GILLINGHAM, UK – The Invicta Dynamos ended their Southeast Trophy challenge in winning fashion on Saturday night as goals from Shaun Wild (2), Marek Nahlik (2), Andy Smith, Anthony Leone and man of the match Juraj Huska saw them overcome the London Raiders 7-5.
The hosts were minus Chris Douglas, Callum Fowler, Ryan Giles and Shaun Yardley coming into the tie but still started the stronger against 13 man London – the home side lighting the lamp on the powerplay at 03.45. Daniel Hammond rounded the back of the net before teeing up the on-rushing Shaun Wild in the slot who drilled in with a one-timer for the early 1-0 lead. That edge could have been doubled soon after but Andy Smith’s attempt to convert on the breakaway saw him ring the crossbar to the relief of goalie Michael Gray. The Raiders then came into the tie later on in the frame but Jakub Klima spurned a gilt edged chance at the back post whilst AJ Smith saw his wrist effort from the slot turned over the top via the shoulder of Davey Jackson.
In the second period London quickly levelled after the restart – 22.37 the moment when Billy Phillips set up younger brother Charlie for the far post finish to make it 1-1. Despite Phillips the senior then finding his way to the box for tripping, the Raiders went on to secure a 2-1 lead whilst shorthanded – Jakub Klima countering up the ice, sweeping across goal and tucking inside the right upright at 27.36. The former Dynamo only succeeded in firing the hosts back into life though and they would answer three times ahead of the break to lead 4-2 with 40 minutes gone. The first of the trio came at 28.38 – a great one-touch move between Marek Nahlik, Andy Smith and Daniel Hammond ending with the Slovak thumping home from the right circle. At 33.18 they then made the most of a roughing minor to Tom Davis – the hosts cycling the puck in the final third before Shaun Wild picked out Smith in space in the centre and he did the rest from between the circles. Finally, at 38.24, the Mos shrugged off a slashing minor to Chris Cooke – Arran Strawson sending Juraj Huska through on the breakaway and the Slovak sniper skipping left and tucking in high on the backhand to lead 4-2.
In the final period the Dynamos increased their lead to 5-2 as early as 41.13 – Andy Smith chasing down a long pass up the ice, rounding the back of the net and teeing up Marek Nahlik for the poke home from the edge of the crease. The Raiders would answer quickly though – Danny Marshall finding Frankie Harvey close right and the London forward forcing a point blank effort through the 5-hole to cut the deficit to 5-3 at 43.36. Their comeback hopes then suffered a major blow midway through as Billy Phillips checked Chris Cooke face first into the plexi – the visiting blue liner given 2+10 for the offence but declining to accept his punishment. Phillips initially refused to leave the ice before finally retreating to the penalty box to serve his sentence where he deliberately snapped his stick. Drama over, the Dynamos then made the most of a 5-on-3 powerplay – Juraj Huska finding Shaun Wild in acres of space rushing to the crease and the defenceman turning in off of the near post to make it 6-3. To their credit, the Raiders then rallied and they answered twice to ensure a tense finale. The first of the pair came at 51.48 – Nicky Lewis losing out to Frankie Harvey on the opposition’s blue line and Harvey flying up the ice before firing through the 5-hole for 6-4. At 56.00 Harvey then completed his hat-trick – a shot from the right circle being partially blocked by Davey Jackson but the netminder was unable to prevent it looping over his head and across the line for 6-5. A nervy few minutes inevitably followed but the Dynamos ensured victory as late as 59.59 – Michael Gray leaving an empty net as he was pulled for the extra attacker allowing Anthony Leone to watch on as his long backhand clearance arrowed into the target to seal a 7-5 victory.
So it was a return to winning ways for the Mos albeit with a far from exceptional performance. The hosts did just about enough to see off the battling Raiders ahead of Sunday’s road trip to Solent & Gosport. Man of the match awards went to Juraj Huska of the home side whilst hat-trick hero Frankie Harvey took the honours for London.