Andy Smith claimed his 1000th point for the Invicta Dynamos on Saturday as a Juraj Huska hat-trick inspired the side to an invaluable 6-2 road win against the Streatham Redskins and their 14th straight victory in the NIHL South Division 1.
A huge Dynamos following made the road trip to South London in anticipation of seeing forward Andy Smith claim his 1000th point for the Dynamos and they were treated to a tense opener as both teams had early chances. Billy Phillips tested the glove speed of Will Sanderson from the high slot for the Mos before Steve Fisher escaped down the left channel for the Redskins but was unable to deceive Mark Lee with his stick work and so drew a blank. Eventually the deadlock would be broken at 08.03 and with it came Smith’s 1000th point with perhaps the easiest assist of his career. Smith poked the puck free on his own blue line allowing Callum Fowler to gather, singlehandedly skip around three opponents before sweeping in from the right channel and tucking under Sanderson for a highlight reel strike. However the Redskins would answer as swiftly as 10.54 – Steve Fisher’s deflected pass falling perfectly to Jakub Klima right in front and he roofed the puck to leave Mark Lee with no chance and the score at 1-1. The Redskins then enjoyed the better of the opportunities for the remainder of the frame but Lee was in the right place to deny Callum Best’s redirect from a Dominic Hopkins drive whilst he also stopped a Louis Lockwood breakaway effort late on. As the buzzer sounded tempers then flared – Billy Phillips checking Jack Tarczycki into the Dynamos bench in the dying seconds and the Redskin rising to his feet before pushing out at players the other side of the boards. Phillips reacted by landing blows on his opponent – an offence that would see him sit 2 for roughing alongside a 10 minute misconduct.
In the second period an early penalty to Callum Best gave the Dynamos a powerplay and in his absence the visitors struck quickly at 22.27 to retake the lead. Frankie Harvey’s reverse pass found Juraj Huska just in front of the blue line and the Slovak dispatched a powerful slapshot into the bottom left corner for 2-1. Mark Lee then had to preserve that edge with superb stops against Best and Louis Lockwood before a Stewart Tait penalty gifted the Mos another powerplay of which they duly took advantage. Huska provided a sense of déjà vu at 26.11 with another thumping slapshot finish from the same position as his first with Will Sanderson fairing no better at the second time of asking. By now the Dynamos were in the ascendency and they would add to their lead at 32.34 – Harvey found Anthony Leone close left and the captain squeezed home a shot high inside the near post for the 4-1 edge. It could then have been five just moments later but Huska’s high wrist shot from between the circles hit the underside of the bar before falling on the line for a grateful Sanderson to freeze. Towards the end of the period consecutive minors to Billy Phillips and a hooking call on Nicky Lewis then gave Streatham a 5-on-3 and coach Warren Rost made the decision to pull his netminder to instead make it 6-on-3 in a move that could be prove a masterstroke or moment of madness. Ultimately it was the latter – the Redskins unable to keep the Mos penned in and Arran Strawson clearing from behind his own goal line and then watching as the puck glided towards the centre of the now unguarded target for 5-1 at 39.34.
In the final period Streatham had it all to do but they were still unable to trouble Mark Lee despite an early delay of the game minor on Anthony Leone. In fact it would take them until 49.50 to establish any hope of a comeback – Adam Wood probing forward just left of centre and sweeping to the back stick where Callum Best quickly redirected goalwards on the backhand to make it 5-2. Such hope was soon extinguished however – Jack Tarczycki missing with his attempted interception on Arran Strawson’s lofted clearance allowing Juraj Huska to escape on the breakaway and the Slovak skipped right before slotting inside the near post to complete his hat-trick at 52.59. The 6-2 lead would prove insurmountable for the beleaguered hosts and only a Will Sanderson palm just inches over the bar following a Frankie Harvey effort prevented it from being more late on.
So it was a massive road win for the Dynamos with clinical finishing from the forwards and supreme netminding from shot stopper Mark Lee clinching a 14th consecutive NIHL South Division 1 victory. Lee’s performance saw him deny 45 of 47 attempts on his net for a save percentage of 95.74% and he deservedly took the man of the match spoils for the visitors whilst Joe Johnston took the honours for Streatham. Meanwhile the story of the night was Andy Smith clinching his 1000th point – a landmark he deservedly toasted with a beer in front of a considerable road following before the teams left the ice.