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It was welcome to the DISCO Show as Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning ended Telford Tigers’ four game winning run with a 5-2 victory at Planet Ice on Saturday. And it was in no small part to Liam DISCO Stewart who went one better than his previous home game hat-trick by banging in four of the goals to seal the win against table topping Tigers to put the icing on the cake for an ever improving Lightning.
After a goalless first period which saw both sides unable to capitalise on single powerplay chances it was Robin Kovar who got the show on the road while the two outfits were four on four with Tom Carlon and Corey Goodison both sin binned for cross checking. Cale Tanaka broke away for a two on one with the new Czech forward putting the puck away into an open net on 29mins 27secs.
If Telford thought they could make a quick reply then they were soon left disappointed when Stewart made it 2-0 after 33mins 24secs. Kovar and Rio Grinell-Parke were both involved in the play which saw Stewart slide the puck past an unsighted goalie Bradley Day. Soon after Carlon was back in the box – together with Tigers’ defenceman Dan Rose – the penalties roughing and holding respectively at 35mins 29secs, ahead of what threatened to be a game changing moment which saw Kovar thrown out of the game on a misconduct and the rare slewing the foot call.
Lightning started the third period short-handed and despite the best efforts of Brandon Whistle who was denied by MK netminder Dean Skinns, Tigers eventually made the powerplay count when Ross Kennedy appeared to get the final touch to a shot (though subsequent reviews may show it went in cleanly) from the point by Scott McKenzie on 42mins 38secs. With just a goal separating the two teams it seemed to be game on but Tigers were undone after Thomas McKinnon was called for a high stick. MK said thank you very much – Stewart beating Day after the set up by Tanaka and Sam Russell on 49mins 45secs.
Tigers were not dead in the water yet though and they were next to make the most of a powerplay after a clash between Tomas Kana and Jason Silverthorn, both given two minutes for slashing and the MK man an extra two for roughing. With the man advantage Tigers cut the deficit to one again through Finley Howells on 50mins 59secs.
Lightning’s response was swift and decisive when Stewart danced around the Tigers’ defence to score on a wraparound for an unassisted goal less than a minute later at 51mins 49secs. The home team were down a man with Hallden Barnes-Garner in the sin bin for tripping but solid defensive work thwarted Silverthorn with less than seven minutes left.
In a last throw of the dice Day was replaced by the extra skater inside the final two minutes – Tigers then calling a timeout which ultimately proved fruitless with James Griffin clearing the puck up the ice to allow Stewart to win the race for the puck and slot it into the empty net 25 seconds from the buzzer. It really was game over then.
Man of the match: Liam Stewart.
Photo: Mel Dickens