A 13 man Invicta Dynamos was unable to live with the Guildford Flames on Sunday as the outfit from the league above charged to a 9-1 victory in the English Challenge Cup with the Mos too shortbenched to threaten a giant killing against the EPL’s fourth placed side.
Guildford brought a sizeable travelling crowd with them to the Silver Blades Gillingham and they gave them reason to cheer immediately after the puck drop – the visitors lighting the lamp in just 38 seconds. Matt Towe and David Longstaff escaped on an early 2-on-1 and Longstaff was the man to put the puck over the line with a back post finish high over the shoulder of Chris Douglas to make it 1-0. At 04.52 they then doubled that edge – Towe again the provider as his pass from the right corner found Jozef Kohut close left and the Slovak import dispatched beyond a scrambling Douglas for the 2-0 lead. As if they needed the opportunity to extend their advantage, Guildford found themselves on the powerplay soon after as Arran Strawson was penalised for hooking and the Flames notched their third at 11.15. Matt Towe made it a hat-trick of assists as he found Danny Meyers on the blue line and Meyers rifled through traffic and beyond an unsighted Douglas for a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 edge. At the resulting faceoff matters then went from bad to worse for the Mos who swiftly fell foul of referee Stefan Hogarth. Adam McNicoll was harshly penalised with a misconduct for a helmet violation at the restart whilst an unhappy response from the home bench resulted in a minor for the hosts. Given another powerplay Guildford then added their fourth at 12.19 – Sam Godfrey’s shot rebounding to Owen Fussey on the edge of the crease and the forward roofing over the netminder from point blank range for 4-0. A seemingly inevitable fifth followed at 16.23 – Fussey aiming for a second with a drive from the left and, though Chris Douglas denied him, the puck slipped behind the shot stopper allowing Andrew Hemmings to net by reacting fastest.
5-0 down heading into the second the Mos had it all to do and their task was made all the more difficult as a slashing minor to Elliott Dewey and another harsh bench minor saw them start the frame on the wrong side of a 5-on-3. Inevitably the Flames made it count at 20.46 – David Longstaff picking out Sam Godfrey the other side of the crease and Godfrey netting his first ever strike for Guildford from close range for 6-0. A penalty to Callum Fowler then ensured the hosts remained on the back foot and Andrew McKinney looked set to tally with a great solo skate through the middle but for a thumping check from blue liner Billy Phillips that sent him sprawling. Nevertheless Guildford would add their seventh at 34.45 – from the back of the left circle Danny Meyers picking out Stuart Potts close left and he tipped up over the dive of Chris Douglas to put the Flames 7-0 in front.
Despite little going in their favour and a considerable lack of numbers the Dynamos rallied for the third and could have broken their duck early on but Anthony Leone’s redirect towards the 5-hole was thwarted by James Hadfield in net. However, during a penalty to Neil Liddiard of the Flames, the Mos rocked the Silver Blades as Billy Phillips seized possession on the back of the left circle and thumped in high from distance with a trademark slapshot to cut the deficit to 7-1 at 47.27. Naturally the strike was little more than a consolation for the hosts and Guildford went on to counter with two more of their own to win the tie 9-1. The first of the duo came at 50.25 – David Longstaff finding Jozef Kohut close right and the import showing no mercy with a lethal finish inside the near post. The second then followed at 54.27 – Chris Douglas doing phenomenally well to thwart a one-timer at his back stick but Guildford gathering possession and netting the other side courtesy of the impressive Matt Towe.
So it was a heavy defeat for the Dynamos but pitted against one of the EPL’s strongest outfits and minus major players in the club’s top two lines the Mos were always likely to struggle. Nevertheless their work rate was unquestionable and was still greeted by a standing ovation from the home support – a latecomer unlikely to assume the hosts were on the wrong end of a 9-1 score line given the volume inside the Silver Blades Gillingham. Man of the match honours went to Billy Phillips of the Dynamos whilst Matt Towe, who was at the heart of everything for the Flames, rightly took the spoils for Guildford.