GILLINGHAM, UK – Any remaining title ambitions for the Invicta Dynamos were all but extinguished on Saturday night as opponents Streatham fought back from 6-2 down to draw 6-6 and deny the full two points needed to keep up the chase.
The game started well enough for the home side in Gillingham – the Mos lighting the lamp at 06.37 to secure the breakthrough and the 1-0 edge. Juraj Huska skipped in from the left boards and passed up a clear shot at net to tee up Andy Smith for the simple far post finish on the backhand. The Redskins then attempted a reply – James Warman unlucky to rattle the post with a low drive through traffic and a 2-on-1 counter including Harrison Lillis and Joe Allen ending with Lillis firing into the mask of netminder Davey Jackson. They would rue those missed opportunities late in the frame – the Dynamos doubling their edge at 17.08 when Marek Nahlik’s low wrist shot from the slot had just enough power to slip under the pads of Aaron Taylor for 2-0. It was an advantage that held until the break in an encounter that had so far been lacking intensity.
In the second period the Redskins replied as early as 22.32 – Joe Allen was afforded far too much time and space in the left circle and he made it count with a drive through the 5-hole of Davey Jackson for 2-1. The two goal cushion was swiftly restored though – the clock showing 24.32 when Callum Fowler sent Juraj Huska in down the wing and the Slovak wound up for a slapshot that sneaked between the pads of Aaron Taylor and his near post. Once again Streatham looked to muster a reply but the frame of the goal did them few favours for the second time in the game – Joe Allen’s one-timer from the high slot smashing the base of the left upright. Down the other end the Mos had more success – a 2-on-1 counter ending when Andy Smith swept across the crease to Juraj Huska on the back stick and the Slovak turned in for his second of the night at 31.24. Now 4-1 up the Dynamos then gifted their visitors a route back into the tie – 35.10 the moment when Arran Strawson was guilty of a defensive giveaway that left Michal Oravec bearing down on goal – the import finding the bottom left corner to cut the deficit to 4-2. The blue liner would swiftly make amends though – Strawson completing a mazy skate that split the Streatham back line, took him across the crease and saw him tuck in on the backhand from left of the target. It was a forward’s finish and one that, coming at 38.08, ensured the Mos led 5-2 come the second intermission.
Following the puck drop in the final frame the Redskins quickly found themselves in penalty trouble and the Dynamos made it count for a commanding four goal edge. With Joe Allen sitting for hooking, Andy Smith picked out Juraj Huska in the slot and the Slovak took two touches – one to control and the other to smash beyond Aaron Taylor to make it 6-2 at 45.16. The visitors then took another blow shortly after – quite literally in the case of netminder Taylor who took a venomous Marek Nahlik slapshot to the mask that left him dazed and unable to continue. Back-up Stefan Nubert took his place between the posts perhaps fearing the worst but he then had the best seat in the house as his team began to claw their way back from four goals down. At 49.35 the visitors made it 6-3 – Joe Allen’s shot from the blue line the start of a pinball effect that saw the puck bounce off of Davey Jackson and then forward from Sean Scarbrough – landing perfectly for him to sweep in from right of net with the goalie already grounded. At 54.06 a penalty to Nicky Lewis then allowed the visitors another – this time Scarbrough following up a Dominic Hopkins effort that Jackson had initially palmed away but just not far enough from the lethal American. If the Mos were now starting to feel the pressure then that only worsened at 55.20 when Streatham added yet another. Joe Allen was again left unmarked on the edge of the crease and the former Dynamo made the most of his position – forcing under the pads of Davey Jackson from point blank range to make it 6-5. By now memories of the cup semi-final comeback were at the forefront of the mind and, when the visitors pulled goalie Stefan Nubert with a minute to go, the equaliser seemed an inevitability. With the clock showing 59.03, Callum Best found Steve Fisher and the Welshman finished from close left to secure the 6-6 draw.
So it was another disappointing tie for the Dynamos who surrendered a commanding edge to give up any remaining hopes of claiming the league title in 2013/14. Juraj Huska was the pick of the home side with three goals and two assists whilst Joe Allen took the man of the match honours for Streatham with a three point night.
With Invicta Dynamos game report