Stars Fight For The Win
The Oxford City Stars played the Invicta Dynamos for the last time this season, and it was a bad-tempered game which saw the home side come out on top.
The Stars won the opening face-off and Alan Green had an immediate chance to score, Josh Oliver then getting the rebound for his own shot, but John Dibble in the Invicta net dived on the puck. Less than a minute into the game the Dynamos were given their first penalty, on Adam McNicoll for hooking. Several shots followed by the Stars but they were unable to take advantage of the Powerplay. After the penalty expired both sides took turns with the puck, Jaroslav Cesky for the Stars having the best chance when he skated unopposed to the Dynamos’ net, but the shot was saved by Dibble. Halfway into the period came the first Stars penalty when Cesky took a seat for a tripping penalty. The Dynamos had a few opportunities to take a Powerplay goal but the Stars then managed to get hold of the puck and had their own shots, most notably one by Joe Edwards which sailed over the opponents’ net. As the period wound down both sides again traded shots, a Matt Jordan chance hitting the back wall and the Dynamos also having their own chances, outshooting the home team in this period. With less than three minutes to go in the period one of the Stars’ shots finally hit the mark, Dax Hedges finding the back of the net with assists from Hallam Wilson and Michael Whillock. The Dynamos stepped up their efforts as the seconds ticked down, and Cesky for the Stars had an opportunity to double the scoreline when he made a shot from right in front of the Dynamos’ net, but as the whistle blew for the end of the period the score remained 1-0 to the Stars.
If momentum had been with the Stars in the first period, the first half of the second period definitely belonged to the Dynamos. The Stars were left scratching their heads as the Dynamos scored three goals in quick succession in the first five minutes of the period. Green had the first chance for the Stars but less than three minutes into the period Steven Osman scored the first goal for the visitors, with assists from Bailey Wootton and Scott Bailey, Osman slotting the puck in behind Tom Annetts in the Stars’ net whilst he was turned to the other side having just stopped a shot from that side. As soon as play began again the Dynamos had another chance, immediately followed by their second goal, being scored by Wootton from close range, the assists this time going to Osman and Mason Webster. An immediate time out was called by the Stars but seemed to be to no avail as a minute later the opposing side doubled their lead, a second goal for Wootton, assisted once again by Webster and Osman, this shot rebounding off Annetts and into the net. The Stars were now playing catch-up, and it was a relief when three minutes later Green managed to get hold of the puck and skate unopposed to the Dynamos’ net, slotting the puck in behind Dibble for the home team’s second goal of the night, assisted by Jake Florey. A fight then broke out between several players but was quickly stopped by the referee, Wootton sitting out a roughing penalty as a result. The Stars then had a few attempts to equalise, but the Powerplay expired and the Dynamos were back to full strength. However, just a few seconds later Jordan surprised Dibble as a shot dribbled past him into the net evening up the game, Wilson with the assist this time. Ben Paynter had a go at putting the home side ahead when he collected a rebound from the Dynamos and skated alone to the net, but it was saved by Dibble. The second half of the period saw both sides with their own chances, including one by Green which sailed over the net, but there was no further scoring and the period ended 3-3.
Both sides came out fired up for the third period, each wanting to take home the points, but the game descended into chaos. The Stars went ahead less than a minute into the period, Dominic Hopkins skating to the very corner just in front of Dibble’s net and slipping the puck in behind him, assisted by Paynter and Cesky. A couple of minutes later Wootton for the Dynamos sat out a cross-checking penalty, with the Stars having several shots on goal as a result, but none connected and then they found themselves on a penalty kill, Whillock in for slashing. Despite this it was Cesky for the Stars with the best chance at adding another goal when he skated unopposed to the opponents’ net, but the shot hit the back wall. The Dynamos had a very brief spell of 5 on 3 hockey when Green was called in for slashing, but despite their best efforts the opposing side could not equalise. Instead it was the Stars who added their fifth goal, a delayed penalty goal, Jesse Lye taking the puck, falling over and sliding along the ice, and hitting the puck into the net in the process from Hopkins and Josh Florey- McNicoll with the delayed penalty for hooking. The Dynamos immediately called a time out. Halfway into the period a Dynamos player shoved one of the Stars, Annetts then shoving him back as he approached the net. Back at the other end, Whillock surprised Dibble by falling and sliding into the net. The visitors then had several chances to score, Dibble coming off briefly as a delayed penalty was indicated, Josh Oliver then entering the penalty box for boarding. After the penalty expired the Stars had several more attempts to add another goal, but with two minutes left in the period tempers flared, Adam Rehak starting a fight with Josh Oliver, both players then getting 2+2 penalties for roughing. With 29 seconds left in the game a fight started between Hedges and Webster, both again ending up with penalties, Webster getting a 10 minute misconduct penalty in addition. As soon as the whistle blew for the next face off the fighting started again, with many players joining in; the ice being littered with helmets and sticks. Whillock and Paynter for the Stars and Wootton and Harrison Lillis for the Dynamos landed the roughing penalties. The remaining few seconds passed without further incident.
Final score Stars 5 Invicta 3, and a well-earned 2 points for the home side.