The Mavericks took to home ice for the first time this season on Saturday 22nd September, when they welcomed the U15 Milton Keynes Storm to Planet Ice Gillingham. The Mavs were boosted by the return of #17 Flynn Hammond to the line-up and were looking to build on their season opening victory against Haringey.
1st Period – From the first puck drop of the game, it was clear that it was going to be a close game between two evenly matched teams, with very few chances created by either side. To the home crowd’s delight, it was Invicta who drew first blood on 5:22 when Mavs’ Captain and #46 Matty Bell stick-handled his way down the right wing and behind the MK net before laying off a nice pass to #15 Olly Wagg, who made no mistake and beat the Storm netminder with a powerful near-post shot. Invicta then presented Milton Keynes with a 5 on 3 opportunity, after #6 Brandon Chard and #35 Ethan Webb both took minor penalties, but a combination of some committed defending and some fine saves from Mavericks goalie #31 Harvey Bryden nullified the visitor’s efforts. The period ended 1-0 to Invicta, despite MK outshooting their hosts.
2nd Period – Invicta came out for the second period looking to extend their lead, but following a couple of missed opportunities, it was the Storm who tied the game up at one goal a piece on 19:25. The Mavericks responded well and re-established their lead on 22:43 when Webb picked up a banked pass off the boards from Bell to race through on the Milton Keynes net and finish confidently on a delayed penalty call against the Storm. Again the visitors pushed for an equaliser and after Bryden denied MK on a breakaway, the Storm rung a shot off the home side's goal, but Invicta held on. Despite the Mavs having a man advantage late in the period, and despite outshooting the Storm in the period, Invicta could not double their lead and the score was Mavericks 2-1 Storm after 30 minutes .
3rd Period – Milton Keynes came out skating hard in the third and final frame, looking to tie the game up. On 32:05 they did just that when a Storm winger took full advantage of an Invicta defensive mistake to skate clear and finish confidently. Midway through the period the game turned on its head for the Mavericks when an MK forward fell onto Bryden during a goalmouth melee. The Invicta netminder was clearly in discomfort following the incident, but with no dressed back-up goalie, Bryden bravely continued between the Mavs’ pipes. The Mavericks skaters tried valiantly to protect their goalie but could not prevent MK taking the lead for the first time on 37:42. Invicta were clearly rattled and distracted by their goalie’s plight, and this resulted in the Storm quickly doubling their lead on 37:51, to make the score 4-2 in the visitor’s favour. Bryden left the ice and was replaced in goal by centreman Webb, who was the most experienced goalie on the bench, having previously played in net when he was five! Invicta tried to find a way to both protect their back-up goalie and push for a goal and were unlucky when centreman Chard saw his snapshot deflect just wide. Webb made some confident catches in the Invicta goal, but could do nothing about the final Milton Keynes goal on 44:40, which secured both points for the Storm.
FINAL: Invicta Mavericks 2-5 Milton Keynes Storm
A tough loss for the Mavericks who were battling hard in a close game until their netminder was injured.
Man of the Match: #15 Olly Wagg
Spirit of the Game: #35 Ethan Webb
The Mavericks play their next game at home on Saturday 29th September, when they welcome the U15 Haringey Hounds to Planet Ice Gillingham (Face Off: 4:15)
(Pictures courtesy of Feather Webb)