Thunder were desperately unlucky not to get a draw from their game against current champions Chelmsford Chieftains at MK Arena on Saturday, but went down 2-1.
Having surprised the Essex team by drawing 1 – 1 in Chelmsford earlier in the season, Thunder had high hopes of at least repeating that accomplishment in this game but once again their lack of concentration at the start led to a simple early goal for the visitors when Darren Brown got the tip in from a Matt Turner pass after just 39 seconds.
That was a rare error from Thunder, in general they played well and no one could fault the effort put in by the team throughout the game. A break out of defence by Simon Howard led to Thunder’s opening goal, with five minutes gone he skated hard into Chieftains defensive zone beating two or three players before laying the puck across the face of Chieftains goal to find Martyn Snape who put the puck past Euan King in the Chelmsford goal.
There was nothing to separate the teams for the rest of the period as both had chances and sustained periods of attack so 1–1 was the score going into the second period.
Although there weren’t any goals in the second period there were chances at both ends. Chieftains definitely had more of the possession but Thunder’s defence kept them to the outside limiting their scoring chances.
When they did get through, Damien King saved all eleven shots he faced. At the other end Tom Castle came close but just failed to lift the puck over Euan Kings outstretched pad.
More of the same in the final period and it was looking odds on that the teams would share the points until mid period when Brown for once found himself in space to score Chieftains second goal.
Thunder piled on the pressure looking for the equaliser and when Chieftains took a penalty with just 20 seconds to go it seemed the chance was there.
Damien King came off leaving an empty net and with the face off in Chieftains zone and a two man advantage Thunder went for it. Winning the face-off the puck went in on Chieftains goal, in the melee Mathias Rugholm hit the post.
Thunder now go to Kent on Saturday to take on second place Invicta Dynamos before returning to Milton Keynes on Sunday to face Wightlink Raiders for the last time in the regular season. If they play like they did in this game, they are capable of taking points from both games.