Frankie Harvey took the man of the match honours on Saturday night as his 2 goals and 4 assists helped the Invicta Dynamos cruise to a crushing 11-2 victory over the Cardiff NIHL Devils in the NIHL South Division 1.
Much of the build-up to Saturday’s clash focussed on the nasty hit from behind by Jack Randall on Andy Smith when the two sides last met in November, but the absence of Randall in Gillingham and a call to focus from Head Coach Kevin Parrish in the media just days before the puck drop saw the Mos only concentrate on the two available points come game day. They surged into a 4-0 lead in the opening frame with the Devils seemingly powerless to leave their own zone let alone deny their hosts. The deadlock was broken at 02.12 – Juraj Huska stick handling his way straight down the middle through a sea of Cardiff jerseys before tucking in from close left for a great individual opener. At 05.58 it was then 2-0 – the Dynamos camped in the final third and the unrelenting pressure eventually counting as Andy Smith squeezed inside the near post beyond James Whiting from close left. The third would follow at 11.12 – from the left wing Frankie Harvey picking out Callum Fowler all alone in the slot and Fowler having all the time in the world to fire high through the palm of Whiting for 3-0. The final goal of the period then came at 17.35 – this time Fowler the architect as he beat his man down the right channel before sweeping to the back post and setting up for the easiest of finishes for Andy Smith who claimed his second of the night. It gave the Mos a considerable first frame cushion with the Devils only managing to test Steve Nightingale four times on his first start for the Dynamos.
In the second period the game followed a now familiar pattern and the hosts claimed their fifth at 21.19 – Steve Osman holding the play behind the net before teeing up a Juraj Huska one-timer right in front for 5-0. Callum Fowler then clipped the underside of the crossbar before the Dynamos made it six at 25.35 – Fowler and Huska interchanging a string of passes from either side of the target before Huska turned in from close left to complete his hat-trick. The Slovak was not to be content with a trio though – his fourth following swiftly at 27.03 courtesy of a trademark slapshot from the right boards that arrowed into the bottom far corner for 7-0. Huska’s latest strike saw netminder James Whiting retreat to the bench with Ross Miller replacing him but Miller would be beaten at 30.51 – Frankie Harvey and Callum Fowler completing a clever one-two that ended with Fowler’s long diagonal being turned in at the back post by the on-rushing Harvey for 8-0. Remarkably, and against the run of play, Cardiff then finally answered at 31.20 – Ben Brown seeing his shot at goal denied but the puck falling to Steve Newton close left who roofed over Steve Nightingale to cut the deficit to 8-1.
In the final period the Dynamos continued to drive the play despite the commanding lead and they added a ninth at 41.40 – Ross Miller saving Juraj Huska’s shot from the right circle but the puck dropping behind him allowing Steve Osman a tap-in for 9-1. Come 45.51 the hosts were then in to double figures – Callum Fowler holding the play behind the net before teeing up Andy Smith on the edge of the crease who converted to complete a hat-trick of his own and nudge ever closer to his landmark 1000th point. Cardiff would hit back at 47.03 though – Michael Newberry finding Jamie Hayes close left and the forward sweeping over Steve Nightingale into the top far corner with a well taken backhand for 10-2. Ultimately his strike would prove a mere consolation however and the Mos emphasised that point at 59.35 – Frankie Harvey bringing an end to proceedings by seizing a loose puck close left and tucking through the 5-hole to complete the 11-2 rout.
So it was a more than comfortable victory for the Dynamos with their opponents largely unable to cope with their hosts and being penned in their own zone for long spells at a time. Cardiff struggled from puck drop to final buzzer but the Mos put in a professional display and forced the game despite the ease at which they succeeded. Man of the match awards went to Frankie Harvey for a 6 point display whilst Martin Davison took the spoils for 14 man Cardiff.