Four goals from Czech forward Adam Rehak saw the Invicta Dynamos claim their first win of 2017/18 as they overcame league newcomers the Cardiff Fire in the NIHL South Division 1 in Wales on Saturday night.
Cardiff were making their NIHL South top tier debut under their new guise of the Fire and were keen to make their mark quickly – the hosts succeeding by putting the puck in the net after just 23 seconds as Michael Stratford roofed over Damien King for the 1-0 lead. However celebrations had barely died down before the Dynamos equalised at 01.55 – Adam Rehak sweeping behind the net before reappearing close left and forcing in at the near post for a wraparound with netminder Luke Takel unable to make up the ground. Shortly after, Cardiff’s Brad Watchorn was itching to make his presence felt after a year out of the game and, after unsuccessfully attempting to goad Bobby Chamberlain to ditch the gloves, he soon found a dance partner in Mason Webster. Gloves off, both fighters landed hefty blows with Webster arguably making the most contact for a narrow points win before the two were separated. After the restart the Fire should have gone ahead – Sam Smith’s effort from tight right pushed wide by King but only into the path of Nicky Chinn at the back post however the veteran’s rebound attempt was also denied by the sprawling netminder. Down the other end Callum Fowler came closest for the Mos but his drive from the right circle was off the goalie’s shoulder and clear to leave the tie at 1-1.
After a tentative opening period, the physicality went up a few notches in the second with Mason Webster flooring David Sadler, Brad Watchorn thumping Joshua Condren against the boards and Tommy Ralph sending Tamas Elias sprawling. The visitors then had the better of the scoring chances early on – Adam Rehak’s cross-ice pass finding Bobby Chamberlain at the back stick but the captain needing too much time to gather the puck allowing Luke Takel to reposition and save the eventual shot on goal. Down the other end Nicky Chinn suffered a similar fate – the Cardiff captain going for an extra pass and losing possession having been found clear by Michael Stratford when a shot on target was the better option. The Fire’s frustration grew moments later – Robert Sedlak’s low shot from the slot slipping through the 5-hole of Damien King and trickling agonisingly towards the line only for the official to sound his whistle thinking the puck was frozen before it was tapped in. Having had a lucky escape it was then the Mos that then tallied the go-ahead goal – 36.05 the moment when Adam Rehak completed a carbon copy of his first strike to beat Takel with another wraparound and make it 2-1.
In the final frame the Dynamos looked to have found a higher gear with Cardiff’s Luke Takel unquestionably the busier of the two netminders. Adam Rehak used Viktor Langseth as a screen when he fired at goal from wide left but the shot stopper reacted well to make the save before Bobby Chamberlain and Mason Webster were also both denied at point blank range. The pressure eventually told at 49.44 – Callum Fowler’s drive from the left of net given up for the rebound close right and Rehak in place to despatch over the line and complete his hat-trick for 3-1. Chamberlain tried to make it four with a solo skate down the left and towards goal but he was unable to beat Takel at the near post before a Scott Bailey drive from the left circle was kicked to safety by the netminder. At 59.21 it was eventually game over – Tommy Ralph finding Rehak on the inside edge of the right circle and the Czech sniping beautifully over the shoulder of the goalie to seal a 4-1 victory with his fourth of the night.
So it was a first win of the new season for the Mos who, after an even start, were definitely the stronger of the two sides – outshooting their hosts by 41 to 21. Adam Rehak was the star man and man of the match, with his four goals making the long road trip home a happy one, whilst Alex Symonds took the spoils for Cardiff. Next up for the Dynamos – a home tie with Swindon on the Sunday.
Written by Paul Bennett.