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Default MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

Friday night is hockey night in MK this week, as we welcome the Nottingham Panthers to Planet Ice for our first foray into the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup.

Home Team - Milton Keynes Lightning

Netminders

#1 Jordan Hedley (u23)
#20 Miika Wiikman (SWE)

Defencemen

#2 Carl Hudson (A) (CAN)
#5 Ed Knaggs (u23)
#15 James Griffin
#24 Quin Pompi (USA)
#42 Paul Phillips (A) (USA)
#50 Matt Nickerson (USA)
#79 Evan Stoflet (USA)

Forwards

#10 Tommy Mele (USA)
#11 Lewis Hook (u23)
#12 Guillame Doucet (CAN)
#14 Alex Forbes (u23)
#16 Ben Foster (USA)
#19 Kyle Essery (CAN)
#21 Luc Johnson (u23)
#22 Denny Kearney (USA)
#25 Kevin King (C) (CAN)
#26 Christian Isackson (USA)
#72 Glenn Billing (u23)
#78 Francis Verreault-Paul (CAN)
#89 Jonathan Boxill

Head Coach: Peter Russell

In a move that surprised many fans around the country, MK Lightning used their power in the QF picks to choose the Panthers as their opponents, as well as opting to play the 1st leg at home. With the Panthers suffering a slight dip of late from their early season form this could potentially turn out to be a very wise decision.

Denny Kearney is currently tied 2nd overall for the most points scored in this seasons Challenge Cup, having registered 6 goals and 5 assists from 6 games so far. Pete Russell has moved to strengthen the team this week, with the arrival of 33yr old US defenceman Evan Stoflet, who is likely to be thrown straight into action with MKL only having four other recognised defencemen available for this game.

Lightning topped their Challenge Cup group, with 5 wins and 1 loss from the initial 6 games, scoring 25 and conceding 16 goals.

Away Team - Nottingham Panthers

Netminders

#30 Patrick Galbraith (DEN)
#31 Sam Gospel (u23)
#34 Michael Garnett (CAN)

Defencemen

#13 Joseph Hazeldine (Jnr)
#21 Yann Sauve (CAN)
#25 Josh Tetlow (u23)
#33 Dan Spang (A) (USA)
#45 Stephen Lee (C)
#54 Tim Billingsley (CAN)
#57 Mathieu Brisebois (CAN)
#75 Mathieu Gagnon (CAN)

Forwards

#5 David Clarke
#7 Robert Lachowicz
#9 Brett Perlini (CAN)
#14 Jordan Kelsall (u23)
#16 Jeff Brown (A) (CAN)
#17 Evan Mosey (USA)
#19 Robert Farmer
#23 Mark Derlago (CAN)
#29 Erik Lindhagen (SWE)
#44 Josh Shalla (CAN)
#51 Zack Phillips (CAN)
#71 Alexander Mokshantsev (RUS)
#74 Oliver Betteridge (u23)
#91 Raphael Bussieres

Head Coach: Corey Neilson

With strength in depth, Coach Neilson and the Panthers boast one of the deepest rosters within the Elite League. They qualified for the Quarter Final stage having finished 2nd in their group behind the Sheffield Steelers, with a record of 3 wins and 3 losses from their 6 games, scoring 23 and conceding 20.

Evan Mosey is their current highest scorer within the Challenge Cup, tied 16th overall, with 4 goals and 4 assists from the 6 games. Canadian forward Brett Perlini is their current highest scorer in all competitions, with 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 pts from 36 games.

Previous Meetings:

Panthers 4 (OT) - 3 MKL (EIHL)
MKL 3 - 5 Panthers (EIHL)

With this being the 1st of 7 games in the next 13 days for MK Lightning, this Christmas period could well be a testing and crucial time of the season for Pete and the team.

Doors open at Planet Ice MK at 1800, with face off expected around 1900hrs

I will be live updating the forum from the game, with updates presumably for those on Twitter @MKL_Matchnight

Live Stream will be available for those unable to travel, courtesy of Lightning Tv

Match Preview courtesy of mk-lightning.co.uk
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

Full list of Friday fixtures:

Lightning v Panthers (Challenge Cup)
Stars v Flyers (EIHL)
Storm v Flames (EIHL)
Clan v Devils (EIHL)
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

Team News

MK Lightning:

#50 Matt Nickerson - 2nd of 2 game suspension
#78 Francis Verrault-Paul - 2nd of 4 game suspension

#14 Alex Forbes - has missed the last 2 games due to injury - unknown if fit again

Having iced in the EIHL for the first time this season in last weeks home win against Coventry Blaze, #21 Luc Johnson and #72 Glenn Billing could well be available tonight if required, along with #5 Ed Knaggs, as Peterborough Phantoms and Swindon Wildcats are not playing until Saturday night.

Nottingham Panthers:

#17 Evan Mosey - currently injured
#30 Patrick Galbraith - currently injured
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

With Lightning continuing their run in the Challenge Cup, tonight will give fans another chance to Pink The Rink, and all fans in attendance will be given a free entry for tonight's 50/50 draw, that is guaranteed to be a minimum of £1250.

The club are also asking fans to stay behind after the match, as the players would like to show their appreciation for the support given so far this season, and to wish all the fans a Merry Christmas.
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

Good evening from Planet Ice MK, we’re about 30mins from doors opening for tonight’s Challenge Cup matchup with the Nottingham Panthers.

A few of the MKL players have been out kicking a ball around, including #72 Glenn Billing
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

Players from both teams are starting to emerge from the dressing rooms, we're minutes away from the warm up and the all important team news
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

Both teams out on the ice for warm up, lead out by #20 Wiikman and #34 Garnett

MKL appear to be without:
#5 Knaggs
#14 Forbes
#50 Nickerson
#78 Verrault-Paul

Panthers appear to be without:
#13 Hazeldine
#14 Kelsall
#17 Mosey
#30 Galbraith

By my reckoning, that gives MKL: 2 NM's, 5 D & 11 F

Panthers: 2 NM's, 7 D & 12 F
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

5mins of warm up remain, Hedley and Gospel facing shots
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

That is the warm up over, back in 20mins for the opening face off, and I'll try and find out the officials for tonight
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Default Re: MK Lightning v Nottingham Panthers - CC QF 1st Leg - Fri 22/12/17 F.O. 1900

Looks like Mr Darnell will be in charge tonight
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