The Invicta Dynamos four game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday night as they fell to a 4-1 road defeat at the hands of the Oxford City Stars despite a goal from Bailey Wootton.
The Dynamos had to make do without the services of injured pair Adam McNicoll and Nicky Lewis, juniors Haydn and Taylor Wootton and veteran Grant Baxter. This was also the first time Steve Osman had faced the Stars since departing for the Dynamos at the end of October.
The first period was hard work for the watching fans and although Josh Condren tested netminder Shannon Long within the first two minutes, it was Arran Strawson who came closest with efforts in the third and eighth. For Oxford Joe Edwards and Josh Florey both tried to make netminder Damien King sweat in the Invicta goal but the game was lacking a spark in the opening moments. On 12.59 that spark almost came – Nick Oliver breaking clear of Andy Henderson and shooting straight at the Dynamos crossbar with the puck falling the right side of King’s line for the Dynamos resulting in a no goal – Oxford keen to claim otherwise. It mattered not, literally seconds later the Stars opening the scoring through Shane Moore with a strong drive from distance at 13.04. The Mos were unable to reply before the frame had ended- their cause not helped as influential import Eriks Ozollapa missed almost 15 minutes of the first period due to a broken skate.
In the second period Oxford started the brighter and they added to their lead only 17 seconds after the restart when Joe Edwards fed Darren Elliott who cut inside Arran Strawson and shot beyond the diving Damian King for 2-0. The goal was perhaps the spark the Dynamos needed and when Eriks Ozollapa picked up a loose puck in the middle of the ice he sent a cutting pass between two Oxford defenders allowing Bailey Wootton to connect and beat Shannon Long for 2-1 at 21.46. Controversy then ruled in the 23rd minute – Jack Lee blocking an incoming Oxford effort with his ankle and going down in agony with teammate Damien King moving his goal off the line to stop play so Lee could get treatment. King received a two minute minor for delay of game and the resulting powerplay worked well for Oxford who scored seconds later at 23.56 through Boris Ruzicka. Despite the call going against the Mos they didn’t let their heads drop and Shannon Long had to deny Arran Strawson, Andy Henderson, Conor Redmond, Ondrej Zosiak and Eriks Ozollapa to preserve his team’s lead whilst Steve Osman also shot just wide.
With all to play for in the third period, the Dynamos didn’t really get going and eight shots at goal really told the story. To add more misery to their night a fourth goal for Oxford came on 55.54 through Mike Whillock.
So it was defeat for the Dynamos and their first in five outings. Having been the only side to beat Chelmsford so far this season Oxford were always likely to put up tough opposition on home ice with the Mos toiling unsuccessfully for the majority of the game. Man of the match awards went to Connor Redmond for the Dynamos whilst netminder Shannon Long picked up the hnours for the hosts following his 96.97% save record.
Written by Lee Allen