SIXTEEN-year-old netminder Jordan Hedley was the star of the show as MK Lightning began their push for silverware this season with a routine 3-0 friendly win over Telford Tigers on Saturday.
A big Planet Ice crowd – who sacrificed an evening in the sun – were rewarded with goals by Adam Calder, Adam Brittle and Leigh Jamieson as Lightning enjoyed a comfortable victory two weeks before their English Premier League opener.
But it was youngster Hedley who impressed the most in his first senior game for the club, even saving a penalty, while Nick Chinn, Chris Wiggins, Dan Harris and Calder all made their debuts in Lightning colours, putting in solid performances.
Jamieson went close within minutes of the first puck drop, but Tigers’ netminder Declan Ryan was in ominous form to deny him, and a somewhat uneventful first period ended goalless.
The second period began with Calder sitting a two minute penalty and he was joined seconds later by Lukas Zatopek, but Tigers were unable to make their five-on-three advantage count.
Calder opened the scoring with a powerplay goal at 25:41, and a second came just 68 seconds later – Brittle connecting with a Blaz Emersic pass to double the home advantage.
As the period drew on, Ross Green was judged to have impeded Tigers’ Patrick Greene as he closed in on goal, and referee Dan Boardman awarded a penalty shot – but Hedley stood resolutely firm and forced Greene to shoot wide and hit the pipes.
Nine minutes into the final period, Jamieson got his name on the scoresheet when he latched onto a cross from Brittle to score Lightning’s third and final goal of the evening, and despite their best efforts Telford were unable to prevent Hedley claiming a shut-out.
Lightning looked cool and composed on the puck but gave hints of a side not to be messed with, the debutants all gelling well with their new team-mates, and indeed the whole roster putting in solid performances to whet supporters’ appetites for this weekend’s annual ‘Ashes’ challenge matches against local rivals Peterborough Phantoms.
The EPL season then begins on September 22 with a home game against Manchester Phoenix, followed by a trip to Guildford Flames the following day.