Vipers edge it at Milton Keynes

In the week before this game, the sad news that MK Falcons were struggling with funding their Club was seen on twitter.

Their team put those woes firmly behind them on Saturday afternoon to produce a fierce, battling performance that showed exactly why the WPL and sport of ice hockey cannot afford to be without the likes of the Falcons.

The home team took the lead on a power play with one of their youngest players, the up and coming, Bryony Russell setting the tone for the game.

Robin Mullen equalized with an unassisted goal at 16:56. And keeping going to the very end of the period proved to be invaluable, with a further goal from Mullen with just one second remaining in the period (assisted Madison Wright and Bea Lester).

Nevertheless, Vipers were fortunate to be leading 2-1 at the break, having been outshot by 14 to 6.

More penalty trouble for Vipers brought a second and equalizing goal for MK at 28:38 with Rachael Clough leading the charge back –  a levelling goal, assisted by Abigail Lester.

Pressure around the MK net allowed Renata Mudrakova to squeeze home a go-ahead marker at 32:19 with Robin Mullen this time providing the helping hand.

An immediate response from the Falcons saw Elizabeth Archer put away an unassisted effort to once more return the match all square.

At 36:33, solid centre ice work would see Robin Mullen be put through to score and allow Vipers to go into the second interval with a one-goal lead still intact.

For the first time in the game, Nottingham managed to gain a two-goal spread when Megan Rathbone was put through on the power play and netted at 50:19.

Another young developing talent of the Milton Keynes organisation put the outcome fully back in doubt, with Aiyana Moran restoring a one-goal game at 54:25, assisted by Kirsten Noble.

As we have said before, the this year’s WPL is exactly how a competitive league should be.

No team can be assured of a result wherever they travel to; and all matches are involving a full mix of both experienced and younger players.

Both teams should be proud of what they are achieving and on this occasion it resulted in a narrow 5-4 win for Vipers, which followed a tight draw earlier in the season at Nottingham.

Final score: Falcons 4; Vipers 5

Robin Mullen                        3+1

Madison Wright                   0+2

Megan Rathbone                 1+0

Renata Mudrakova              1+0

Beatrice Lester                     0+1

Shots on Holly Steeples      44           SV%   90.9%

Pens: Falcons 6; Vipers 22