Chelmsford Chieftains had a busy weekend on the ice in both league and cup action.
On Saturday they travelled to Invicta to face the Dynamos in a league and cup double. Points were going towards both NIHL Division 1 South league and cup competitions. In the Chieftains net was the previous week’s shot stopping hero Michael Gray. In the Dynamos net an ex-Chieftains favourite Ben Clements who made the move across the Thames in the summer.
It was the Dynamos that took an early advantage when Slovakian Juraj Huska skated from his own half catching the Chieftains defence cold and back-handed the puck high into the Chieftains net at 3:48. The home team pressed hard to build on their lead but both Gray and his defensive wall held firm.
Chieftains started to come into the game and at 9:34 they were level. Grant Bartlett with a fierce snapshot from the point. Clements failed to hold and James Pentecost was lurking just in front of the crease and poked the loose puck home.
It was end to end with both sides having chances but it was the Dynamos that celebrated once more at 16:51, Ashley Jackson firing the puck home after a scramble around the Chieftains net. The period ended 2-1 with everything still to play for.
The 2nd started badly form Chieftains as Jackson stretched the Dynamos lead to 3-1, but Chieftains refused to lie down and came straight back. At 28:55 Cameron Bartlett slapshot was pushed onto the post from Clements, but from the rebound Andrew Munroe made no mistake and the away fans were celebrating at 3-2.
But two minutes later that man Huska quietened the travelling Black ’n’ Gold Army when he pounced on a lonely puck that had escaped from the Chieftains defence. The period ended with Dynamos leading 4-2 but there was still twenty minutes of ice time remaining.
In the final period Chieftains came out all guns blazing and Cameron Bartlett went close, but the Dynamo took full advantage of the gaps and Brandon Webster skated in on net, Gray saved but couldn’t cover the puck and Mason Webster looked as if it was game over at 5-2.
Chieftains didn’t lose faith and once again attacked the Dynamo’s defensive zone. At 53.43 Chieftains had their first powerplay chance of the game. It took only 25 seconds for the Chieftains to punish the Dynamos. Cameron Bartlett smashed a slapshot on the blue line and the puck was deflected off of Darren Brown’s stick as he screened Clements from getting a clear view. Now 5-3 with just six minutes remaining. The home fans began to feel apprehensive and with just 46 seconds remaining Chieftains lit the goal lamp again. James Ayling danced through the Dynamo defence and beat Clements at close range.
Chieftains pulled Gray which gave them an extra skater as they searched for the equaliser, but it was not to be. A 5-4 win for Invicta but Chieftains can hold their heads up high after such a great game.
On Sunday it was back to Riverside for the London Cup encounter with Raiders Juniors from Romford. Gray was rested and Sonny Phillips took his place between the posts.
Chieftains dominated a penalty filled game which saw them take maximum points in the first London Cup encounter. Matt Turner top scored for the Chieftains with two goals with further strikes coming from Grant Bartlett, James Pentecost and Liam Chong. Raiders Vilius Krakauskas scored their solitary goal, but Chieftains were on great form and fully deserved the 5-1 victory.
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