The Under 9 Invicta Bucks travelled to the Lee Valley Lions for their cross-ice tournament on Saturday 23rd February. Due to the Chelmsford Cherokees being seriously short-benched, Invicta lent a hand with Aurora Dobbs, Zack Beale, Nicholas Pera-Hall, Taylor Edwards and James Stanmore all donning yellow and black jerseys to dress for Chelmsford. For James Stanmore it was his first ever stint in goal.
The first game of the afternoon saw the Bucks take on hosts Lee Valley. Lee Valley were quick from the outset and William Lake reacted quickly in defence as he managed to force a Lee Valley Lions shot wide. Foreman scooped up the loose puck and drove it into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. The Lions took advantage of a line change and forced Charlie Duncan-Woolard to save a shot from the right wing. Harry Innes skated up the centre to pass to Oliver Banks who was ready and waiting. Banks turned and made an attempt at goal that saw Lions’ Tendie stretch to save it. Jacob Varney held his own in defence and managed to take possession finding a team mate to take it up the centre. Albie East seized the puck but was unable to find space. Annie East dispossessed Lee Valley and made a great cross to Ben Tancsics who shot on target but was unable to beat the Tendie’s quick reaction. Toby Hoggins passed to Tancsics who passed to Annie East who had to take the puck round the back of the goal to find space. Unfortunately, the Lions defence were able to regain possession. The Bucks worked tirelessly with Ellis Hill passing to Lake who shot wide as did Benjamin Bates after securing a pass from Banks. Duncan-Woolard was called upon to save a close up shot and did so with his usual poise and skill. Bates continued to pound away and finally scored. Annie East fought for the puck at face off and passed to Tancsics who made a run up the right. Tancsics was unlucky again as his shot was smothered by the Lions’ defence. Lake shot but was slightly wide and Bates picked up the rebound from the boards and tucked the puck neatly in the goal. Bates worked with Innes and Banks who had another shot saved. Hoggins took possession and skated with the puck towards the goal but unfortunately the buzzer went for line change. Lake picked up the puck and passed to a waiting Foreman who shot but the Tendie was ready to glove it. Foreman received another accurate pass from Innes but was again unable to get it in the net. Varney and Ellis Hill worked together to move the puck up the ice but the Lee Valley defence had other ideas. Lee Valley took possession but Tancsics stood firm in defence and was able to once again take control. Another line change saw Foreman fly onto the ice and score a tremendous goal. Lee Valley responded with a goal of their own. It was a good start to the tournament and the Bucks were raring to go.
The Romford Raiders were next to face the Bucks. Foreman was quick off the mark and took possession, but Romford were quick to respond and had the first attempt at goal. Duncan-Woolard’s steady hands were at the ready and he secured the puck safely in his glove. Romford continued to dominate play despite some great movement and passing from Banks and Bates. Tancsics stayed strong in defence helping Duncan-Wollard to keep the puck out. Hill sent a flying pass to Foreman who had his shot blocked. It was Romford who broke the deadlock with a shot that landed in the back of the net. Hoggins and Albie East kept possession but were soon overshadowed by the Raiders who took possession and scored. After a shift change, Xenxo Dobbs hurried onto the ice and shot at goal but was denied by a block. Hill also had a chance with the deflection but was also denied. The efforts from the Bucks remained relentless, with Banks, Innes and Bates once again working well to get a goal. Annie East and Tancsics dominated play with solid defending. Annie attempted a wraparound goal but was unable to trick the Raiders’ netminder. Lake had a breakaway but his shot was also saved. Bates drove home a powerful shot that ricocheted off the goalie’s helmet. Innes was quick to scoop up the deflection but was unsuccessful with his shot. Duncan-Woolard responded quickly when a shot from Romford looked likely to reach the top right-hand corner. It was Bates who had the final say of the game, with a belter of a goal that left the Raiders’ goaltender montionless. Despite a tough game, the Bucks had shown strength and zest and scored great goals.
Finally the Bucks took on the Chelmsford Cherokees (with a large smattering of Invicta players). Everyone was interested to see how James Stanmore would fare as Net minder and it was clear from the onset that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with, with some early confident saves. Foreman opened proceedings by taking possession from face off. Foreman passed to Annie East who was dispossessed by Zack Beale., who in turn was dispossessed by Hill. Varney passed to Banks who passed back to Varney who hit the pipes. Undeterred, Varney managed to secure the puck from Zack Beale but was unable to find the goal. Innes showed a great display of defending against his usual team mates and was able to get the puck to Albie East who passed to Lake. Unfortunately, Lake was surrounded by yellow and black jerseys and was dispossessed of the puck. Beale showed great stick handling and powered a shot that Duncan-Woolard came out to save. Taylor Edwards intercepted a pass by Lake and shot wide. Nicholas Pera-Hall found the puck and passed to Beale who again tested his usual team mate, Duncan-Woolard. Duncan-Woolard remained calm and quickly smothered the puck. Pera-Hall then took the puck from Banks and Bates was quick to retrieve and sent a shot flying towards the goal but hit the pipes. Varney was quick to react and collected the rebound to place the puck between Stanmore’s pads – his 1st goal for Invicta! Well done! The game continued being end to end. Beale, Aurora Dobbs and Taylor Edwards defended solidly and also attacked with speed and skill. Stanmore stayed strong in goal despite a torrent of shots from Hill, Annie East and Xenxo Dobbs. Hill managed to work the puck and sent a shot into the top right hand corner that Stanmore was unable to save. Aurora Dobbs found space after collecting a pass from Edwards but her shot was saved by Duncan-Woolard. Chelmsford kept applying pressure and Edwards had a magnificent chance saved. The Bucks kept up and Lake passed to Hoggins who passed to Albie East who was unlucky with his shot. Innes scored the last goal of the game for the Bucks, whilst Beale got another for Chelmsford. It had been an interesting game with great performances all round.
Man of the Match for the day was awarded to Jacob Varney and Toby Hoggins took home the accolade for Spirit of the Match. James Stanmore was presented with Man of the Match for his remarkable debut as Net Minder for Chelmsford. Well done boys!!