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Thunder Strengthen with Stratford Signing

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By Tom Hurley

MK Thunder are delighted to announce the signing of former Great Britain U20 international Michael Stratford.

The 20-year-old forward joins from Cardiff Fire, where the Swindon native led all players with 10 points in 14 games — including scoring against Thunder at Planet Ice in November.

The addition of Stratford bolsters head coach Lewis Cliford’s offensive ranks, while ensuring Thunder remain the only all-British team in NIHL South 1.

“I’ve never ruled out making additions to the squad,” Clifford said. “However, for me it had to tick all the boxes to make it worthwhile; and when I found out Michael was available it certainly did tick them.”

Despite his young age the Swindon-born forward is vastly experienced, having played in 129 English Premier League games between Swindon Wildcats and Manchester Phoenix, and appearing in four international tournaments with Great Britain U18s and U20s.

A prolific points scorer at junior level with Swindon and Okanagan Academy, Stratford made his EPL debut with the Wildcats while still playing U16s.

In recent seasons, the newest member of the Thunder family also featured for South West U17s and England Under 19s, in addition to racking up 36 points in 16 games with Swindon’s NIHL 2 club.

“Stratty is a young Brit with talent and size, he works hard, has a good skill set and knows where the net is,” Clifford said. “I think this could be a signing that moves us in the right direction for the remainder of the season and I am looking forward to adding him to our line-up.”

Stratford skated with his new teammates at Planet Ice Thursday night and will make his MKT debut once all paperwork is completed.

Michael will wear the No.16 shirt for Thunder, and both his home and away jerseys are now available to sponsor under our own and loan scheme.

Email manager@mkthunder.com if you would like your name or company displayed on one of his shirts for the remainder of the 2017-18 season, before being presented with the jersey at our End of Season awards night.

Thunder Begin 2018 With a Point in London

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By Tom Hurley

Thunder picked up one point from the opening weekend of games in 2018 after forcing overtime at Streatham on Saturday before falling on home ice to ex-EPL outfit Swindon on Sunday.

It took only 22 seconds for the first MKT goal of the new year when Ross Bowers and Tom Carlon combined to set up captain Jamie Line for a trademark top-corner snipe and an early 1-0 lead.

An incident in front of the visiting bench led to Grant McPherson dropping gloves with Brandon Miles, with both players being ejected and the latter collecting an additional match penalty.

After a second Thunder goal was washed out, Streatham tied the game in the 13th minute through Joe Allen, before Rio Grinell-Parke buried the rebound from a Line shot to restore MKT’s advantage a minute later.

A delayed penalty call late in the period saw Streatham pull the goalie for an extra attacker and made the most of the opportunity by levelling the score at 2-2 courtesy of Aidan Doughty.

MKT took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission after Grinell-Parke slammed another rebound past Matt Colclough in the home goal following a shot by Harrison Goode.

Streatham equalised for a third time in the 43rd minute through Jacob Ranson, and after the teams were locked at 3-3 at the end of regulation, the hosts picked up the bonus point in overtime via Doughty’s second of the night on the power play.

On Sunday Lewis Clifford and his men returned to Milton Keynes where Swindon Wildcats skated out 5-0 winners in a game that wasn’t as lopsided as the scoreline suggested.

The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after Latvian forward Edgars Bebris and player/coach Aaron Nell both found space and time to beat Tom Annetts in the MKT pipes.

Shortly before the midway point in the second period a scuffle down low led to McPherson dropping gloves for the second time in as many nights, this time at centre ice with Sam Bullas.

As Swindon netminder Renny Marr denied a host of Thunder players, the Wildcats extended their lead to 4-0 through two period thanks to goals from Joseph Hazeldine and Floyd Taylor.

Marr continued to thwart the home side in the final frame as Clifford’s side looked for a way back into the contest, but it was Swindon’s Czech forward Jan Kostal who scored the next and final goal of the game to ensure his side went home with two points.

Thunder travel to Cardiff Fire this Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. game at Ice Arena Wales before returning to Milton Keynes next weekend for a Saturday night home game with Peterborough Phantoms. Face off at Planet Ice is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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