December 5 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Lee Power reports from Silver Blades Ice Rink
Invicta 4 Romford Raiders 6
Raiders have one foot in the ENL play-off final after a hard-fought win in Gillingham tonight.
Shaun Yardley’s goal, with only four seconds left, gave Danny Marshall’s men a two-goal cushion to take back to Rom Valley Way on Sunday.
But the league champions were made to work hard for their victory by a resurgent Invicta side.
The hosts started well, with Romford’s Michael Gray the busier of the two goalies and called upon to make a good glove save from Justin Noble early on.
A holding call against Peter Beerling, for a grab at Juraj Huska, gave Raiders the first powerplay of the night but after Andrius Kaminskas saw his slapshot held by Andy Moffat, Gray had to make three good saves to deny shorthanded Dynamos.
Gray robbed Ryan Ellis in close and also thwarted Andy Smith and Noble, but he was beaten in the 14th minute.
Tim Smith attacked on the left wing, before a good hit from Billy Phillips stopped him in his tracks, and Ellis beat Gray to the loose puck before slipping it into the net from a tight angle.
Raiders were back on level terms less than three minutes later, though, when Julian Smith’s pass found Huska in space on the right wing and he sent a low shot inside the far post.
Noble fanned on a good chance in close, before Kaminskas was called for cross-checking. But Gray held on to Jack Tarczycki’s slapshot and kicked out a quick release from Noble to keep the scores level.
Raiders took the lead early in the middle period when captain Anthony Leone fanned on a shot on the right and AJ Smith pounced on the loose puck to set up Matt Turner at the far post for a tap-in.
Gray spared Tyrone Miller’s blushes when he turned the puck over to Ellis in a dangerous position, after a slashing call against Tarczycki, before Tim Smith was called for slashing Huska.
AJ Smith and Billy Phillips got involved in some pushing and shoving with Invicta rivals behind Moffat’s net, though, and a possible Romford 5-on-3 became a 4-on-4, and then a powerplay for the hosts.
To make matters worse, Huska was called for tripping to give the hosts a two-man advantage, but Gray denied Noble from Callum Fowler’s feed, before Corey Watkins was binned for boarding after a nasty looking hit on Julian Smith.
Phillips and Yardley got back well to break up an attack involving Fowler and Andy Smith and Raiders went 3-1 up on the powerplay when Turner won a face-off on the left and AJ Smith cut across ice to send a backhand shot past Moffat.
Dynamos hit back within a minute, though, after Grant Taylor was given a 2+10 penalty for checking from behind, as Tim Smith pounced on a rebound, after Gray kept out the initial shot.
Moffat kicked out Leone’s shot, after a good pass from Phillips, before a crazy spell saw hits flying in from all angles.
Ryan Giles tried to goad Julian Smith into dropping the gloves at one point, without any luck, and Gray made further good saves from Ellis and Noble backhands, before Yardley’s lofted pass sent Huska into space on the left and his hard shot was held by Moffat.
Raiders had the first chance of the final session, as Yardley’s slapshot was kicked out by Moffat. But Invicta then turned the match on its head.
A quick shot from Ellis, following a face-off on the right, beat Gray to level it up and the Raiders goalie had to be at his best to thwart Ellis and Andy Smith on the very next shift.
Marshall called a timeout to settle his troops, but Fowler had the puck in the net seconds after the restart only for referee Will Hewitt to disallow it.
A frustrated Fowler clashed with AJ Smith, both earning roughing minors, before Huska pinged a shot off Moffat’s mask.
Marshall then sent a great chance over, before Invicta countered through Adam Copland on the left wing and his shot found the far top corner to put Dynamos 4-3 up.
The lead lasted barely a minute before Yardley fired goalwards from the right wing and, as a stray Invicta stick caused confusion, he collected his own rebound to score.
And two minutes on from that, Raiders regained the lead when AJ Smith and Marshall worked the puck out of a corner and it reached the left point, where Tyrone Miller - of all people! - sent a stunning shot back through a crowd and into the net.
Raiders did a pretty good job of keeping possession, minimising chances and running down the clock in the time that remained and got the added bonus of a sixth goal in the dying stages.
Huska broke into the Invicta zone to force Moffat into a save with a backhand shot and man of the match Yardley was following up to bundle the loose puck into the net to the delight of the Raiders fans at that end of the rink.