A shutout for Mark Lee, a hat-trick for Anthony Leone and Andy Smith edging to within one point of the magic 1000 were all cause for celebration on Sunday night as the Dynamos romped to their 13th straight NIHL South Division 1 victory by beating the London Raiders 9-0.
The Dynamos were minus top scorer Juraj Huska for this league fixture but they still had the firepower to dispense with a London side that has only tasted success once in their last 21 outings – a point they proved at 01.37 as Frankie Harvey found Anthony Leone close left and the captain forced home through the 5-hole for 1-0. Vaclav Drabek should then have answered when Bailey Wootton’s searching diagonal left him with a tap in at the back stick but Mark Lee flew across his crease to make up the ground and keep him at bay. It was a decisive moment – the Dynamos going back on the attack and close to a second only for Nicky Lewis to fire wide on the breakaway. A crunching check from Charlie Phillips on Drabek then ensured the hosts kept the momentum and they finally made it count at 19.03 – Michal Oravec rounding the back of the net before teeing up Billy Phillips in the high slot who finished with a low slapshot for 2-0.
After and often untidy first, the Dynamos upped their game in the second and they added to their tally as early as 24.20 – a frantic goalmouth scramble ending with Charlie Phillips forcing the puck under George Alley from point blank range for 3-0. Ross Wilkinson was unhappy with his opponent’s proximity to his goalie and the pair exchanged shoves but ultimately the strike was awarded and no penalties given. When play restarted Bailey Wootton chased down a loose puck to go in on a breakaway for the visitors but Mark Lee raced from his crease to clear from between the circles and defend his clean sheet. This allowed the hosts to secure a four goal cushion when they found twine again at 31.05 – Anthony Leone with an audacious finish from deep left as his wrist shot flew high inside the top near corner from the sideboards for 4-0. Come 39.02 it was then five – Callum Fowler holding the play left of the target before sweeping to the back post where an on-rushing Andy Smith simply could not miss from the edge of the crease for his second point of the night and one that put him on 997 for the Mos.
In the final period the onslaught on the London net continued and their resistance would be overcome once more at 41.41 – Ross Wilkinson in the box for high sticks as Anthony Leone found Ashley Jackson on the inside edge of the left circle and the forward lashed in low for 6-0. Michal Oravec then came close to adding to that tally but the quality of his coast-to-coast effort was only matched by the outstretched leg save of a desperate George Alley who did brilliantly to keep the Slovak at bay. He would be beaten at 50.36 however – Billy Phillips seeing his effort rebound to Anthony Leone close right and the captain shifting onto his backhand before sweeping in from point blank range to complete his hat-trick. To their credit the Raiders continued to push forward despite being 7-0 down and Tom Davis came agonisingly close when he rounded the net before firing through the pads of Mark Lee only for the puck to hit the netminder and freeze dead on the goal line to leave him frustrated. In comparison the Dynamos were having less trouble at the opposite end and they claimed a ninth at 54.07 – Andy Smith finding Callum Fowler and the lethal forward lifting over the attempted diving block of a defenceman and high into the top far corner from close left for 8-0. At 56.46 it was then nine – a 3-on-1 ending with Fowler centring from the right channel to Smith right in front who beat George Alley with some quick stick work to move on to point number 999. The remainder of the clash was then spent frantically trying to tee up Smith for his landmark 1000th but the Raiders chose this moment to man mark him with Jacob Ranson shadowing him until the final buzzer. In fact it was the visitors who came closest to a goal late on – referee Thomas Stephenson washing out Bailey Wootton’s effort with the near post an inch from its mooring when he fired in at 59.52.
So it was consecutive league win number 13 for the Dynamos, a shutout for Mark Lee and a hat-trick for Anthony Leone with Andy Smith coming agonisingly close to making it the perfect night but ultimately finishing the evening on 999 points for the club in his 401st appearance. The landmark will undoubtedly come for the Mos record holder but for now it was job done in a result that kept the side top of the pile for another week. Man of the match awards went to Leone of the home side whilst the lively and pacey Bailey Wootton deservedly took the spoils for the Raiders.