Four goals from man of the match Anthony Leone, a hat-trick from Tomas Banovsky and further efforts from Tom Davis and Juraj Huska saw the Invicta Dynamos sink the Oxford City Stars 9-4 in Gillingham in the NIHL South Division 1 on Saturday night.
Both sides came into the tie with a roster of 14 – Owen Rider and Matthew Croyle were the starting netminders.
In the opening frame the Mos made the perfect start – at 00.44 Juraj Huska found Anthony Leone at the back post who swatted beyond Matthew Croyle from close range to make it 1-0. The hosts then almost added to that lead straight away as Brandon Webster escaped on the breakaway but his effort bounced to safety off of the inside of the right post. The Dynamos were dominating the opening exchanges and so it was against the run of play when the Stars replied at 07.35 – James Eldridge stopping the puck from leaving the offensive zone and finding Theo Bundock alone right in front who fired beyond Owen Rider for 1-1.
The Dynamos were back in front at 09.50 – Richard Harris’ effort from the between the circles was dropped by the netminder and Anthony Leone was the fastest to react with a poke over the line from point blank range for 2-1. That advantage became 3-1 at 14.12 – Tom Ravenscroft was sat in the box for hooking allowing the room for Tomas Banovsky to find Leone on the inner edge of the right circle who turned beyond Croyle to complete his hat-trick- just 13.28 between his first and third goals.
Oxford responded immediately after the restart – James Eldridge claiming the faceoff and slitting the defence before slotting beyond Owen Rider for 3-2. It was then the turn of the Mos to respond straight away – at 14.33 Harrison Lillis picked out Tomas Banovksy in the right circle and he lashed beyond the goalie to restore the two goal cushion. However that gap was cut to 4-3 by the close of the period as the Stars answered again at 18.36 – Theo Bundock found left of the target with the defence backing off allowing him the space to rifle into the top far corner on the backhand to pull the visitors within one.
After a goal heavy opening period, the second was tame in comparison as both sides struggled to carve out good opportunities. Matthew Lawday came closest as he struck the the bar from the left circle before the Mos netted the only strike of the frame in the closing minute. At 39.22 Leone claimed his fourth of the night when Juraj Huska’s cross ice pass teed him up for the back post finish.
5-3 up going into the last, the Dynamos cemented their command of the game quickly into the third – Tomas Banovsky skating the length of the ice down the right channel and then converting beyond Matthew Croyle with a trademark Banovsky solo strike to make it 6-3 at 41.47. The Mos then added a seventh at 46.04 – Tom Davis found with acres of space in the high slot and the utility man firing high over the shoulder of Matthew Croyle to add his name to the list of scorers.
The Stars called a timeout straight after the strike but they they conceded again at 52.56 – Tomas Banovsky outdoing his earlier solo effort with a tremendous hat-trick completing third that saw him charge in behind, sell the netminder a neat dummy and conver on the backhand from close range. Oxford claimed a consolation at 55.29 – Matthew Lawday escaping in behind on the breakaway whilst his team were short handed and catching out Owen Rider with an early slapshot to make it 8-4. But the last of the night came from the hosts – Juraj Huska the last on the scoreboard as Arran Strawson found him left of the target allowing the Slovak to sweep in and seal a comfortable 9-4 victory.
So after weeks without a home win it was finally a taste of victory on home ice for the Mos who dominated the game with the Stars always chasing the tie. Man of the match awards went to four goal hero Anthony Leone of the Dynamos and Theo Bundock of Oxford.