The Invicta Dynamos left themselves with work to do ahead of the NIHL Southern Playoff quarter-final 2nd leg on Sunday as they suffered a narrow 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Milton Keynes Thunder in the 1st leg on Saturday.
Invicta travelled to Buckinghamshire without the suspended import Eriks Ozollapa as well as the Wootton twins and backup netminder Glen Rodbourne.
The first period was a pacey affair with both teams skating hard. Nicky Lewis had the best opportunity for the Dynamos – beating a couple of Thunder players and skating wide of netminder Stephen Wall but finding himself without a teammate to pass to when he cut the puck back across the goal. Meanwhile Milton Keynes kept Invicta’s shot stopper Damien King busy – Ryan Coffey, Alex Whyte and Tom Mboya all denied by their former teammate to leave the game goalless after one.
With the scoreboard having sat unaltered throughout the first, the second started with the Thunder notching in under a minute with Ross Bowers converting beyond Damien King at 20.36 after Bowers beat Elliott Dewey on the left flank. However, there were no time for celebrations as Invicta replied more or less straight away with Jarvis Mewett finding Nicky Lewis who roofed a shot past Wall for 1-1 at 21.21. The Mos then grabbed the lead at 28.37 – Callum Fowler picking out Adam McNicoll who had a lot in front of him but the small forward still managed to dispatch a well-placed shot past Stephen Wall between the posts. Frustratingly for Invicta they lost that edge later in the period – Milton Keynes defending a penalty against Jamie Line and striking back as they returned to full strength with Tom Mboya levelling to make it 2-2 dead on the interval.
In similar fashion to the start of the previous period, the Thunder tallied early in the third – Ross Bowers claiming his second goal of the night with assists coming from Jamie Line and Alex Whyte on 40.50. The Dynamos tried to find a leveller, going close through Jarvis Mewett, but when Mewett gave up a hooking penalty on 50.56 the visitors were punished. NIHL South Divison 1 Player of the Year Jamie Line hit the goal frame on 51.47 and Alex Whyte was on hand to tap past King for 4-2. A timeout was called by Mos Head Coach Kevin Parrish as he tried to rally his shaken troops and whatever he said must have inspired the Kent side as they pulled a goal back soon on 53.20. Ondrej Zosiak skated forward and had a shot parried which carried to Callum Fowler who coolly skated around the back of Wall’s net and tapped in at the far post for 4-3. With the game dying out the Dynamos were then unable to grab an equaliser meaning they now had to better the Thunder by at least two goals on Sunday night.
So it was a narrow road loss but the goal deficit left the tie firmly in the balance heading into the second leg on Sunday. Two goal hero Ross Bowers was awarded man of the match for the home side, with Nicky Lewis accepting the award for the Dynamos.
Written by Lee Allen.