Late fightback not enough to wound Wildcats
A defiant late rally was not enough to claw some points for the Invicta Dynamos on Saturday night as they fell 7-4 at the paws of the Swindon Wildcats in the NIHL South Division 1.
The Mos made the trip over to Swindon minus their captain Arran Strawson but were able to recall Mason Webster after he sat out the previous week. Starting in the nets was John Dibble.
The opening period saw the worst possible start for Dibble – the goalie picking the puck out of the back of the net after only 21 seconds once Phil Hill had dispatched past him following a pass from Stephen Whitfield. Despite the early setback the Mos dug deep and a powerplay awarded on 02.35 gave them hope – Tommy Ralph registering the best attempt with his slapshot which home netminder Renny Marr saved. The visitors themselves then had to kill a powerplay when George Hoang got 2 minutes in the penalty box for interference – the Wildcats frustrated as Dibble and his defence held firm. A further Dynamos powerplay came when Callum Fowler was hooked by Phil Hill but this too came to very little however was just a taste of what was to follow. Floyd Taylor’s spray at Dibble had him sent to the box and the visitors pulled the scores level on 11.47 through Scott Bailey’s first of the season – assists coming from Tommy Ralph and Adam Řehák. Exactly 4 minutes later the Wildcats restored their lead – Chris Jones finding the net after Dibble pushed out an initial shot by Aaron Nell. A double save by Dibble then frustrated Nell and Whitfield before the end of the 1st period.
The second period started with the Mos the better side with Renny Marr pulling out an important double save to prevent Řehák and then Louis Colvin. The Dynamos also had a 5-on-3 after Chris Jones slashed at Mason Webster before the Wildcats iced too many men. A long drive by Ondrej Zošiak and a close range effort by Řehák was the closest the Mos came to moving level. Hostility raised when referee Stephen Matthews then missed a blatant elbow to the face of Tommy Ralph in the 31st minute, much to the annoyance of the travelling supporters. However, the Mos fans were celebrating on 32.59 after Adam Rehak squeezed a shot underneath the reach of Marr for 2-2 – assists for Mason Webster and Louis Colvin. Despite the celebtations it took under a minute for the Wildcats to edge back in front through Jordan Kelsall, assisted by Maxim Birbraer. That lead was then doubled on 35.29 – Maxim Birbraer turning goalscorer this time with Kelsall in on the assist. With the score at 4-2 the Mos started to look shaky whilst closing the period and before they knew it they fell further behind on 36.19 – Jan Kostal feeding off a subline past from Nell to drill home.
The final period had the Wildcats almost increase their 5-2 lead when Chris Jones rattled Dibbles’ crossbar. Dibble was kept busy not long after, denying Jones again and also Phil Hill. It took 5 minutes into the period for the Dynamos to register a shot via Callum Fowler and a further chance also fell the way of Josh Condren but neither could grab a strike back. In fact it was the Wildcats who would claim the next goal – Chris Jones making it 6-2 on 46.15 in a move involving Kostal and Nell. Kostal then put the Wildcats 5 goals clear when he placed the puck past Dibble for 7-2 on 48.40. With the Wildcats feeling they had the game wrapped-up they swapped netminders – Matthew Smital getting to play the final 8 minutes. The Mos fans were probably fearing the worst when Ondrej Zosiak was adjusted to have checked his opponent from behind on 5.:02 meaning the import got a penalty of 2+10 minutes which ended his night. The visitors however had the better of the final 5 minutes – Mason Webster took the attack to the Wildcats on 55.56 and having been found on the left flank, Tommy Ralph hit a screamer into the corner of the net for 7-3. Sam Zajac’s high stick on Mason Webster in the 57th minute put the Mos on a powerplay which they took advantage from with Callum Fowler flicking the puck beyond Smital for 7-4 on 58.41 – assists from Adam Rehak and Harrison Lillis.
So it was a defeat for the Mos but they can take heart from a spirited fightback. Man of the match went to the hardworking Seb Downing.
Written by Lee Allen.