BRENDAN CONNOLLY hailed the Purple Army after his hat-trick helped the Clan secure a vital 6-4 Elite League win over MK Lightning on Saturday.

With Lightning among Clan coach Pete Russell’s former sides, it was always going to be a raucous affair and Connolly believes the Braehead crowd played a big part after Clan went 4-0 in the first period.

The 33-year-old forward said: “It always feel good any time you can score one goal, never mind three. It was a good game, the puck was finding me and I was just doing my best to bury the opportunities when they came.

“Once you go two up that fast, the Purple Army get into it and we fed off that momentum after that.

“We found ourselves in a game but you kinda expect them to have a pushback and they did. They came hard for a little bit and we were on our heels with a couple of penalties, but we stuck with it, the goals game and we were able to bounce back from that.

“It felt frantic on the ice. They were a physical side so we knew they were going to be coming hard. They had some big hits but with that they got themselves out of position so we just had to keep aware and were able to make a few plays with them stretching - we made a few opportunities that ended up costing them.

“The crowd responded to that. You could feel it on the ice, it was great.”

Head coach Russell added: “Connolly likes these type of games. You give him chances and he’ll score. He’s that gifted.

“His first goal when he protected it and rolled was great. His third goal was nice as well when they overstretched and he made a nice finish there.”