Stars win over Invicta
The Oxford City Stars travelled to Kent to face one of the title favourites Invicta Dynamos, in a rink that they have historically not done well in, and they came away with a 6-3 win. Bolstered by the return from injury of Dominic Hopkins and netminder Tom Annetts, Stars gave debuts to new signing Hallam Wilson and loanee Grant Richardson. Coach Simon Anderson decided to change his import pairing with Finn Joonas Liimatainen returning at the expense of Boris Ruzicka. Stars were also without forwards Mike Whillock and Josh Florey.
The opening period saw the home side settle into their work quicker than the visitors and it was Annetts who made a good stop on an Invicta break away. Just as the Stars started playing their own game, the home side scored when Adam Rehak latched onto a Mason Webster pass. Stars upped their work rate and were back on level terms when the hard working Darren Elliott fired home following good work from Dax Hedges. Within 90 seconds Stars took the lead when Alan Green finished off some fine work from Ondrej Pekarik. Stars had further chances to extend their lead but Dynamos netminder, Damian King made three fine saves in quick succession. 1-2 after 20 minutes.
The second period belonged to the Stars, as they played their best hockey of the season, so far. All of the players were working for each other and it was after a fine team passing move that Green netted his second and the team’s third goal. Invicta pushed back but Annetts was equal to everything thrown at him. Ben Nethersall netted the Stars 4th goal when his shot from the blue line, somehow found its way through all of the other players, clipped the inside of the goal post and went in with King no chance of seeing the puck. 1-4 at the end of the second period.
Stars knew that they would have to work really hard in the 3rd period to maintain their lead. The Dynamos hit the post early in the period and Stars were nearly caught out when making a line change, only for Annetts to save the day. Invicta managed their 2nd goal in the 48th minute when Ashley Jackson finished after Webster had won the puck for his team. The Invicta crowd started to believe they were in with a chance, but less than 30 seconds later Stars had restored their three goal lead when Green completed his hat trick. With just under 5 minutes left in the game Green hit his fourth and the Stars 6th goal as Invictas Arran Strawson sat a two minute penalty for interference. The home side hit a consolation marker with just over a minute to go when former Stars player Steve Osman scored. Final score 3-6.
– Ian Dibley