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Weekend wins keep Chieftains riding high
4:03pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
ICE HOCKEY: After a nervy start the Chelmsford Chieftains showed great heart to comeback and win in convincing fashion on Sunday night at the Riverside thanks to a James Ayling hat-trick and a standout performance from the former Great Britain junior international.
The Essex side had fallen behind early on to a Justin Noble strike and it looked like it could be a long night as things were not really clicking for Gary Clarke's men.
Arguably against the run of play Danny Hammond tied the game up on five minutes with the assist going to the ever-improving Tom Castle.
With 28 seconds of the period to go the Dynamos established a 2-1 lead in a controversial goal.
Referee Blaine Evans had signalled a penalty and the Dynamos had control of the puck still and had pulled their netminder for an extra forward.
Chieftains defenceman Tibor Schneider touched the puck twice and made a play with the puck which should have resulted in a whistle to call the penalty, but no whistle came and the Dynamos regained possession and went down the other end of the ice and former Chieftains junior Callum Fowler netted.
In the second it was clear Clarke had read the riot act as a much improved Chieftains team took to the ice and it was just 66 seconds for Ayling to score his first of the night with a lovely goal as he stepped onto the ice and took the pass from Michael Ranby and then took it round the last defenceman and slotted past David Wride in the Dynamos net.
Five minutes later and the Chieftains went ahead on the powerplay with another marker from Ayling.
At 35:55 it looked like things might start kicking off on the ice as Grant Baxter seemed to lose his head and tried to fight whoever he could lay his hands on, but no one took him up on his offer apart from Evans who dispatched Baxter to the penalty box for a sit down. Three minutes later and it was 4-2 in another hotly contested goal.
This time a clash at mid-ice led to Invicta forward Peter Vaisanen losing his helmet and he seemed to be slow in getting off the ice and Evans was looking to signal a penalty for illegal equipment and his arm went up, but what hadn’t been seen was that Julius Sinkovic had just slotted the puck home to increase the home side’s lead.
The Dynamos players spent a long time asking if the arm up was for the penalty or the goal as it wasn’t clear what it was for, but Evans stood his ground and the goal stood.
Less than three minutes in the third had been played and Ayling completed his hat-trick with a nice finish past Wride and it was all Chelmsford now. Andy Smith then managed to nab another goal for the Dynamos to make it 5-3 at 44:51.
Two goals from Clarke in the third sealed the win, including one with seconds on the clock and goal of the night as he roofed it past Wride, from some distance, who was probably hoping the clock was about to run out. Ayling took home the man of the match award for Chelmsford, while Smith took the honours for the visitors.
This leaves the Chieftains equal on points with Romford Raiders at the top of the league, but the Essex side have two games in hand.
They are also three points ahead of Wightlink Raiders in third, but also have a game in hand over the south coast side.
On Saturday the Chieftains played a dead rubber cup match in Slough and ran up a 21-0 win with the goals coming from Castle 3 goals +one assist, Schneider 0+4, Cameron Bartlett 3+1, Grant Bartlett 4+2, Alex Green 0+1, Clarke 3+3, Ross Brears 0+1, Alex Staples 0+1, Hammond 3+2, Ranby 4+5, Sinkovic 1+5.
This set a new record for the number of hat-tricks in a game with six players netting three or more times for the Chieftains.