The road to the final of the National Ice Hockey League Cup came to an abrupt end in Shropshire when Milton Keynes Lightning were beaten 6-2 by a clinical Telford Tigers team who won the semi-final 10-8 on aggregate.

Lightning’s two goal advantage from the dramatic 6-4 victory at Planet Ice the previous Thursday was wiped out within the first 11 minutes by a Tigers outfit that went on to score six unanswered goals before Lewis Clifford’s men registered on the scoresheet.

Goal number one came on 1min 52secs when Austin Mitchell-King tipped in a Finley Howells pass before Bayley Harewood levelled things up on aggregate from Jason Silverthorn’s set up at 10mins 57secs.

Just over 30 seconds later Mitchell-King turned the semi-final around with an unassisted strike as Lightning failed to get out of first gear. Double penalties for Bobby Chamberlain (two minutes for roughing) and Jonathan Weaver (two for tripping) reduced the teams to four apiece with no consequence.

Tigers Danny Rose and James Griffin then went at after a hit by the MK player – both earning five minutes for fighting and the hosts’ man an extra two. It hardly provided the spark for Lightning to step up the play and those penalties had not expired when Chamberlain received a two minutes minor for diving.

The first period concluded with Joe Aston and Chamberlain dropping the gloves – the result was five minutes in their respective coolers at the start of the middle session during which Weaver supplied his fellow veteran Silverthorn to make it 4-0 only 32 seconds after the restart.

Once Tigers quickly added a fifth goal on 23mins 53secs while both teams were a man short – Ross Green in the sin bin for tripping and Harewood serving time for roughing. This time it was Andy McKinney on target from Weaver’s pass.

The goal signalled the end of netminder Matt Smital’s involvement in the game, as Brandon Stones replaced him. However, it didn’t lead to a change in Lightning’s fortunes; they were unable to make anything of 29th minute penalty on Rick Plant for interference.

Lightning survived an unsportsmanlike call against Sean Norris to end the second period 5-0 in arrears – 9-6 in arrears on aggregate. That quickly became 10-6 early in the third period when Weaver added to his two assists with a goal from Plant’s set up at 43mins 03secs.

It was virtually mission impossible from then on and although Lightning finally beat goalie Brad Day twice in the final four minutes it was too late to alter the result. Morgan Pizzo bagged his first goal in MK colours from Ben Russell’s supply at 56mins 43secs, while Leigh Jamieson made the pass for captain Russell Cowley, back from injury, to score with 24seconds remaining.

Man of the match: Brandon Stones.