Month: October 2017

Connor Hutchison joins Basingstoke Buffalo


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By Tom Hurley

Thunder General Manager Dave Fairhurst has reluctantly announced the departure of popular young forward Connor Hutchison. The left-hand shot joined Thunder on a two-way contract in 2016-17, icing for Thunder in seven games in addition to playing in U18s, U20s and NIHL South 2 with Basingstoke.

“It was a tough decision on both sides but it was decided that Connor needs to get regular ice time to progress his game and so we have released him to Basingstoke Buffalo in the NIHL2,” Fairhurst said.

“Connor needs to be playing. In an ideal world we could have had a two way agreement with the Buffalo like we did last season, but with Bison now being our league the rules state we can no longer have that deal. We wish Connor well and look forward to seeing him back in Thunder colours very soon.”

Hutchison dressed in nine games for Thunder this season, although found playing time limited due to the rise in standard of NIHL since the demise of the EPL last summer. MKT head coach Lewis Clifford hopes the extra ice time he’ll see in Basingstoke will help the teenager elevate his game to the next level.

“Connor is a young player with great potential,” Clifford said. “But he needs to be logging regular ice time to start reaching that potential. It’s a shame the two-way couldn’t work but I’m sure he’ll establish himself quickly in the Buffalo team and look to make the step back up in the near future.”

Luke Reynolds has also departed Thunder, signing with Slough Jets of NIHL South 2.

Late show earns OT win for Dynamos

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By Tom Hurley

A late equaliser and an overtime winner saw reigning playoff champions Invicta Dynamos earn a 2-1 victory over Thunder at Planet Ice on Sunday, October 15.

An end-to-end first period began with Dynamos’ import forward Adam Rehak striking the frame of Tom Annetts goal, with both goalies pulling off a string of saves to preserve the 0-0 score line through 20 minutes of play.

Ex-Thunder netminder Damien King thwarted efforts from Ross Bowers, Grant McPherson, Gareth O’Flaherty and Rio Grinnell-Parke while Annetts shut down efforts from Louis Colvin and Mason Webster.

The second period saw power play opportunities for each side come and go before an odd-man rush enabled Thunder to take a 1-0 advantage.

McPherson and Bowers combined to set up the pacey Jamie Line for his third goal of the season in the game’s 39th minute, giving MKT the advantage heading into the third period.

Only the goal post denied Grinnell-Parke the opportunity to double Thunder’s lead early in the third as both teams pressed forward in search of finding the net.

It was Invicta who would find a way to beat the opposing goalie in the 56th minute when Harrison Lillis setup Brandon Webster who beat Annetts to tie the game, ensuring a point for each team through 60 minutes.

A frantic 3-on-3 overtime then began which both sides going close to scoring an early winner, with the Kent club finally pouncing 58 seconds into the extra frame.

With Line lying on the floor in the attacking zone after being upended by two Dyanmos players, Invicta raced down the other end with Rehak beating Annetts to score the game winner and collect an extra point for the visitors.

Clifford expecting tough game vs Invicta


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By Tom Hurley

Thunder return to home ice for the first time in three weeks on Sunday for a 6:30 p.m. game with Invicta Dynamos at Planet Ice.

The defending playoff champions travel to Milton Keynes in unfamiliar form having collected two wins from their first seven games of the league campaign.

An 11-1 home loss to London Raiders in the NIHL Cup is one of four consecutive defeats for the Dynamos since earning back-to-back wins over Cardiff Fire and Swindon Wildcats in mid September.

“We are expecting a hard-fought game,” said Thunder head coach Lewis Clifford.

“Invicta’s form has been up and down, they’ve had some impressive results and some games they would have liked to have been better in. We know they won’t come here and lie down for us, so we have to at our best.”

Invicta (2-5-0 NIHL) will line up slightly differently to when Thunder beat the Dynamos at Gillingham Ice Bowl earlier this season.

MK Lightning forward Bobby Chamberlain transferred to Hull Pirates in late September with head coach Kevin Parrish announcing a deal for forward Justin Robinson soon after.

