Joe Rand celebrates one of his two goals. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
ICE HOCKEYWightlink Raiders 7, Invicta Dynamos 4
RAIDERS blew away the Christmas cobwebs with a comprehensive home victory over fallen league dictators Invicta Dynamos at Ryde Arena on Saturday night.
Clashes with the all-conquering Dynamos in years gone by have always been met with a sense of fear, but this year their crown as one of the strongest sides in English National League Division 1 has slipped slightly.
And the Raiders pounced on it with a ruthless performance.
The Island side dominated this match from start to finish and although Dynamos got four goals on the board they never threatened. Raiders’ attacking force of Joe Rand, Richard Facey and Grant Rounding were untouchable, and they put their stamp on the game just three minutes in when Rand slammed home a rebounded shot.
Five minutes later, after pressurising the Dynamos’ net since the first goal, they scored again, Nathan Taylor scrambling in, with assists from Dominic Hopkins and Arran Strawson.
Their third, scored in the 14th minute, was a cracker, beginning behind the Raiders’ net when veteran defenceman Steve Gannaway put in a great hit on a Dynamos’ player. This led a counter attack with Rand and Facey setting up Conor Pollard for a lovely goal.
Dynamos got off the mark two minutes from the buzzer but it was all about the hosts.
The second period followed much the same pattern as the first, with Raiders piling on the pressure and Dynamos scoring from counter-attacking opportunities. Raiders’ two goals from Hopkins sandwiched an Invicta effort to leave the scores at 5-2.
An early goal from Dynamos in the third period put the side to within two goals but almost immediately Raiders responded with an extraordinary goal, scored from within the Raiders’ own half by man of the match Taylor, as Dynamos’ goalkeeper Andy Moffat — who was off form all night — was caught napping.
Rand snatched another rebound goal with ten minutes left and although Dynamos had the final say on the scoring, netting at 50.17, it was scant consolation.
Raiders should have played Oxford City Stars on Sunday but the Oxford side folded over the Christmas period following the dismissal of their coach and a mass exodus of players after this.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the side host bottom team Streatham Redskins at Ryde Arena. Face-off is at 6pm.