March 20, 2017
Chelmsford Chieftains secured their second trophy of the season, winning the NIHL South Cup 8-5 on aggregate over Invicta Dynamos.
The thrilling tie played to full houses at both Chelmsford and Gillingham showing the top two teams in the division battling out over 120 action packed minutes.
The Chieftains had home advantage in game one, edging a 4-3 decision on the back of Juraj Huska’s double. Callum Fowler’s third period powerplay marker for Invicta narrowed the deficit to just a single goal heading to Gillingham.
It was a fast and furious opening to the second leg, the Dynamos opening the scoring in the 17th minute to level the tie overall – Nicky Lewis getting the touch past Sonny Phillips.
The scoreline remained for much of the game until late in the middle frame when Callum Wells slashing minor put Dynamos on the powerplay.
Chelmsford danger man Huska was pressuring the point and forced the turnover before skating the length of the ice to fire past Damien King – level on the night, Chieftains ahead again on aggregate.
More special team action before the period end saw Chieftains with the PP, and this time they capitalised with the man advantage – Jake Sylvester netting just 22 seconds from the end of the period to open up a two goal margin.
This became a three goal cushion early in the final frame – Brandon Ayliffe’s goal made it 3-1 on the night and Chelmsford had scored three in seven minutes either side of the break to take control of the tie.
Lewis for Invicta (PP) threatened to bring the home side back into it but as time wound down, King was withdrawn for a last ditch throw of the dice. After a couple of near misses on the empty net, Grant Bartlett tapped in the final goal at 59.51 to put the icing on the Cup cake for Chieftains.
They take the NIHL Cup to add to their League success and now face Bracknell Hornets in a two-leg playoff quarter final this coming weekend chasing a third trophy of the campaign.
Invicta gave their all and as runners up in League and Cup, they look towards a playoff series with MK Thunder in a final bid for seasonal silverware.
Photographs: Ice Cold Photography