The MK Thunder
Sunday saw the Oxford City Stars play Milton Keynes Thunder. The Thunder were languishing near the bottom of the league table and were looking to bounce back from their 4 game losing streak as well as turning the tables on the Stars after their last game against them resulted in a 2-4 loss at home. It was not to be for the Thunder, who despite outshooting their opponents by 38 shots to 34 found themselves outclassed by the Stars, who recorded a 4-2 win, with Shannon Long in the net stopping the majority of shots that came his way.
The first period was pretty evenly matched with both teams scoring one goal apiece. Alan Green was the first to score less than 5 minutes into the game, a Powerplay goal with assists from Darren Elliott and Andy Cox, who had a great game to be awarded with man of the match for the Stars. Both sides created some chances after that but no one managing to find the back of the net. The Thunder’s first goal came right at the end of the first period, scored by Jamie Line with assists from Josh Nicklin and Thomas Castle, another Powerplay goal with Boris Ruzicka sitting out for a boarding penalty. The end of the period saw the Stars have a couple of shots on goal without success.
A penalty for Ben Ealey-Newman (high sticks) early in the second period saw some chances for the Thunder but Long successfully defended the goal and the only goal of the period was an evenhanded goal scored by the Thunder’s Nicklin 7 minutes into the period. The Stars had a number of chances to even the game up with a Thunder Powerplay for hooking (on Paul Gore) halfway into the period but none of them connected. There were a couple of chances for the Thunder later in the period with Long out of the net whilst the Thunder charged towards it and the puck almost going into the Stars’ net at the end of the period whilst Josh Florey sat out for a hooking penalty, but both attempts were saved.
Starting the third period a goal down, the third period proved to be decisive for the Stars who scored 3 goals from a total of 13 shots on goal, the only period where they outshot the Thunder. The first goal came just over a minute into the period courtesy of Cox with assists from Ben Ealey-Newman and Ruzicka. The puck was then taken first to one end and then the other before Green unexpectedly fired it past the Thunder’s Spencer Caminsky 7 minutes into the period, the assists coming this time from Cox and Ruzicka, all scoring several points in this game. The goal was immediately followed by a penalty for the Thunder (tripping called on Jamie Line) but the Stars were not able to take advantage of the Powerplay and followed it up with a penalty of their own, for Dax Hedges (charging). This was successfully defended by the Stars, and was followed by two Thunder penalties. Neither resulted in a goal for the Stars but the Thunder had been back to full strength for less than a minute when Green slipped the puck past Caminsky for his third goal of the evening, this time assisted by Jason Ikin. It could have been 4 goals for Green as he was on his way to the net when he was stopped by the Thunder’s Simon Howard, resulting in a penalty for hooking and a controversial penalty against Green for diving. With 3 minutes left of the game the Thunder tried their hardest to add to their tally but no more goals were scored and Oxford emerged the deserved victors.