It took a man of the game for Solent goalkeeper Christian Cole to stop the Dynamos from continuing their 100% start to the season with the stopper saving 52 efforts on his net to rob the hosts of what would have been a deserved win.
The Mos lacked numbers with Tom Davis, Tomas Banovsky, Ben Clements and Billy Woods all not icing while the Devils, missing a few themselves, still outnumbered their opponents.
In the first quarter, the visitors got off to a perfect start – just 18 seconds into the puck fell right on Ralfs Circenis on the inside edge of the right circle and he slammed into the far post to take the lead from the start. That advantage was doubled at 1:39 am – Mason Webster sat in the box as Circenis found Elliot Lewis on the left wing and Lewis covered goalie Owen Rider from the same position his teammate had counted moments before.
In danger of falling already out of sight, the Mos retaliated instantly – the clock stopped at 2:14 am when Mason Webster rounded the back of the net then fed Matt Foord at close range and he fell back to the beyond Christian Cole to reduce the deficit to 2-1. For the remainder of the period, the hosts then dominated the Solent’s net draw, but Cole held on to allow the Devils to return to the locker room with a slightly fortuitous lead.
In the second frame, the Dynamos picked up where they left off and were ultimately rewarded at 26.28. Daniel Lackey sat up a minor crash allowing Juraj Huska to find plenty of room in the high lunge and whip high in traffic and over Christian Cole’s shoulder for 2-2. At 28.44, the hosts then led – Huska was man on target again as he crossed the lunge and then fell back inside the near post past the blind keeper in the right circle.
Solent attempted to retaliate but Owen Rider held up well to the efforts of Elliot Lews and Daniel Lackey whom he denied at close range. At the end of the frame, temperaments then briefly flared up as Jack Flynn pushed Ralfs Circenis, causing a brutal match with Alex Murray. Flynn took minors for slash and harshness while Murray sat one for just harshness, giving the Devils a power play before the last one.
This extra man in the final frame immediately proved the difference as Solent tied the tie at 41.26 – a shot from the blue line from Ben Lock diverted the batting from Juraj Huska who closed him and flew over – beyond Owen Rider who had been left with no luck. One goal was quickly followed by another – a neat reverse pass from Oscar Evans freed Elliot Lewis and he manipulated the stick around Rider’s attempted intervention before coming home for the 4-lead – 3.
After falling behind, the Mos pushed hard for another goal, but Christian Cole was in stubborn form – stealing Matt Foord, then Juraj Huska, then Ashley Jackson and finally Brandon Webster. Although they were largely blocked, the Devils were still dangerous with their pace on the clock and a great read was required from Owen Rider to thwart Ralfs Circenis as he escaped into the breakaway.
In the final minutes Joshua Condren was also thwarted from close to the right, Anthony Leone shot wide on the stretch after escaping behind defense and Cole then froze play in a frenzied rush into his crease. The leveler looked like he could come up at the very last second as the puck fell towards Mason Webster just in front of the buzzer, but play jumped its stick and time passed to give the visitors the victory.
It was a frenetic and entertaining game of hockey and the Mos, although disappointed to lose points, should be delighted with their pace of work and their presence in the game despite the number of missing bodies. For Solent – maybe they were lucky enough to get away with the colon.
Match report by Invicta Dynamos