The Invicta Dynamos endured a disastrous outing on Sunday night as they fell to a 9-0 home defeat at the hands of league leaders the Chelmsford Chieftains to deny them the chance to move joint top of the NIHL South Division 1.
In the knowledge that a victory could reignite a title race, the Dynamos started brightly and only a quick pad save from Euan King denied Juraj Huska’s goal bound effort whilst Elliot Dewey struck the post from the blue line. However after surviving an early surge the Chieftains grew into the tie and Daniel Hammond tested the reactions of Mark Lee from close range before they broke the deadlock at 11.25. A superb piece of skill from Cameron Bartlett saw the forward skip inside from the left boards, beyond the last defenceman and fire home from right in front on the backhand to make it 1-0. An interference minor on Ryan Giles then gave the Mos the opportunity to answer and Juraj Huska’s slapshot almost resulted in a leveller – Euan King only able to palm upwards resulting in a scramble that ended with play stopped as the puck was batted down towards net with a high stick. With time running out Frankie Harvey then skipped in from the left channel and launched onto the top of the near post leaving the Dynamos trailing by one with the first period now behind them.
In the second frame Chelmsford were faster out of the traps and they made it count on the scoreboard as early as 22.03 – Daniel Hammond escaping in behind Peter Beerling and, though Mark Lee did well to stop the forward’s close range attempt, Martin Piecha followed up with the rebound to make it 2-0. The hosts were then forced to play shorthanded as both Michal Oravec and Anthony Leone endured spells in the box but, having done the hard work to kill the penalties, they went on to concede a third at 28.22. A sloppy line change allowed Darren Brown the breakaway and, whilst Lee pushed his effort away from goal, the forward reacted first to claim the loose puck and feed Matt Turner in front for the easy finish. Dynamos Head Coach Kevin Parrish called a timeout in a bid to re-establish control but the floodgates were now open and the hosts would concede two more before the buzzer to trail 5-0. The first of the pair came at 32.03 – great hands from Ross Brears seeing him speed in from the boards and around his man before selling Mark Lee a deke and firing in off of the underside of the bar on the backhand for four. Struggling with an ankle injury, a frustrated Lee then made way for fellow netminder Mark McGill but the replacement goalie was left equally exposed soon after – Darren Brown allowed the space to escape on a counter and squeeze inside the near post from close left despite his side being shorthanded.
After a nightmare second period that left them trailing by five the Dynamos needed to restore some pride in the last but their evening only continued to deteriorate after the restart – James Ayling finding Darren Brown all alone in the slot and the forward notching his second at 41.03 to make it 6-0. Just moments later the Chieftains then had one more – another woeful line change from the Mos gifting the visitors a breakaway and Cameron Bartlett accepting the opportunity by sweeping in beyond Mark McGill on the backhand for his second of the tie. By now the hosts were ragged and it seemed merely a case of how many the visitors would tally – an eighth coming at 53.44 to further tilt the ice in their favour. Arran Strawson’s attack was broken up leaving the Chieftains 3-on-1 as they surged up the rink and import Martin Piecha finished emphatically by driving in off of the underside of the bar from the edge of the crease to leave Mark McGill no chance. The rout was then completed at 56.48 as Michael Ranby pulled back to an unmarked James Ayling in the high slot who launched low inside the bottom right corner for the last of the evening for a 9-0 victory. Though Chelmsford fans chanted demanding a tenth, supporters of the hosts comically responded with a request for just one but neither would be granted their wish with the final buzzer sounding shortly after.
So it was an embarrassing defeat for the Dynamos who were simply schooled by their guests in clash that could have propelled them firmly back into the title race. Defensively the hosts surrendered the high scoring areas repeatedly and Chelmsford made them pay with some very well taken goals whilst exhibiting an organised rear guard that would have been the envy of any home support. Man of the match awards went to shut-out star Euan King of the Chieftains whilst Nicky Lewis took the beers for the Dynamos.