The Invicta Dynamos would enter the second leg of the NIHL Southern Playoff Final with a slender 3-2 deficit to overcome after losing out narrowly to the Wightlink Raiders at the Ryde Arena on Saturday night.
The Mos crossed the Solent with a full squad and gave shot stopper Mark Lee the nod between the posts for his first outing in several weeks. Lee would watch on as the Dynamos made a positive start – Callum Fowler testing goalie Matt Colclough in the opening moments but the netminder winning the duel to keep the scores level. His save would prove all the more valuable at 09.10 as the Raiders took the lead – Carl Graham’s drive being turned away by Mark Lee but Nick Compton in place to pick up and convert the rebound to make it 1-0. However the home side’s celebrations were short-lived – an Arran Strawson effort catching a deflection en route to goal leaving Matt Colclough no chance at 10.24 for 1-1. It was to be the final strike of the frame with the Mos good value for their leveller – edging the shot count by 16 to 10.
In the second frame the Mos were forced to kill a slashing minor to defenceman Billy Phillips but it was on a powerplay of their own that they then conceded. Having stood up to early efforts from Simon Hobbis and Nick Compton, Mark Lee was in defiant mood but he was left exposed at 28.14 allowing Richard Facey to fire home to put the Raiders 2-1 to the good. The visitors attempted to respond with long range missiles from both Juraj Huska and Billy Phillips but Matt Colclough refused to let anything by him and the teams returned to the changing rooms with one goal between them.
In the final period the Mos started brightly but still they were unable to force the puck over the line allowing the Raiders to double their edge when they tallied a third at 46.05. Alex Barker was the architect as he found Jaroslav Cesky and the import did the rest with a shot beyond Mark Lee to make it 3-1. Down the other end the Mos then heaped the pressure on and Matt Colclough had to deny both Anthony Leone and Juraj Huska to preserve his side’s lead. Eventually his resistance was overcome at 53.13 – Andy Smith cutting back to Billy Phillips who fizzed beyond the shot stopper to put the Dynamos within one. The visitors then pushed for the equaliser as both Callum Fowler and Juraj Huska came close late on but the Raiders would not give up another and preserved a slender lead to carry into the second leg back in Gillingham.
So it was 3-2 at the halfway point in the final and a result that Head Coach Kevin Parrish would probably have accepted as his team returned to the Silver Blades where they would enjoy home advantage. Andy Smith was the pick of the travelling Mos and picked up the man of the match accolade for the away side.