By Tom Hurley
Thunder moved up to sixth in the NIHL South 1 standings after collecting one point from a doubleheader weekend against ex-EPL teams Peterborough Phantoms and Bracknell Bees.
New signing Michael Stratford made his debut in the red and black Saturday as Lewis Clifford’s men hosted Peterborough at Planet ice.
MKT took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission courtesy of Gareth O’Flaherty’s close-range effort after the puck found its way to the former Coventry Blaze man thanks to work from Tom Carlon and Tom Mboya.
Phantoms hit back early in the second period through import forward Ales Padelek, and the Czech marksman sent the visitors 2-1 up through 40 minutes by adding his second of the night with seven seconds remaining in the middle frame.
Padelek completed his hat trick three minutes into the third period, and was joined in the hat trick club by Glen Billing who made it the scoreline 6-1 by the game’s end with three straight goals — two of which came on the power play.
On Sunday Clifford’s men once again headed into the first intermission with a one-goal advantage, this time thanks to Grant McPherson’s power play marker in the opening three minutes at Bracknell.
Bees forward Shaun Thompson replied with a power play effort of his own in the 34th minute, but captain Jamie Line’s goal late in the frame saw Thunder take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission at The Hive.
Bracknell came back with another power play goal in the 46th minute when Callum Best converted, and despite opportunities for both teams in the closing minutes and overtime, the game was settled by penalty shots.
Daniel Milton stopped all three of MKT’s shootout attempts to give Bracknell the extra point, meaning Thunder travelled back to Milton Keynes with one point from the weekend’s two games.
MKT return to action this weekend with a pair of games against Swindon Wildcats. On Saturday Thunder travel to Wiltshire for a 6:15 face off at The Link Centre, before both teams head to Planet Ice on Sunday for a 6:30 p.m. contest. Tickets for Sunday’s home game are priced at £9 Adults, £5 Concessions, and £1 Under 16s.