Callum Fowler and import Adam Rehak top the Dyanmos in goals with five each, with Rehak’s seven points also leading the team. Former Thunder netminder Damien King is expected to start.

While Invicta travel to Peterborough Phantoms on Saturday, Thunder (3-4-1 NIHL) will be preparing at home, aiming to build on the 3-1 win at Streatham IHC in South London last Sunday.

“We had a solid week of practice,” Clifford said. “We worked on some things we needed to after an indifferent performance in Streatham, and the boys were all buying in.”

MKT enter the weekend fourth in the table and a win on Sunday would see Thunder hold a .500 record through nine NIHL South 1 games.

“Our home form hasn’t been what we want it to be we hope with a big loud crowd we can start this Sunday as we mean to go on.”

Sunday’s game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. face off at Planet Ice. Tickets are available on the night priced at £9 Adults, £5 Concessions/MKL season ticket holders, and £1 Under 16s.

Thunder collect road win in Streatham


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By Tom Hurley

A three-goal second period fuelled Thunder to a 3-1 come-from-behind win at Streatham on Sunday.

Alexander Sampford gave the hosts an early lead in South London when Ben Paynter and Jacob Ranson combined to set him up in the ninth minute.

The 1-0 score line remained in place early in the second period when Hallden Barnes-Garner dropped mitts with Paynter, soon to be followed to the penalty boxes by Rio Grinnel-Parke and Christopher Cooke.

Two minutes after stepping out of the box Grinnel-Parke leveled the score at 1-1 after Tom Carlon found the teenager for his seventh goal of the season.

Thunder took a 2-1 lead with five minutes remaining in the period when Ross Bowers beat Matthew Colclough in the home goal with the assist going to captain Jamie Line.

Soon after, with Streatham’s Brandon Miles sitting a roughing penalty, Thunder’s power play unit stepped onto the ice and opened up a 3-1 lead. Gareth O’Flaherty and Tom Mboya earned the assists as Ross Bowers scored his second of the night to join Grinnel-Parke on seven goals this season.

Tom Annetts stood tall in the third period as Thunder killed off a late penalty and kept Streatham at bay when the Londoners pulled Colclough for an extra attacker with 1:58 to play.

Carlon focuses in on Streatham roadtrip


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By Tom Hurley

For the second week in a row Thunder’s lone game of the weekend sees Lewis Clifford and his team hit the road. This time around the destination is South London for a 6:45 p.m. face off with Streatham IHC at Streatham Ice Arena.

Unlike Thunder, Streatham (1-3-0 NIHL) did play last night — taking a 6-1 loss at Bracknell Bees in a game that saw seven players collect fighting penalties.

The South Londoners started the season strong, defeating Cardiff Fire on home ice with experienced trio Adam Carr, Michael Farn, and Ryan Watt combining for 13 points in a 9-2 win. Then came a 5-2 defeat in Peterborough, a 2-1 home loss against Swindon and last night’s game at The John Nike Leisuresport Complex.

Watt’s four goals, seven points and 29 penalty minutes leads the team in all categories, while Carr has two goals and tops the assists charts with four.

“We know what they’re about,” said Thunder forward Tom Carlon of Streatham. “It’s going to be very, very tough. They’ve got a good all around team.”

Thunder (2-4-1 NIHL) travel to London aiming to keep their capital city winning streak alive following a 6-0 victory at Cardiff Fire on Sept. 23.

Carlon is looking forward to playing against some former teammates but is focused on helping MKT bring two points back to Milton Keynes.

“There’s a lot of excitement to see how we match up with them,” Carlon said. “It’s gonna be very bizarre playing against (Carr) and (Farn).

Thunder captain Jamie Line sits ninth in league scoring heading into Sunday’s clash in South London with nine points, closely followed by Ross Bowers and Rio Grinnell-Parke who both have seven points on the young season.

MKT return to home ice next weekend when Invicta Dynamos visit Planet Ice for a 6:30 p.m. NIHL South 1 game. Tickets are priced at £9 Adults, £5 Concessions/MKL season ticket holders, and £1 Under 16s.