Webster nets two as Mos lose out to Wildcats

brandonwebster_150218Brandon Webster notched a double on Thursday night but it was not enough to prevent the Mos falling to a 7-3 home defeat at the hands of the Swindon Wildcats in the NIHL South Division 1.

Swindon brought with them a roster of 17 so slightly outnumbered their hosts who were minus Scott Bailey, Sebastian Downing, Joshua Condren and Damien King for a squad of 16. John Dibble and Matthew Smital were the starting netminders.

In the opening period Swindon looked to dominate from the first puck drop and the Mos were unable to cope with their lightning fast start. A tripping minor to Ondrej Zosiak gave the visitors a powerplay and they needed just 23 seconds of it to take the lead – Aaron Nell passing along the blue line to Max Birbraer who smashed over John Dibble with a one-timer through traffic for 1-0 at 02.28.

The Dynamos attempted to muster a reply on a powerplay of their own as Ondrej Zosiak carried the play down the left and swept to the middle but the on-rushing Mason Webster was unable to poke the puck towards the target on the stretch from the edge of the crease. Down the other end John Dibble denied Max Birbraer at point blank range but Swindon were on the board again soon after as they doubled their lead at 10.57. Borrowed Cardiff Devils forward Toms Rutkis carried the puck two thirds of the ice up the right channel before skipping inside Ryan Morgan to reach the slot and firing low inside the far post for 2-0.

Ashley Jackson came close to halving that deficit almost immediately as he was found clear right in front but Matthew Smital stood up to his slapshot. Smital was beaten soon after though – Jackson involved again as his diagonal from the left boards teed up Jaroslav Cesky for the back post finish at 11.43. However being pegged back prompted the Wildcats to charge forward again and only John Dibble prevented them adding to their lead as he blocked Max Birbraer close right, Aaron Nell close left and Sam Bullas right in front in quick succession as Swindon peppered his net. They would get the breakthrough at 14.24 – Bullas’ pass from the left boards finding Nell between the circles and he fired in high to make it 3-1. At 16.26 it was 4-1 – Phil Hill credited with a redirect on Stephen Whitfield’s wrist shot from the right boards that was diverted inside the near post for a commanding first period lead.

In the second period the Mos fared slightly better with George Hoang forcing Matthew Smital into an outstretched leg save from the right circle and Arran Strawson producing the hit of the night by clattering Toms Rutkis against the boards. However their battle became even tougher at 28.19 when Ashley Jackson attempted to tame a loose puck with his stick mid-air but was adjudged to have caught the face of Rutkis resulting in a game penalty and a five minute Swindon powerplay. It took the Wildcats until 33.01 to take advantage of the extra man – from the right circle Aaron Nell flicked a pass to Chris Jones left of the target and he swept low into the bottom far corner for 5-1.

Just as the Dynamos appeared to be falling out of sight they had a chance to hit back as Brandon Webster sold Ollie Stone a delightful dummy to move clear before being hauled down by Sam Godfrey to earn a penalty shot. Webster stepped up and, with Matthew Smital bracing himself for some close range stickwork, he lashed in off the netminder from between the circles for 5-2 at 33.41.

At 37.24 the Mos were then within two – Louis Colvin the fastest to a loose puck in the right circle and he lashed towards goal with the puck taking a bounce off the body of Brandon Webster right in front and beating Matthew Smital to make it 5-3.

In the final period the Dynamos attempted to pull within one as Harrison Lillis sent a backhand flick to the crease for the on-rushing Ryan Morgan but the netminder got his body in the way of the defenceman’s goalbound poke. Down the other end Floyd Taylor should have extended Swindon’s lead when the puck rebounded to him close right with a gap at the near post to aim at but he missed the target to leave the hosts in the hunt. Taylor would make amends at 48.53 though – Toms Rutkis winning the puck against the right boards and carrying to the slot where Taylor took over and fired low inside the near post for 6-3.

Now firmly in control the Wildcats were able to comfortably see out the remainder of the tie – Aaron Nell looking for more but only finding the mask of John Dibble with his effort from between the circles. Sam Bullas also had the chance to add another when he was found on the edge of the crease but Dibble blocked with the body to limit Swindon’s lead. The visitors would manage to add one more before the end though – the Dynamos defence caught too high up the ice with both Max Birbraer and Nell escaping in behind and the pair exchanged passes before Nell turned in from close right at 55.46 to seal the 7-3 win.

So it was defeat for the Dynamos who battled hard but ultimately a disappointing opening frame had left them too much to do and they were unable to play catch-up. The Wildcats were good value for the win and had the extra depth in quality to take them to the points. Man of the match awards went to Brandon Webster of the hosts and Aaron Nell of the visitors.

Written by Paul Bennett.

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