Leone hat-trick finishes the Fire

cardiff_141219A hat-trick from player-coach Anthony Leone and further goals from Jake Stedman, Owen Dell and Brandon Webster helped the Invicta Dynamos overcome the Cardiff Fire 6-2 in Gillingham on Saturday in an encounter that also saw 16 year old netminder Owen Rider makes his full home debut.

The Mos gave a first outing to newly signed import forward Tomaš Banovský but were without the suspended Juraj Huska and the injured Mark Williams. Meanwhile the visitors travelled with 14 players.

Cardiff almost caught the hosts napping at the first puck drop as Carter-Jaice Lloyd immediately broke clear but Owen Rider made the stop to keep it level. From that point on it was almost one way traffic as the Dynamos dominated and they secured the inevitable breakthrough at 04.24 – Brandon Webster digging the puck out from the right corner allowing Elliot Farrell to fire to the crease where Jake Stedman converted beyond Ben Scanlan on the backhand for 1-0.

An interference minor to Elis Sheppard then gifted the Dynamos a powerplay and they took advantage at 11.20 – Anthony Leone picking up possession in the left corner and finding the on-rushing Owen Dell point blank left who turned in low beyond the goalie for 2-0. A third followed at 18.06 – Brandon Webster crossing the blue line on a counter and opting for an early shot that flew over the unprepared Ben Scanlan to end the forward’s run of games without a goal.

After controlling the first period and securing a commanding lead, the Mos dropped their level in the second and the Fire fought back to maintain their interest in the tie. The period began with a scrap at 29.06 – Arran Strawson following his shot into the crease where netminder Ben Scanlan took a swipe at his ankle with his stick. Strawson responded with a cross check and Chris Fox stepped in to instigate some shoving that Strawson reacted to by ditching his gloves. Fox had little appetite for the bout and quickly dropped to the ice still holding his stick.

When play restarted, the Fire were on the powerplay and they hit back at 29.51 to make it 3-1 – Carter-Jaice Lloyd steering around the dive of Henry Airken and sweeping into the bottom far corner on the backhand from the slot. They had another at 34.15 – the Mos defence too passive as Chris Fox sailed down the right wing and pulled back to Cameron Basnett who tucked into the bottom left corner from the right circle to cut the deficit to one.

Just as the Fire looked to be establishing a foothold, they fell further behind in slightly unfortunate circumstances – Tomaš Banovský’s centring pass from the right boards clipping the skate of Anthony Leone right in front sending the puck beyond Ben Scanlan for 4-2 at 39.14.

In the final frame the home side reclaimed the momentum and they were as good as out of sight at 43.55 – Arran Strawson holding off both Joe Morris and Cameron Basnett to pass to Anthony Leone right in front and the player-coach slotting into the bottom right corner for 5-2.

The teams continued to niggle at each other throughout the period – Joe Stephenson following through with a hit on Iwan Davies on the whistle that saw the Cardiff man wanting to scrap before Joe Morris floored Brandon Webster with a low hit that also resulted in some shoving.

At 55.36 the Dynamos then grabbed the last of the night – Tomaš Banovský looking to beat Ben Scanlan from wide left with the netminder only able to pad into the path of Anthony Leone who converted the rebound from close right to complete his hat-trick. Cardiff’s Carter-Jaice Lloyd was unlucky soon after as he struck the frame of the goal before the Fire were then unable to take advantage of late penalties to Elliot Farrell, Dale Buckland, Conor Redmond and Anthony Leone who ensure there was no more room left at the inn at the penalty box.

So it was a 6-2 win for the Dynamos and one that was largely comfortable but for a sloppy second frame. Anthony Leone took the headlines with his hat-trick, Tomaš Banovský showed speed and good hands on his debut and young goalie Owen Rider looked solid between the posts as the hosts took both points.

Invicta Points: T. Banovsky 0+3, B. Webster 1+1, J. Stedman 1+1, O. Dell 1+0, A. Leone 3+1, E. Farrell 0+1, D. Buckland 0+1, A. Strawson 0+1, R. Giles 0+1

Cardiff Points: C. Basnett 1+0, C. Lloyd 1+0, C. Fox 0+1, J. Haslam 0+1

Netminders:
Invicta: O. Rider – 94.44% (36 shots / 2 goals)
Cardiff: B. Scanlan – 87.50% (48 shots / 6 goals)

Penalty Minutes:
Invicta: 18
Cardiff: 14

Man of the Match:
Invicta: Anthony Leone
Cardiff: Carter-Jaice Lloyd

Written by Paul Bennett

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