The Invicta Dynamos lost out 7-1 to Streatham IHC in the first leg of the NIHL Southern Cup Final in Gillingham on Saturday night as a number of key absences caused by injury, covid and suspensions left the team struggling to compete with the current league leaders.
Coming into the tie the Mos were without Billy Phillips, Ashley Jackson, Juraj Huska, Henry Aiken, Matt Foord and Joshua Condren. Arran Strawson made his first appearance following his return to the club. Ben Clements stood between the posts for the hosts whilst Tom Annetts was in goal for the visitors.
The opening frame saw an early onslaught from Streatham who looked to take control of the tie from the off. After seeing a couple of early chances denied they broke the deadlock at 03.18 – Brandon Miles sending a wrist shot at net from the blue line that diverted following an attempted interception by Tom Davis and eluded Ben Clements to trickle under his leg and over the line. At 03.39 that lead was then extended – Ryan Watt slipping the puck through the legs of Tommy Ralph to go clear down the left and then slotting low inside the near post with a well placed finish for 2-0.
The Mos hit back at 05.52 to suggest Streatham may not have it all their own way – Tommy Ralph’s shot from the left was saved by Tom Annetts and the puck then got lost in the skates of Andrew Cook with Richard Harris the first to find it and stab home from right in front to make it 2-1. However no sooner had the celebrations ended than the visitors had struck again – at 06.27 Harrison Lillis was robbed in the right circle by Ryan Watt allowing him a pass across the crease which Ivan Antonov tucked over the line for 3-1.
Tempers then flared at 07.57 – Mason Webster landing a solid hit against the boards that Brandon Miles took issue with and the two heavyweights ditching the gloves to go toe-to-toe. Webster landed some good early shots but Miles finished the stronger before the two were finally pulled apart after a lengthy bout. At 10.18 it was then 4-1 – Michael Farn’s long dump up the ice padded wide by Ben Clements but Ivan Antonov was on to it first and his flick found Ben Ealey-Newman alone close left for a finish that put his side well in control.
In response Anthony Leone came close to cutting into the deficit as he jinked his way around two players for a sight of net close left but his effort hit the handle of Tom Annetts’ leaving the Mos trailing 4-1 come the break.
In the second frame Streatham added a fifth quickly – at 21.22 Michael Farn stepped forward from the left side of the blue line and dispatched a wrist shot over the shoulder of Ben Clements and in off the bar for the four goal cushion. They would have quickly added more to their tally but Clements stood firm whilst facing a lot of shots with the Mos struggling to gain any control. He would be beaten again at 33.43 though – a spell on the powerplay ended when Farn’s diagonal found Danny Ingoldsby alone in the right circle and he lifted over the netminder to make it 6-1.
The final frame saw a significant drop in pace with Streatham having already done enough to secure a first leg lead and the Mos now paying the price for a shortbench with fatigue. Despite this the hosts had their moments in the period – Tomas Banovsky almost going coast-to-coast twice and then later being thwarted by the post before Richard Harris was denied with a goal bound flick from the edge of the crease.
The only goal of the frame would come at 52.43 – Samuel Waller sent the puck to goal from the left side of the blue line and Thomas Beesley managed the faintest of redirects right in front to leave Ben Clements no chance and make it 7-1.
So it was a sizeable defeat for the Dynamos who were always facing an uphill battle facing the league’s strongest squad with so many key faces missing. The work rate was present but the hosts were unable to compete with the offensive ability of their opponents who now went into the second leg with one hand already on the trophy. Man of the match awards went to Billy Woods of the Mos and Ryan Watt of Streatham.