Thunder and Wightlink Raiders once again couldn’t be separated as they shared the spoils in a draw.
There is just one goal difference over the three games after Sunday’s game ended 2-2 at MK Arena.
It may not seem that unusual for two teams in a league to be so closely matched, but in this case we are talking about a semi-professional Wightlink Raiders team with a decent budget to pay players, and an MK Thunder team which does not have paid players at all. For this reason alone, Wightlink would expect to come out on top every time, however Thunder are causing a stir in the NIHL this season and no team will want to meet them in the playoffs come April.
The game on Sunday was one of switching fortunes, Thunder had the best of the opening period to lead 2-0 at the break. Raiders came back strong in the second period to level the score at 2-2, and the teams cancelled each other out in the final period with neither able to gain the upper hand.
Man of the match Jamie Line opened the scoring for Thunder in the sixth minute, beating Raiders netminder Colclough at his near post. Both teams had chances during the period but it was Line again that increased the Thunder lead with five minutes of the period to go with an even better finish than his first.
The second period was all Raiders, they came out after the break fired up and really took the game to Thunder, firing in twenty six shots on Damien King in Thunder’s goal during the period. In contrast Thunder managed just one shot on Raiders as they were pinned back in defence for much of the time. Craig Tribe got Raiders on the scoresheet mid way through the period, and Ryan Webb levelled the scores shortly after.
Into the final period and both teams went all out for the win. Thunder out shot Raiders but both teams had chances as the game went end to end. At the final buzzer a 2-2 draw was a fair result, but Thunder will regret letting a two goal lead go, they have done that in all three encounters with Raiders now.
Thunder are at home again on Saturday with Streatham Redskins making their first visit to the MK Arena. With no Lightning game this weekend it’s a good chance for fans to catch up on what MK’s second team are doing. Face off is 7pm.