LIGHTNING scoring ace Leigh Jamieson could be starring for Great Britain in the World Championships in Slovenia in next month.
Milton Keynes born Jamieson is one of only four English Premier League players to be selected for the preliminary GB squad of 35 which will be cut to 23 before the championships. He is currently the top British points scorer in the EPL.
The 26-year-old is a product of the Milton Keynes junior system having first played for MK Junior Kings in the 1990s, later signing for the now defunct senior Kings and then MK Lightning before spending five seasons in the Elite League with Belfast Giants and then Coventry Blaze.
He was first selected for the senior Great Britain side in the 2003-2004 season and knows that it will be tough to make the final cut this time around.
Jamieson said: “It’s always a fantastic opportunity to represent your country and I’m really happy to have made the preliminary squad.
“There are some great players in the squad and it’s going to be really competitive to make the final team – but I’ll do my best at the training camp to try and make sure I’m part of the squad that goes to Slovenia.
And coach Nick Poole added his praise to Jamieson after he helped Lightning to a four-point weekend with victories against Bracknell and Peterborough.
“I’m thrilled for Jaimo and this selection is very well deserved. He has been a pivotal player for us offensively and has added strength and aggression to our forward lines.
“He’s a great lad – I know that everyone involved with hockey in Milton Keynes is extremely proud of him, and we wish him the best of luck at the selection camp.”
Lightning completed a win double with a 6-4 victory over the Bracknell Bees on Saturday followed by a 3-2 success at the Peterborough Phantoms after a penalty shoot-out.
It was a slashing penalty on Jamieson that resulted in Bees taking the lead on 2mins 44secs when Lukas Smital registered from Rob Lamey’s pass.
Lightning fell further behind on 14mins 20secs as Shaun Thompson was the provider for Michael Bowman to beat goalie Alex Mettam.
But the home side began their fight back within 2mins 4secs of the start of the middle period as Poole supplied Tuomas Tikkanen to snatch the first of two goals while Bees’ Lewis Turner was serving two minutes for hooking.
A further Bees penalty again proved costly – this time for too many men on the ice – giving Adam Brittle the chance to equalise on 32mins 41secs.
It sparked a fast furious six minutes in which the home side found the net three more times.
Captain Adam Carr was on the mark twice in less than four minutes after 33mins 21secs and 37mins 7secs – on both occasions the supply came from Tikkanen. Jamie Line then rounded off the period with a goal on 38mins 18secs.
The game looked to be all over when Tikkanen grabbed his second of the night after 46mins 14secs, but Bees didn’t read the script and bounced back with two more powerplay goals.
Both youngster Connor Goode and Michael Farn were in the sin bin when Peter Jasik got Bees’ third after 50mins 32secs and Shaun Thompson added the visitors’ fourth with a one man advantage at 51mins 32secs.
Bees withdrew Tom Annetts who had replaced Ambler after Lightning’s sixth and final goal of the night for the extra skater in the final 56 seconds, but it failed to have any effect.
The following night at Peterborough there was to be no repeat of Phantoms’ spectacular collapse of a couple of weeks previously when Lightning won 9-3 against their big rivals.
This time around the first period remained scoreless despite a couple of powerplays for either side.
It took until 26mins 15secs for the first goal when Lukas Zatopek was the provider for Michael Wales to score while Phantoms’ Nathan Pollard was in the sin bin for tripping.
But within a couple of minutes the hosts were back level – Tom Norton was penalised and Jeff Glowa capitalised after 28mins 16secs.
By that stage of proceedings, Brittle had retired for the night injured – joining Matt Towalski, Grant McPherson (suspended) and Carr among the absentees.
Norton was soon to join them after Tikkanen fed Blaz Emersic to put Lightning back in front on 29mins 51secs.
Referee Dave Cloutman then gave Norton his marching orders for boarding Glowa – the Canadian having to be helped off the ice. The resulting powerplay saw Maris Ziedins level things up again on 33mins 54secs.
After the scoring flurry of the second session both sides’ fans expected more in the final period.
However, they were to be disappointed with neither team able to find the net again in either regulation time or five minutes of overtime.
Thus a penalty shoot-out was required in which Mettam proved the hero, saving all three Phantoms’ shots while Emersic sealed the points for Lightning.
Despite their wins, Lightning remain fifth in the table ahead of an extremely busy weekend as they travel to Swindon Wildcats on Friday night, host EPL leaders Guildford Flames on Saturday, and then go to Telford Tigers on Sunday, with the end of the regular season now a little over two weeks away.
As it stands, the city side would meet Sheffield Steeldogs in the play-off quarter finals.