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Upcoming MatchMK Thunder vs Slough Jets/September 8, 2018/MK Arena
Upcoming MatchMK Thunder vs Slough Jets/September 8, 2018/MK Arena

Most Valuable Player Tom Annetts returns as MK Thunder goalie for 2018-19

MK Thunder Most Valuable Player 2018 Tom Annetts has re-signed with the club and will return for a second season under Head Coach Lewis Clifford at Planet Ice Milton Keynes.

The Reading-born shot-stopper joined Thunder last summer after two seasons staring down shooters from the Oxford City Stars goal crease. A 91.4 save percentage in 28 starts and a string of points-stealing performances led to Annetts being crowned MVP at Awards Night 2018.

“I’m really excited to be coming back to Milton Keynes,” Annetts said. “It was a bit unknown last season as the first year in the new format but I felt we held our own as one of the ‘old NIHL teams’ and had a few upsets against the bigger clubs along the way.

“It is a great setup at MK, from all the fans to the staff and of course my teammates. Since arriving last season it’s been fantastic, making myself and my family feel welcome at every game.”

Annetts’ head coach is thrilled to have his most valuable player from a season ago back in the red and black for 2018-19.

“It is important for any team to have the right goalie between the pipes,” Clifford said. “This time last year I was just starting out in my role with the team and I wasn’t sure who to sign to play in the net.

“I managed to get Tommy and it didn’t take long to realise I had definitely made the right decision. This year I had no hesitation in bringing him back for another year.”

Annetts debuted in ENL with Bracknell Hornets aged 15 before beginning the first of three spells with Bracknell Bees. Eleven seasons in the EPL followed, including two seasons with Basingstoke Bison in addition to winning the league title with Guildford Flames and lifting the Playoffs trophy with Slough Jets.

“Tommy is a good solid guy to have in the team,” Clifford said. “His performances in goal last season were consistently good. Sitting at over 90 percent at the end of the regular season is exactly what I wanted and needed from my goalie and he gave us that.

“Outside of his on-ice performances, he is a great team guy. He works hard in practice and adds a massive amount of experience to our lineup, which is invaluable — especially as we have a lot of young guys on the roster.”

Annetts is looking forward to getting back on the ice with his teammates and building on the club’s seventh-place finish and Playoffs Quarterfinals berth in 2017-18.

“Now we understand the league a bit more, and using last year as a base, I’m excited with the team Cliff is putting together,” Annetts said. “I can’t wait to see what we can achieve.

“I expect this season to be tough. I think it shocked a few people with how competitive we were and people will know what to expect when they play us. I would look for us to have more consistency over the whole year and push all the way into the playoffs and hopefully have a long run.”

The 5-foot-11 netminder who made 29 appearances in his first campaign with MKT is the eighth signing this summer as Clifford’s second roster as MKT boss begins to take shape.

“I think we are getting close to where we need to be for next season,” Clifford said. “This time of year is always tough but signing a goalie of Tommy’s stature and ability certainly makes a lot of the headaches disappear.”

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