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After leading Bracknell Bees for much of the game Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning came close to a second win but suffered penalty shoot-out disappointment at The Hive on Sunday.
Bees took maximum points thanks to a solitary Robin Kovar penalty strike against man of the match goalie Jordan Lawday as Lightning’s Ari Närhi, Tomas Kana and Cale Tanaka all failed to find a way past former MK stopper, Adam Goss. Lightning welcomed back Tanaka following his absence the previous evening but were still without four other members of the roster so assistant coach Ross Bowers was called into action once again.
Following a successful penalty kill when Lightning saw off a fourth minute holding call against Brodie Jesson it was MK that struck first when Närhi supplied Rio Grinell-Parke to register at 9mins 40secs. It was a lead Lightning were to retain until late into the middle period – Bees’ cause not helped by first session penalties on Zack Milton for slashing and Aidan Doughty for tripping.
Lewis Clifford’s men survived an early second period Bees powerplay resulting from a slashing penalty on Jordan Stokes. MKL were unable to press their advantage as the hosts’ Roman Malinik went to the box for slashing nor on the powerplay that came after Joshua Martin clashed with Harry Ferguson. While the MK man received two minutes for roughing his combatant was handed 12 minutes for a check to the head and misconduct plus two minutes for roughing.
No goals resulted and having overcome this, Bees levelled things up with 1min 18secs remaining on the clock thanks to a Malinik inspired goal by Will Stead. Within 26 seconds of the start of the final stretch Lightning were back in front as Kana set up Ben Russell to fire in on target from the point – the other assist going to Russ Cowley.
Veteran Joe Baird then picked up two minutes for a late hit giving Lightning another fruitless penalty – possibly the rhythm of this was interrupted by a high stick call on Stuart Mogg at the same time as Grinell-Parke was assessed a slashing penalty. Bees equalised again through former Manchester Phoenix marksman, Robin Kovar, on 49mins 35secs, aided by former Milton Keynes player, Ed Knaggs. Kovar then edged Bees ahead at 52mins 13secs, this time the supply came from Doughty.
But when Brendan Baird was thrown out of the game on a match penalty for slashing and roughing after an altercation in the corner with Cale Tanake on 53mins 15secs Lightning wasted no time in making the hosts pay. Within 41 seconds MK were level as Grinell-Parke bagged his second of the night, helped by Tanaka and Kana.
Despite a lot of pressure in a high intensity powerplay they could not find a way through again before the end of regulation time or in the extra five minutes – that said Bees were equally as unsuccessful so penalty shots were needed. Ultimately it was Bees who prevailed for the two points – MK having to be content with one.
Man of the match: Jordan Lawday.
Photo: Kevin Slyfield