ICE HOCKEY: Milton Keynes Lightning 1, Swindon Wildcats 3
SWINDON Wildcats produced a stunning third period display to book their place in the EPL play-off finals weekend.
Having been trailing from the first-leg last night 3-2, Jan Kostal fired Wildcats to a 3-1 success over Milton Keynes Lightning at the Skydome in Coventry to secure a 5-4 aggregate victory.
The former Czech Republic international played in both Aaron Nell and Henri Sandvik at the Skydome before he struck a penalty in the dying stages of the match to seal a stunning win.
Knowing that they were behind in the tie, Cats, started the second leg with a nervous edge, chasing for their worth but they could not find a way through a resilient Lightning defence and an in-form netminder in Stephen Wall.
And without Sam Bullas, who injured his ankle during Saturday’s defeat, Cats were up against it. They were forced to shoot from range with Aku Pekkarinen and Jonas Hoog coming closest for the visitors in the opening two periods.
With so much at stake, this quarter-final clash was beginning to boil over in the second period and none more so when Cats’ Sam Smith and Lightning’s Leigh Jamieson both receiving a lengthy spell in the sin-bin for attempting spearing.
With this second-leg all-square going into the final period, Cats finally brought the tie level on 47.08 when Aaron Nell slammed the puck home to send the visiting fans into hysterics after he was played in by Jan Kostal.
And Henri Sandvik fired Cats into the lead in the tie on 49.57 when he tucked away Kostal’s pass to make it 2-0 on the night, but Lightning’s man-of-the-match Tom Carlon looked to have sent this tie into overtime when he struck on 57.58 to silence Wildcats and finally beat Cats man of the match Stevie Lyle.
However, Kostal was brought down in front of the Lightning goal ready to shoot, he runs the penalty and slips it past Wall on 59.33 and fire Cats into finals weekend.