Corey McEwen dealt a bitter blow to Smith Recycling MK Lightning’s English Premier League championship hopes at MK Arena on Saturday – striking twice within the space of three minutes to give Telford Tigers a vital 2-1 victory.
Corey McEwen, son of Cardiff Devils legend Doug, finally levelled for Tigers 2mins 8secs from the end of regulation time – then sunk Lightning with the winner 29 seconds into overtime.
An under-strength Lightning were forced to defend like Trojans in the third period – the shots on goal amply demonstrating the pressure the Shropshire outfit had – 16-5 in their favour.
As the game went on Lightning fans were just hopping that maybe, just maybe, their luck would hold out to allow the team to hold onto the slender lead they held at first break. Even in the first period it was, in truth, Telford who had the better chances in the opening 20 minutes.
Tom Carlon joined the absentee list of Glenn Billing and Mikolaj Lopuski, meaning Lightning had just three lines of forwards.
At the other end Przemy Odrobny was able to deal with a speculative Joe Miller effort with equal ease before Blaz Emersic tried to set up Luc Johnson who failed to get enough on his shot to have any chance of scoring.
Milan Kolena and Rick Plant then threatened the home goal but the Brit’s finish was lacking while Marcus Heywood was robbed by Sam Jones just as he was about to unleash his shot.
Lightning eventually 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 score before Doug Clarkson was thwarted by Odrobny .
In the dying seconds of the period Bakrlik was unlucky when supplied by Hook.
A couple of minutes later Odrobny denied Clarkson ahead of the first penalty of the game – falling to Tigers for having too many imports on the ice at 23mins 42secs.
But afforded the extra man Lightning had virtually no pressure on the Telford goal.
Back at even strength Michael Farn tried to set up Bobby Chamberlain but his shot ended up past the right post.
It was Farn who got in the way of an Adam Taylor effort. Taylor did manage to get a shot away soon after but man of the match Przemy Odrobny was able to save.
Odrobny was superb all night and he quickly denied Clarkson before being equal to challenge when Miller tried to dummy him.
Scott attempted to put Jordan Cownie away for a shot but the move didn’t come off before Telford had a ‘goal’ disallowed – Odrobny having made the save the puck was taken off him as he was pushed into the net.
So the second period ended without further score.
Tigers had their first powerplay of the night four minutes or so into the third session when Milan Baranyk was called for interference – McEwen had an attempt stopped by the goalie and then puck bounced around the MK goal before being cleared.
When Tigers’ Michal Satek was sin binned, also for interference, in the 51st minute the hosts were unable to find the second goal which may well have made the game same.
It was to prove to be their undoing as McEwen, supplied by Dan Scott and Satek, struck home on 57mins 52secs for a delayed penalty goal – James Griffin called for tripping seconds before.
That ensured overtime for the visitors and they didn’t waste their time in grabbing the winner through McEwen, set up by the veterans Rick Plant and Jonathan Weaver just 29 seconds after the restart.
Man of the Match: Przemyslaw Odrobny
Report: Paul Brookman