The Invicta Dynamos fell 4-3 at the hands of the Chelmsford Chieftains on Sunday despite a fantastic first period in which they bossed the league leaders and led the Essex outfit 3-0 after a brace from Arran Strawson and a goal from Steve Osman.
In the opening period the Dynamos were sensational – the visitors perhaps underestimating the intensity the hosts would bring to the tie and unable to live with a Mos team that ran rampant. Straight from the off Euan King was the busier of the two netminders – Callum Fowler testing him twice in the opening exchanges whilst Darren Brown struck the post in a rare chance for the Chieftains. It was then a penalty on Brown that would prove costly – the forward in the box for tripping at 08.09 and out again at 08.16 after Arran Strawson’s drive from the blue line flew over the shoulder of King after a healthy deflection from the stick of Ross Brears. At 08.33 it was then 2-0 – Strawson again on target but needing no help this time as he fired into the bottom far corner from the right circle prompting Chelmsford to call a timeout. The Chieftains were stuttering though and their frustrations were becoming clear when first Andrius Kaminskas took a slashing minor before Billy Phillips tossed the gloves to scrap with Eriks Ozollapa. Phillips deemed that the Latvian had slashed his goalie, although replays suggested otherwise, and he lashed out landing persistent blows for well over a minute whilst Ozollapa was unable to remove his mits and defend himself in a scrap that should have been halted well before it was. When the action restarted Darren Brown was stopped by Damien King on a breakaway before the hosts added a third to their tally at 17.06. Strawson was again involved but his shot from the blue line was going wide until Steve Osman swatted it down beyond the netminder to make it 3-0.
After a near flawless first it was always unlikely that the Mos would be able to maintain their level of intensity and that Chelmsford would continue to stutter and the visitors were on the board just minutes after the restart. At 22.08 Olegs Lascenko’s backhand wrist shot from the right caught Damien King off guard as he found the bottom far corner to cut the deficit to 3-1. Ondrej Zosiak then almost cancelled out the effort with a blue line drive that Euan King nearly palmed over the line but the frame of the goal came to his rescue behind him. It was ultimately his brother down the end that would now be the busier though – the Mos goalie stopping Cameron Bartlett from in front and Matt Turner’s rebound before Lascenko escaped clear but he too found King to be an immovable object. At 32.34 his resistance was overcome – a rare mistake from Callum Fowler behind his own net presenting Ross Brears with the puck right in front and Brears accepted the gift by tucking into the corner for 3-2. Fowler was trying to make amends soon after with a series of twist and turns that took him away from the Chelmsford D before a pass to Arran Strawson close right but Strawson was unable to find the gap between King’s pads and his near post and it remained 3-2.
In the final frame the Chieftains pressured for an equaliser and Alex Staples had a great chance when he was found right in front but Damien King stopped his shot to the 5-hole. However at 47.06 the visitors had the leveller and it was a moment of magic from Ross Brears who split the defence before steering around the goalie with some neat stick work to complete the comeback. Mos Coach Kevin Parrish called a timeout to rally the troops but it now always seemed more likely that the visitors would find the next strike. Danny Hammond raced on to a long clearance to escape all alone but Damien King stood firmly in his way before Grant Bartlett suffered the same fate when found alone in front just moments later. In response Arran Strawson, now on a hat-trick, drilled a shot right into the mask of Chelmsford’s shot stopper but it was the away side who would grab the last of the night – the clock stopping at 55.42. Billy Phillips, who tallied so often from the blue line for the Dynamos in 2014/15, rifled through traffic from deep and, with Damien King completely screened by Cameron Bartlett, the puck found the net to seal a 4-3 comeback win.
So it was delight to despair for the Dynamos who turned in perhaps their best 20 minutes of hockey in the opening period but then were unable to replicate it for the remainder of the game. The Chieftains upped their performance after a disastrous opening period and deserve credit for sealing the two points and almost certainly the league title. Man of the match awards went to Ross Brears of the visitors whilst Arran Strawson took the spoils for the hosts.
Written by Paul Bennett.