The Invicta Dynamos claimed two more league points on Saturday night as goals from Juraj Huska, Callum Fowler and Steve Osman saw them beat the Wightlink Raiders 3-1 but it was a bench brawl during the post-game handshakes that provided the tie’s major talking point.
The Mos gave a debut to new Estonian arrival Ilja Urushev at the puck drop, with the import arriving to shore up the team’s rear guard, and defence was on top in the opening frame with neither side able to break the deadlock. It would be a physical clash from the off though – Charlie Phillips putting down an early marker with a crunching hit on Richard Facey behind the net to set the tone. Brad Gutridge then looked to make an impression but his hit on Corey Watkins was from behind putting him in the box with 2+10. Further penalty trouble came for the Mos as Charlie Phillips was penalised for elbows but Wightlink failed to tally on either powerplay leaving the game scoreless. On his return Phillips continued to make his presence felt – Chris Cooke given an uncompromising welcome back to the Silver Blades courtesy of a thumping check from the energetic 17 year old. The Mos were winning the physical bout but in front of goal neither side had the accuracy required – Ryan Webb missing a guilt edged chance for the Raiders by shooting high over the target with Mark Lee grounded and the roof of the net at his mercy. Down the other end Callum Fowler came closest for the hosts as he and Frankie Harvey escaped on a 2-on-1 but the forward turned Harvey’s centring pass onto the pads of Matt Colclough to leave it at 0-0.
After a goal drought in the first, Wightlink thought they had edged in front at 20.32 but a goalmouth scramble in which Jaroslav Cesky stabbed home was ruled out with both himself and Craig Tribe keeping Mark Lee company in the crease. When play restarted Alex Barker then should have had the opener for the visitors as the puck found him all alone in the slot but he could only find the chest of Lee and not the twine behind him. His miss would prove costly at 27.19 as the Dynamos did find the target to pull ahead 1-0. With both teams struggling in front of goal it was going to take something spectacular to make the difference and Juraj Huska provided exactly that with a venomous slapshot from behind the blue line that fizzed past the mask of Matt Colclough and into the roof of the net behind him. It could have been two moments later when Callum Fowler’s pass found Billy Phillips in the high slot but the attack minded blue liner hit the top of the crossbar to the relief of the visiting bench. At 30.48 tempers then threatened to flare – Simon Hobbis initiating a slashing war with Juraj Huska that ended with some shoving but stopped short of a fight with both men sent to the box with minors. When the action restarted Mark Lee had to be at his best to deny both Alex Barker and Jaroslav Cesky in quick succession whilst Callum Fowler ran out of room when trying to convert on the backhand during a counter at the other end.
With the score still at 1-0 at the start of the third it was all to play for in the last but neither team could find the target in the opening minutes after the restart. Eventually a mark would be made at 48.52 – Wightlink equalising as Alex Barker’s drop pass found Cesky alone in the right circle and he sent a wrist shot low into the bottom far corner for 1-1. However no sooner had they levelled than the Raiders were chasing the game again – individual brilliance from Callum Fowler splitting the sides at 49.53 as he beat Simon Hobbis out wide, sprinted to net and roofed in over Matt Colclough from close left to make it 2-1. Straight after the restart then came the game’s flash point – Charlie Phillips landing a huge hit on Ben Paynter in front of the home bench and Jeremy Cornish seeing red, racing in and cross checking his opponent to the head from behind. Referee Jurijs Solovjovs originally called no penalty but then incensed the Dynamos support with a questionable 2+10 for checking to the head on Charlie Phillips alongside a roughing minor and a misconduct for Billy Phillips for reaching over the bench in defence of his brother whilst Wightlink’s player/coach escaped with a mere cross checking minor. The timing at 50.22 meant both Phillips brothers made their way to the changing room missing the climax as the Raiders sought an equaliser. With time against them they pulled their netminder late on but their roll of the dice would ultimately cost them at 59.19 – the Mos claiming a controversial cushion as Anthony Leone’s clearance bounced off of a player on the away bench before eventually finding Steve Osman centre ice who tucked into the unguarded frame for 3-1. Arguing would cost Craig Tribe and Alex Barker misconducts before the buzzer sounded to complete an invaluable victory for the home side.
So game over? Not quite. As Jeremy Cornish approached the home bench during the handshakes a tussle ensued. Cornish and Richard Facey of the Raiders came to blows with Billy and Charlie Phillips of the Mos with punches being thrown across the boards causing a melee that both on and off ice officials struggled to conclude. Back on the ice netminders Steve Nightingale and Shane Long dropped the gloves – Long landing more punches but Nightingale wrestling him to the ground for the take down. Who was responsible for starting the outburst was unclear and not captured by camera but the result was match penalties to Billy and Charlie Phillips whilst Jeremy Cornish received the same punishment.