National Ice Hockey League Division 2 (South)

Stars outshine Thunder in Milton Keynes

Match Report: Milton Keynes Thunder Vs Stars

21st November 2016    Match,News

Oxford City Stars away at Milton Keynes Thunder on 19th November 2016.

Oxford City Stars travelled to Milton Keynes Thunder looking to put two cup defeats against the same opponents behind them. Thunder were looking to extend their unbeaten run under new coach Nicky Chinn.

The Stars started nervously as the Thunder went forward from the start, failing to clear the puck from their defensive zone. Stars netminder Tom Annetts was in early action with a fine glove save, and that was to set the tone for the remainder of the game. Stars best goal effort came from defenceman Jake Florey when his shot evaded Milton Keynes netminder David Wride and was cleared from behind the netminder by his defence. Jakub Klima was a constant threat for the home side and he forced Annetts into action again after skating through the Oxford defence. Stars settled into the game and in the 12th minute scored their first goal. A good period of Stars pressure saw the puck squirm away from Wride; it was passed back to Dominic Hopkins whose shot from the blue line was deflected in by the impressive Ben Paynter. Stars had further chances to extend their lead in the first period when Jaroslav Cesky went close. Klima had a great chance, on the breakaway, to level things up but Annetts stood big and denied him.

The second period saw Stars start brightly. Matt Jordan and Cesky both had efforts saved by Wride. Hallam Wilson and Logan Prince combined well with the later just failing to finish the move off. Stars Josh Florey and Thunders Jamie Line had words with each other as the Thunder tried to up the physical element of the game, a move which Stars countered by doing the same. A holding penalty on Stars Joe Edwards followed and it was Annetts who was then called on to make some more saves as Thunder attacked. Firstly he made a fine double save, and then a further save from Klima after he was left a lovely drop pass to latch onto. Klima then had a golden chance to level the score as he missed what seemed to be an open goal. Stars replied and in the 35th minute, it was Mike Whillock who scored Stars second goal when he finished off a move involving the influential Cesky and Alan Green, when the his shot trickled into the goal after Wride failed to get enough on the shot to block it. Stars third goal followed quickly when Josh Oliver scored after a Wilson shot had just missed the goal and rebounded off the boards back in front to the Thunder goal.

The third period started with Cesky picking up a minor penalty for delay of the game as his pass out of defence left the playing arena over the plexi glass. Thunder saw this as their opportunity as first a Klima shot, then a Chinn Shot and finally a Boris Ruzicka shot were all expertly handled by Annetts. In the 46th minute Line eventually beat Annetts with a shot, only to set his effort hit the cross bar of the goal and fly away to safety. A delayed penalty on Ben Paynter saw the home side able to withdraw Wride for the additional skater and once again it was Klima who should have scored. Klima had one more chance to score when his shot pinged off the outside of Annetts goal post. With just over a minute remaining on the game Annetts was finally beaten when a Chinn pass from behind the net found former Stars player James Clarke just in front of the goal for him to score the consolation marker.

Annetts was undoubtedly the deserved Man of the Match winner for the Stars, turning away 37 of the 38 shots faced, but this was a good team performance from the Stars that built from Annetts forward.

Ian Dibley

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