Goals from Callum Fowler and Juraj Huska were not enough to spare the Invicta Dynamos from a disappointing 6-2 home defeat at the hands of the Milton Keynes Thunder in the NIHL South Division 1 on Saturday.
After a week of speculation and debate following the fallout from the Chelmsford encounter the weekend before the Dynamos should have been raring for a return to action back on home ice but the hosts were lacklustre from the puck drop and would ultimately pay the price. Michal Oravec could have fired them in front in the opening moments as Callum Fowler sent him through on the breakaway but netminder Damien King used his pads to keep him at bay. At 07.36 the visitors then broke the deadlock themselves as they set about unsettling the Silver Blades Gillingham. Mark Lee palmed Nidal Phillips’ dump into the final third back into play allowing Tom Mboya to sweep towards the edge of the crease for Thomas Castle to poke home. Despite being called for too many men the Thunder then doubled their edge at 08.54 – the Dynamos caught up the ice allowing Jamie Line the breakaway – the speedy skater taking the chance perfectly with a low shot through the 5-hole for 2-0. On the same powerplay the Mos would finally answer to suggest a route back into the tie – the clock stopping at 09.49 as Callum Fowler’s wrist effort from the back of the left circle looped up off of the skate of Paul Gore and over the glove of King for 2-1. However the urgency to seek a leveller failed to materialise and Milton Keynes re-established their two goal advantage at 13.49 – Mark Lee saving Ryan Coffey’s drive from the left with his pads but powerless to prevent Tom Mboya roofing the rebound from the other side of the target to make it 3-1.
After a disjointed opening period that saw them depart the ice with a two goal deficit the Dynamos struggled to find any way back into the contest in the second as they continued to stutter throughout the frame. Juraj Huska came closest to tallying as he fired onto the crossbar from the back of the left circle whilst Callum Fowler’s solo skate down the right channel and towards goal was denied by the quick movement of shot stopper Damien King. Hard hitting from Arran Strawson and Anthony Leone who both felled Milton Keynes import Mathias Rugholm then briefly lifted the atmosphere inside the Silver Blades but the hosts were providing little for their fans to cheer with the Thunder comfortably soaking up any pressure with disciplined defending supported by a dangerous counter.
In the final period the Dynamos had it all to do but were again under pressure from the off as Milton Keynes had an early strike washed out. Jamie Line’s breakaway attempt was frozen by Mark Lee who released on the whistle only for Harrison Goode to poke in the loose puck with a goal then being awarded. After much discussion referee Rene Ross finally waved off the effort with protests from Jamie Line costing the forward a ten minute misconduct. It would matter little as the Thunder added a fourth at 47.09 – Juraj Huska’s slashing minor allowing Piotr Poziomkowski the space to control left of the target before teeing up Jamie Randall at the back post who rifled over the shoulder of Lee for 4-1. The strike prompted Kevin Parrish to switch Lee for new signing Mark McGill between the posts in an attempt to spur his defence into offering his netminder more protection but the Scot was left exposed in minutes – Thomas Castle afforded too much room in the left circle and sweeping high into the far corner for his side’s fifth at 49.09. Less than a minute later it was 6-1 – Tom Mboya seeing Alex Whyte on his lonesome in the slot and the forward making the most of the high scoring area with a finish over the glove of McGill at 49.57. With the scoreboard growing ever embarrassing it seemed only a matter of time until somebody in a Mos jersey snapped and at 53.10 it happened – Callum Fowler being caught in the mouth by the stick of Martyn Snape and reacting by dropping the gloves to instigate a brief wrestling match. Fowler edged the tussle before both players were dispatched from the ice with 2+2 for roughing. In the closing moments the hosts then claimed the smallest of consolations – Anthony Leone’s shot from the right catching the underarm of Damien King and being poked over the line by Juraj Huska to cut the deficit to 6-2 at 59.02.
So it was defeat for the Dynamos but it was the manner of the loss which proved most disappointing with the side offering little from start to finish. Lacklustre defending that left the net all too frequently exposed and individual forward play met the disciplined rear guard and incisive counter of the Thunder who were ultimately good value for their win. To further rub salt into the wounds news of Streatham’s victory over Chelmsford had presented the Mos with a chance to perhaps re-enter the title race but an unlikely home loss saw the side scupper that opportunity. Man of the match awards went to Nicky Lewis of the Dynamos and Tom Mboya of the visitors.