Telford Tigers dealt a double blow to MK Lightning’s English Premier League title hopes with back to back victories over their championship rivals at the weekend.
On Saturday Corey McEwen, son of Cardiff Devils legend Doug McEwen, struck twice to sink Lightning in a 2-1 result after overtime and on Sunday the Canadian-British dual national also hit a brace to finish off the visitors to Shropshire in a 6-3 loss.
The results put Lightning six points behind Tom Watkins’ outfit and just a point ahead of Hull Pirates in third spot.
In the encounter at MK Arena were holding onto a 1-0 advantage from the first period – albeit having to defend like Trojans - when McEwen finally levelled for Tigers 2mins 8secs from the end of regulation time. He then bagged the winner 29 seconds into overtime.
It was nothing less than Tigers deserved after under-strength Lightning were under pressure in a third period which saw them outshot 16-5.
As the game went on Lightning fans were just hoping that maybe their luck would hold out for a vital victory.
Tom Carlon joined the absentee list of Glenn Billing and Mikolaj Lopuski, meaning Lightning had just three lines of forwards – and it was the same on Sunday with Tigers also missing some key players.
The hosts opened the scoring on 12mins 59secs when Frankie Bakrlik fed Craig Scott with a pass from the left. With Raszka already committed Scott slotted in at the right hand side of goal.
Lewis Hook fired past the left post and Scott had his attempt pushed over the bar as the home outfit attempted to capitalise on their lead before Doug Clarkson was thwarted by Odrobny.
In the dying seconds of the period Bakrlik was unlucky when supplied by Hook.
In the second period Odrobny denied Clarkson before the first penalty - Tigers having too many imports on the ice at 23mins 42secs. But the home side were unable to add to their tally on the powerplay.
Michael Farn got in the way of an Adam Taylor effort before the Tiger got a shot away soon after but man of the match Odrobny was able to save.
Odrobny was superb all night and he quickly denied Clarkson before being equal to challenge when Joe Miller tried to dummy him.
Telford had a 'goal' disallowed - Odrobny having made the save the puck was taken off him as he was pushed into the net.
Tigers had their first powerplay four minutes into the third session when Milan Baranyk was called for interference - McEwen had an attempt stopped by the goalie. When Tigers' Michal Satek was sin binned, also for interference, in the 51st minute Lightning again were held at bay.
It proved costly as McEwen struck home on 57mins 52secs for a delayed penalty goal. That ensured overtime and McEwen soon got the winner.
The next day a Blaz Emersic goal after only 18 seconds gave MK a dream start in the return clash but it was a rare bright spot.
There was an injury scare for the visitors a couple of minutes later when Bakrlik had to be helped off the ice – however he was able to return.
In the fifth minute Jason Silverthorn was blocked by goalie Przemy Odrobny before Taylor shot straight at him.
Tigers’ best chance of the period came when Michal Satek’s shot hit the post in the 15th minute.
On 26mins 20secs Tigers hit the equaliser with an unassisted Silverthorn goal.
Ninety seconds later Tigers took the lead when Adam Jones beat Odrobny.
There was a swift reply from Lightning with Bobby Chamberlain firing in on 28mins 18secs. But Kolena made it 3-2 after 30mins 36secs.
Tigers stretched the gap to two after 44mins 19secs when Doug Clarkson was on target.
When Lightning had a too many men on the ice call on 48mins 11secs – Tigers took just 25 seconds to score, McEwen hitting his third of the weekend.
McEwen was again the scorer on 54mins 6secs before Lightning’s third goal 56 seconds later – Sam Jones’ matching his brother Adam’s tally for the evening to make it 6-3.