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League leaders Telford Tigers were left stunned as Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning claimed a second consecutive victory at Telford on Sunday – running out 4-1 winners in a game which saw both coaches and six players ejected.
Lewis Clifford and Tom Watkins were both thrown out for allegedly failing to control their teams during a mid-game bench clearance in which referees Chris Wells and Ion Hands appeared to lose their grasp on the players.
The result of the clearance saw Tigers Andy McKinney receive a match penalty for fighting while Dan Rose and Tom McKinnon picked up game misconducts for fighting. Lightning’s Tom Carlon was given game for leaving the players bench with Leigh Jamieson handed a game misconduct for fighting and Grant McPherson match for fighting.
The incidents occurred when Lightning had just taken a 3-1 lead after coming from 1-0 down – Tigers captain Jason Silverthorn scoring the opener at 3mins 44secs.
Lightning levelled things up on 6mins 42secs when Cale Tanaka and Tomas Kana were involved in the set up for Russ Cowley to score in a game which was physical from almost the start.
When Rose was given two minutes in the cooler for slashing in the eighth minute MK were unable to capitalise and they prevented a further score as Jamieson was given an identical penalty in the 12th minute.
After his return Lightning forged in front as Rio Grinell-Parke supplied Liam Stewart to make it 2-1 at 15mins 35secs.
The start of the second session saw the game becoming increasingly niggly with some big hits dished out by both outfits and when Dan Mitchell was handed a two minute penalty for slashing in the 28th minute the visitors made the most of it as Tanaka registered from Cowley and Harry Ferguson to extend the lead to 3-1.
That raised the temperature further and within a couple of minutes things boiled over, culminating in a bench clearance with Hallden Barnes-Garner and Telford’s Mitchell receiving four minute calls in addition to the game and match penalties for six players.
That was not the end of the second period penalties however as only a couple of minutes later Tigers’ Dominik Florian was sin binned for diving at the same time as Sam Russell received a tripping call. MK ended the period with an unsuccessful powerplay after Nick Oliver was assessed a delay of the game penalty.
MK were determined to defend their lead under pressure from Telford as the third period got under way and they effectively ended the hosts’ hopes when the Kana-Tanaka-Cowley contribution struck again on 46mins 16secs – the strike coming from the Czech forward.
Going into the final ten minutes Tigers piled on the pressure but goalie Jordan Lawday proved equal to the challenge, blocking everything thrown at him to ensure MK held onto a lead which could have been extended to 5-1 when Taylor Dickin was unlucky to see his last minute shot hit the crossbar.
Man of the match: Lewis Christie.
Photo credit: Steve Brodie, Telford Tigers