Despite giving their all, the Invicta Dynamos narrowly missed out on claiming the NIHL Southern Cup on Sunday night.
Going into the 2nd leg against the Chelmsford Chieftains, the Essex side came to Kent with a 4-3 lead after Saturday night’s entertaining encounter and therefore went into the game as favourites.
With a packed house and a raucous atmosphere, the clash was set up perfectly and again it didn’t disappoint.
The Dynamos came out of the traps hard buoyed by the return of Ashley Jackson and could have easily opened the scoring in the opening minutes had it not been for Sonny Phillips in the Chelmsford goal.
At the other end, Damien King had to be alert time and time again to prevent the Chieftains from extending their lead.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 17th minute as Nicky Lewis bundled home after good work from Bradley Gutridge.
It seemed as if the Dynamos had doubled their lead with just two seconds left on the clock with Callum Fowler claiming the goal, but after much deliberation, the officials decided the puck hadn’t in fact crossed the line.
With the tie all square going into the second period and the lights not in full effect after the rink removed some of the light coloured panels in the week, the Dynamos knew they’d have to be on their top form to deny Chelmsford.
However, it wasn’t to be and yet again the second period woes for the Dynamos continued.
It took until the 37th minute for Chelmsford to score though and it came when they were shorthanded with the ever dangerous Juraj Huska dancing down the ice before slamming home past King.
A fight involving Mason Webster got the fans out of their seats moments later, but with Harrison Lillis sitting for a two minute holding penalty, the visitors made it 2-1 on the night as Jake Sylvester rounded off a great move involving Huska.
Knowing they needed a big final twenty minutes, the Dynamos went all out on the attack, but it cost them dear in the 44th minute as they overcommited allowing Brandon Aycliffe to score with Grant Bartlett joining him on a 2 on 1 venture forward.
Now needing three goals to pull level, the Dynamos tried all they could, but could only muster one more goal, Lewis grabbing his second of the night in the 47th minute, making full use of a powerplay with Steve Osman and Elliott Dewey assisting.
With around a minute to go, the Dynamos pulled King in an unlikely attempt to find two more goals, but it was to be in vain as Chelmsford twice hit the goal frame before scoring into the empty net with eight seconds left on the clock, Grant Bartlett the scorer.
In the end the 8-5 aggregate score reflects Chelmsford’s dominance over the two games, but doesn’t tell the whole story as the Dynamos more than held their own over the majority of the 120 minutes.
The Dynamos must now pick themselves up for the play-offs with Milton Keynes Thunder coming to Gillingham on Saturday night before heading to MK on Sunday for the 2nd leg.
Pictures supplied by David Trevallion.