The Invicta Dynamos finished second in the NIHL South Division 1 on Sunday despite surrendering a 2-0 lead to lose 7-2 at the hands of the Streatham Redskins in their last league outing of 2014/15 before all attention turns to their upcoming cup final.
The Dynamos took to the ice with little to play for but pride and the chance to avenge their 7-4 loss in London the week before and they failed to offer much in the opening frame with the visiting Redskins unfortunate not to take the lead. Netminder Will Sanderson was more than equal to Adam McNicoll’s low shot to the near post from close left early on but his opposite number Mark McGill would be the busier goalie as the Redskins chased the win that would cement third place. Sean Scarbrough hit the post from between the circles before a scrambling stop saw McGill rob Joe Allen of an easy back post finish soon after. The shot stopper then used a quick glove to thwart Adam Wood from point blank range before Callum Best fired onto the far post from the right circle. At the end of the frame Juraj Huska then came closest to breaking the deadlock for the Mos as he stick shifted several times in quick succession to dupe Will Sanderson but the Streatham netminder stood firm to leave the score at 1-1.
In the second frame the hosts started brighter and Anthony Leone was found alone in the crease with time to pick his spot but he only found metal to the relief of the visiting Redskins. The Dynamos captain would have another chance soon after, having been spotted by Michal Oravec close right, but this time Will Sanderson shut the door on his low drive towards the 5-hole. Eventually the increasing pressure would tell and the Mos found the net at 28.43 – Adam McNicoll firing the puck around the boards, Callum Fowler gathering behind the net and teeing up Juraj Huska for the high shot home that made it 1-0. Fowler then almost doubled that edge as he circled out from behind the goal and led Sanderson a merry dance but, having committed the netminder, his final effort was onto the frame of the target. Eventually it was on the powerplay that the hosts added another – Dominic Hopkins seated for interference as Juraj Huska skated across the crease forcing Sanderson to reach for the puck and leaving the roof of the goal empty for the Slovak to fire in at 37.45. It gave the Mos a 2-0 edge at the close of the second – a period that signalled the end of the game for Elliott Dewey who was caught by a wayward high stick in an incident unseen by the match officials.
In the final period Streatham fired out of the traps and immediately halved their deficit – Adam Mahoney’s shot from deep hitting the midriff of Mark McGill and falling perfectly for Jakub Klima to sweep in from close right at 40.32. Juraj Huska could have cancelled out his effort when he was then sent in on the breakaway but Will Sanderson successfully kept him at bay whilst the post dealt with the immediate follow up from Nicky Lewis. The miss would prove costly as the Redskins netted a second at 48.41 to make it 2-2 – Anthony Leone losing possession in his own zone and unlikely scorer David Carr claiming a loose puck, moving across the crease and tucking in low for his first of the season. Not content with their comeback the Redskins then surged ahead at 49.48 – Robbie Brown skating two thirds of the ice, darting between the two defenceman and roofing over Mark McGill for 3-2. At 50.39 it was then 4-2 – Callum Best finding Sean Scarbrough in front and the American beating the netminder with quick stick work before sliding the puck in at the far post. By now the Dynamos were chasing the game but having failed to start the tie in top gear they were struggling to find it when they needed it most. Streatham had no such issue and claimed a fifth at 55.15 – Joe Allen’s long diagonal sending Jakub Klima in one-on-one and the Czech skipping around Adam McNicoll before firing inside the far post for his second. Shortly after tempers then flared when some jostling in front of the net between Arran Strawson and Adam Wood saw the Invicta man called for cross checking. Strawson was determined to drop the gloves with his antagoniser who turned away before waving him goodbye as he left the ice – a move that infuriated Strawson’s teammate Grant Baxter. Baxter raced from the home bench in a bid to reach Wood but was halted by the combined efforts of both linesmen before a shove directed over the away bench saw him tossed from the game with a match penalty. When the play restarted the visitors then duly took advantage of the five minute major with two powerplay goals – the first coming at 58.30 and of course it had to be Adam Wood as he swept in high on the backhand from right in front following a pass from Callum Best. The second, and last, followed at 59.30 – Mark McGill blocking Robbie Brown’s effort from the middle but Best forcing in the rebound from a tight angle close left to seal the 7-2 victory.
So whilst it was a dead-rubber tie for the Dynamos the manner of the defeat was still disappointing in front of their own crowd. The hosts failed to play to their potential from the off and then were unable to move through the gears to chase the tie as it surged away from them in the last. Man of the match honours went to defenceman in disguise Dave Carr for Streatham as he tallied a rare strike for the visitors whilst Adam McNicoll took the spoils for the Dynamos.