The Invicta Dynamos saw their hot streak of 14 consecutive NIHL South Division 1 victories come to an end on Sunday as they fell to their first league defeat since October by losing to the Bracknell Hornets 5-4 on home ice.
The Silver Blades gave Andy Smith a rousing reception following his landmark 1000th point in Streatham the night before but frustration quickly set in after the puck drop as the hosts continually fell afoul of the referee’s whistle. Anthony Leone (checking to the head), Callum Fowler (slashing), Charlie Phillips (slashing), Elliott Dewey (hooking) and Juraj Huska (holding) all faced stints in the box in just the opening ten minutes as the officials clamped down with seemingly little tolerance for any infraction. Despite the setback the Mos still claimed the opener whilst on the wrong end of a 5-on-3 – Callum Fowler and Andy Smith countering up the ice with a neat one-two allowing Smith the back post tap in from point blank range at 09.40. At 10.06 on ice frustrations then boiled over – Valdemir Pelikovsky chipping away at Andy Smith after the whistle but keen to avoid answering the bell and opting to turtle when Billy Phillips charged in to make him accountable. When the action restarted, and the player count returned to normal, the Mos then extended their lead – Strawson’s cross-ice pass from the left circle allowing Juraj Huska to thump home with a one-timer the other side of the net at 13.46. However at 2-0 up the hosts turned sloppy allowing the Hornets to eat into their deficit and level by the buzzer. The first of their efforts came at 17.59 – Elliott Dewey missed his check allowing Peter Jasik to escape on the breakaway and he beat Mark Lee with some quick stick work before firing through the 5-hole. At 19.40 it was then 2-2 – Joshua Martin finding Tom Fisher right of the target and the forward lashed under the arm of the netminder to complete the the two goal comeback.
In the second frame Charlie Phillips earned a misconduct within the opening minute but it was actually a roughing minor on Jake Pitchley that would lead to the next goal. On the powerplay Billy Phillips thumped towards the crease from the left wing prompting a goalmouth scramble from which Callum Fowler emerged victorious having poked home from point blank range at 23.41. However 3-2 quickly became 3-3 as the Hornets answered at 29.53 – Peter Jasik speeding around his man to go in alone before sweeping across the crease and tucking under Mark Lee for his second of the night. At 34.26 he then had a hat-trick – despite being a man up as Simon Griffiths sat for tripping the Mos shipped a fourth when Jasik and Tom Fisher countered on a 2-on-1 and the Slovak converted from close left for the 4-3 edge. It was a lead that would hold until the intermission with the Dynamos restricting their ability to hit back as both Billy and Charlie Phillips took separate minor penalties.
Zamboni trouble ahead of the final frame resulted in the ice not being cut for the third but the Dynamos were still able to reply on the powerplay at 45.44 – Michal Oravec finding Billy Phillips back on the blue line and the defenceman driving low into the bottom far corner with a trademark slapshot for 4-4. An Andy Smith breakaway then looked set to give the hosts the lead but David Wride shut the 5-hole quick enough to thwart the forward and keep his side level. It would prove a pivotal moment at 51.54 as the Hornets then struck once more to restore their edge – the Dynamos rear guard too slow to react allowing Carl Thompson to force beyond Mark Lee from the edge of the crease to make it 5-4. For the remainder of the frame the hosts then attempted to force the play but David Wride stood firm and, despite pulling netminder Lee in the dying moments, they fell to their first league loss since October and surrendered their hot streak.
So it was bitter defeat for the Mos made doubly disappointing following their heroics in Streatham the night before. A lack of discipline ultimately proved costly with the Dynamos taking 48 minutes of penalties – almost twice as much as their victorious hosts. Bracknell battled hard and executed an effective game plan and left the Silver Blades with two points – Joshua Tetlow scooping the man of the match beers whilst Andy Smith took the honours for the Mos.