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Hull Seahawks vs MK Lightning Cup Final First Leg 20.3.24

The Hull Reckitt Seahawks faced the MK Lightning in the 1st leg of the National Cup final in a mid-week meeting, taking a narrow 4-5 loss after 2 goals in 6 seconds from the Lightning inside the final 5 minutes. Both MK and Hull came into the game on the back of a 4-point weekend, to remain 2nd and 5th in the league respectively. However, the last time the 2 sides met back in February, the Lightning claimed a 5-2 win, despite Hull being the only team to have taken points off MK at home so far this season.

The Seahawks iced a squad of 17+2 with #5 Rhys Edwards returning, only missing forward #19 Alex Kent to complete the full team. Regular start #72 Jordan McLaughlin retained his position between the pipes, after helping his team to a 6-4 victory over the Wildcats on Sunday and was backed up by #6 Tim Lyons.

Meanwhile, the Lightning travelled with a healthy 19+2, missing assistant captains #15 James Griffin and #59 Ross Venus, plus #71 Harry Gulliver. However, they were boosted by the league’s top-points scorer #7 Rory Herrman, #14 Dillon Lawrence, #25 Ed Knaggs and #92 Nathan Ripley who all missed out in the previous game against the Sheffield Steeldogs. MK opted for netminder #1 Jordan Hedley, backed up by #31 Will Kerlin who was given the start against the Steeldogs.

1st period –

Hull opted for the line of Bonner, Salem and Ulrick to face the Lightning in the opening face-off of a highly anticipated game with over 2000 in attendance. The Seahawks fired shots on #1 Hedley and despite spilling a few, the firepower failed to clutch an early goal. The atmosphere in the rink echoed onto the ice. as both sides played a physical fast-paced game, hunting for the first goal.

After several chances in the creases, causing tensions to spill, #8 Liam Stewart gave his side the advantage. Player-coach #28 Tim Wallace skated down the right wing following a pass from #21 Ross Green and sent the puck over to Stewart who fired a one-timer at 7:51 over McLaughlin’s shoulder. The first penalty of the game was then handed to #56 Tom Stubley at 8:59 after hooking #28 Wallace on the breakaway.

The ever-clinical Hull PK team prevented a 2nd goal for the Lightning and returned to 5 skaters. The Seahawks made several attempts through Svec and Sobchak, however neither could time the perfect shot to equalise. #72 Jordan McLaughlin was also called upon multiple times, but he held his position well to deny MK’s attacking strength.

Hull returned back to the penalty kill at 16:21 after #15 Jamie Chilcott was called for cross-checking for slamming #33 Milique Martelly into the boards in the Hull zone. Once again, the Seahawks PK unit denied Milton Keynes on the power-play after forcing them out of the attacking zone numerous times to leave the Lightning just 1 goal ahead. As the 1st period buzzer sounded, words were exchanged between several players causing a huddle near the benches.

2nd period –

The Seahawks started the middle frame on a 2min man advantage as #4 Archie Salisbury sat a misconduct call for MK. Despite multiple chances for Hull through #11 Ulrick and #71 Švec, they failed to equalise before the penalty expired. MK wasted no time and immediately applied offensive pressure on the Seahawks, but McLaughlin was wise to every shot. However, on the counter-attack, former Lightning player #21 Bobby Chamberlain found the equaliser for Hull at 27:00. #71 Emil Švec fired the initial shot on Hedley, allowing Chamberlain to collect the rebound which fired upwards, but Bobby locked eyes on the moving puck and chipped it over the line mid-air.

#74 Lee Bonner set up a major chance for #7 Tom Barry seconds after the goal, but his snipe was glove saved by Hedley. MK were eager to re-claim their lead and converted an opportunity at 31:27 after #14 Dillon Lawrence threaded a pass to #10 Toms Rutkis, who fired low into the bottom corner past #72 McLaughlin. Hull were then handed a chance to level the game at 35:54 as #28 Tim Wallace sat for a check-to-the-head penalty.

The Lightning PK unit failed to stop Hull’s top-points scorer #71 Emil Švec (who had crossed the triple-figure threshold in the previous week) after a drop pass by #96 Owen Sobchak via #11 Fin Ulrick, allowed Švec to fire a laser beam past #1 Jordan Hedley at 36:50. After the 2-2 equaliser, a collision between players in centre ice at 38:43, left #11 Fin Ulrick to sit a tripping penalty which gave MK a chance to score their 3rd goal.

However, Canadian import #96 Owen Sobchak put the Seahawks ahead for the first time, with a short-handed goal to post the score at 3-2. Canadian D-man #24 Brock Bartholomew fed a stretch pass from the Hull zone to Sobchak who danced and deked past Hedley to send the puck over his shoulder at 39:10. This gave the hosts the advantage heading into the final period of the first leg.

3rd period –

Hull killed the remainder of Ulrick’s penalty with ease, although the League’s top-point scorer #7 Rory Herrman added his name to the scoreboard for Lightning soon after at 41:54, going close range to launch the puck over McLaughlin to draw the game back to a tie. The Seahawks peppered #1 Jordan Hedley in the MK net, but he matched every move to uphold the 3-3 scoreline.

Hull’s #74 Lee Bonner was the one to break the deadlock, as he capitalised on a breakaway set up by #96 Owen Sobchak, slotting the puck 5-hole on Hedley to clench the lead and 4th goal for the Seahawks. Milton Keynes immediately applied the pressure back on Hull, causing tensions to spill as the game approached the final 10 minutes.

Hull’s #91 Nathan Salem received a tripping penalty at 54:07 which was disputed by players, leading to several conversations across the ice during the break in play. The Seahawks failed to prevent the MK power-play unit, allowing forward #14 Dillon Lawrence to tap the puck over the line at 55:40 following a pin-point pass by #7 Rory Herrman through #28 Tim Wallace.

Hull then returned back to 5 skaters, but the Lightning punished the home side further. Just 6 seconds after the 4th goal, #89 Rio Grinell-Parke sniped the puck from point after #16 Mack Stewart won the initial face-off and left the drop-pass to his teammate. Hull were relentless in the closing minutes of the game, but the Lightning clenched onto the 4-5 scoreline to carry forward an advantage into the 2nd leg, scheduled to be played down in Milton Keynes on Tuesday night.

MVPs were awarded to Canadian forward #96 Owen Sobchak for the Hull Seahawks who claimed a SH goal during the game. Meanwhile, #14 Dillon Lawrence received the title for the MK Lightning after a solid performance, racking up 2 points.

Officials: Sewell, Williams, Arnold, Hesselwood

Hull Seahawks: Owen Sobchak 1+2, Emil Švec 1+1, Bobby Chamerlain 1+0, Lee Bonner 1+0, Fin Ulrick 0+1, Brock Bartholomew 0+1, Declan Balmer 0+1

Jordan McLaughlin – (10/7/10) 27 shots

MK Lightning: Liam Stewart 1+1, Dillon Lawrence 1+1, Rory Herrman 1+1, Toms Rutkis 1+0, Rio Grinell-Parke 1+0, Tim Wallace 0+2, Ross Green 0+1, Lewis Christie 0+1, Mack Stewart 0+1

Jordan Hedley – (11/12/9) 32 shots

Article written by Fleur Tobin