victory then grew yet further at 50.42 – Steve Osman teeing up Juraj Huska with the Slovak notching his first of the evening having been involved in three efforts prior to claiming his own. The last of the night belonged to the Devils however – a minor penalty to Bradley Gutridge giving the space for Owen Bradshaw to bring the evening’s scoring action to an end as he grabbed his second of the night, a mere consolation, at 53.32. Before the buzzer sounded there was just time for one last scrap – Harrison Lillis accepting David Sadler’s invitation to dance and making his opponent regret his advances with a comfortable take down.
So it was a win and a big one for the Dynamos who cruised beyond the Devils in what is normally a tricky road encounter. The Mos simply had too much for Cardiff and the hosts fell foul of the referee’s whistle on too many occasions to remain competitive as they shipped four powerplay goals. Meanwhile it was a bittersweet night for Andy Smith who smashed home his 500th goal for the Dynamos before seeing his involvement in the game curtailed by a needless hit from Jack Randall. Man of the match awards went to the now injured Smith whilst namesake Owen Smith took the honours for the Devils.