COVENTRY, UK – NATHAN Rempel broke Milton Keynes’ hearts as he fired Guildford Flames to the EPL Playoff Final.
He bagged his second of the match with just over two-and-half minutes remaining to give his side a 3-2 victory.
It was harsh on the Lightning who dominated for long periods and outshot their opponents.
But Mark Lee kept his charges in the game for long enough until Rempel clinically pounced.
For two periods it was pretty much all MK in an attacking sense.
They forged ahead on 6:14 when they caught the Flames napping on their own powerplay.
Michael Farn was in the box for Tripping but Adam Carr skated up the ice and cooly slotted past Lee in Guildford’s net.
That advantage was short-lived though as 77 seconds later Rempel latched on to Jozef Kohut and Rick Plant’s feed.
Both sides were playing on emotion and that caught fire when Flames’ Dean Holland was called for Charging after an altercation with Grant McPherson.
Scott Greenfield stepped in to assist his Lightning teammate and both linesman ended up flat on the ice trying to settle the battle.
Guildford couldn’t take advantage of the PP – a feat matched by Milton Keynes in the 15th minute when Andrew Hemmings was called for Slashing.
The Flames had the first powerplay opportunity of the second period (22:03) but found Stephen Wall in sparkling form once again.
And his opposite number had to be big on Carr’s shot three minutes later.
The Lightning stuck at it though and were rewarded when Farn’s shot found its way past Lee from distance.
Guildford killed Hemmings’ Interference call on 28:44 and Lee was once again massive as Kohut sat out a 2+10 for Checking to the Head.
Ben Campbell then saw his shot saved by Wall before Adam Brittle just couldn’t sneak the puck inside the post for what would have been a crucial two-goal lead.
MK should have been further ahead at the end of the second – and it came back to haunt them early in the third.
On 42:06 Jez Lundin found Dave Longstaff in space and the veteran hit a shot that looked to be covered by Wall, but sneaked through his pads.
Campbell had a shot well saved on 53 minutes and then Plant’s effort was somehow kept out of the Lightning net.
And with less than four minutes to go Plant hit Wall’s pads when he had the entire gaping open net to aim for.
But the pressure was building and with less than three minutes on the clock Branislav Kvetan’s shot was padded straight on to Rempel’s stick and he made no mistake.
Lightning pulled Wall with less than one minute remaining but they couldn’t find the equaliser.
Guildford: Rempel 2+0, Longstaff 1+0, Kohut 0+1, Plant 0+1, Lundin 0+1, Kvetan 0+1, Potts 0+1
MK: Carr 1+0, Farn 1+0, McPherson 0+1, Harris 0+1
Period Scoring: 1-1, 0-1, 2-0
PIMS: Guildford: 22 MK: 10
Powerplay: Guildford: 1 from 3 MK: 0 from 4
REF: Thompson and Pering
Shots: 11-8, 5-14, 9-12
MOM: Guildford: Nathan Rempel MK: Michael Farn