An excellent performance by guest netminder Jordan Hedley together with well-organised defensive play steered Milton Keynes Lightning to a deserved 4-3 victory over Telford Tigers at Planet Ice on Saturday.
Coventry Blaze player, Hedley, formerly of Lightning and Milton Keynes trained, blocked all but three of 37 Tigers efforts to earn the man of the match award. MK were without James Griffin, Matt Smital, Sam Russell and Lewis Christie, but were able to add Sheffield Scimitars’ Tyler Nixon and Milique Martelly to the squad for what was a tough encounter.
Experienced Leigh Jamieson bagged what proved to be the game winning goal on the powerplay after 52mins 20secs following a tripping call on Nick Oliver before the visitors’ Jonathan Weaver gave Tigers a glimmer of hope at 56mins 6secs with a strike also scored while his team had a man advantage.
Ed Knaggs was in the sin bin at the time for hooking and although Telford who had called a timeout managed to narrow the gap to one goal with Weaver’s effort they could not draw level. That was despite withdrawing goalie Bradley Day in favour of the extra skater in the final few seconds.
In fact, it was Lightning that went closest to scoring with a Bobby Chamberlain ‘goal’ with 24 seconds to go washed out by the officials. Chamberlain had earlier got the Lightning show on the road with an even handed equaliser 2mins 7secs after Joe Aston had found a way past Hedley at 14mins 19secs.
With no further goals the first period ended all square at one apiece and indeed it took until 29mins 17secs for Sam Talbot to breach Day’s defence again to put Lightning ahead – Sean Norris gaining his second assist of the night with Streatham two-way player Martelly starting the move.
Telford had hardly had time recover from that goal when Ben Russell set up Russell Cowley to make it 3-1 after 31mins 11secs. Late middle period penalties on Finley Howells, Aston and then Corey Goodison disrupted any chance Tigers had of reducing the deficit.
An unassisted Andy McKinney marker on 48mins 15secs made it 3-2 but that was quickly answered with Jamieson’s powerplay goal, aided by Adam Laishram and Cowley, before Tigers late unsuccessful bid to force overtime.
Man of the match: Jordan Hedley.