By Tom Hurley
Ross Bowers sniped the shootout winner on his 600th appearance in MK colours to lift Thunder to a wild 5-4 victory over Streatham at Planet Ice on Saturday night.
With a bumper crowd on hand to see the Milton Keynes Storm graduate on his marquee evening, the number 61 went shelf on Nathan Gregory to score the lone penalty shot and secure two points for Lewis Clifford’s squad.
Bowers was nearly denied his big moment, however, as Streatham appeared to have won the game in overtime when former MK Lightning forward Michael Farn hit the post and crossbar from a tight angle.
The South Londoners streamed onto the ice in celebration; only for referee Dean Smith to deem the puck did not cross the goal line after consulting the goal judge.
Grant McPherson provided the game’s first two highlights — first slamming home the rebound to Rupert Quiney’s slapshot for a 1-0 lead, then minutes later dropping gloves and going toe-to-toe with Jordan Gregory.
Ryan Watt equalized before the period’s end, then goals from Andreas Siagris and Ryan Webb put the visitors 3-1 up late in the second frame.
Captain Jamie Line brought Thunder back within one through 40 minutes, then Quiney’s blast had the hosts level six minutes into the third period.
Bowers lifted the roof off Planet Ice when he skated through several Streatham jerseys and banked his own rebound into the net to send Thunder 4-3 ahead with under seven minutes remaining.
Aidan Doughty tied the game at 4-4 not long after to force Overtime, and eventually a penalty shootout.
The two men with their jersey numbers hanging in the rafters went first, with McPherson unable to beat Gregory and Tom Annetts denying former MK Lightning captain Adam Carr.
Bowers found the top corner on his effort to spark jubilation in the stands and on the home bench, with Annetts then making a kick save on Farn to give Thunder the advantage through two rounds.
Line wasn’t able to take his opportunity to seal the win, but when Annetts stopped Watt’s effort it was the home side’s turn to stream onto the ice in celebration of earning two points.