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Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning’s best winning run of the season was eventually sunk by the pirates of Hull who struck twice in the third period goals to seal a 5-3 win at Kingston on Sunday.  Lightning opened the scoring late in the first session and for long parts of the game matched their opponents goal for goal until a powerplay marker with just over five minutes remaining finally put Hull in control.

Pirates drew the first penalty with under five minutes gone when Lee Bonner was caught slashing Russ Cowley but the visitors were unable to make anything of the resulting powerplay and the home outfit also survived a holding penalty on Bobby Chamberlain.  Eventually it was Lightning who achieved the breakthrough when Cale Tanaka set up Tomas Kana with 2mins 23secs of the first session remaining – MK outshooting their hosts 13-7.

It didn’t take long into the middle period for Hull to equalise – just 3mins 21secs had elapsed when Peter Fabus supplied Bonner to beat goalie Dean Skinns. And less than three minutes later Bonner was back in the goals – aided by Sam Towner – to put Pirates in front on 26mins 4secs.  However a cross checking call on Steven Chalmers provided the opportunity for MK to level with the extra man as Kana bagged his second of the game, this time assisted by Ross Green and Cowley, at 32mins 34secs.

Hull were soon back in front – thanks to a holding penalty on Tanaka which allowed Bonner to set up former MK forward David Norris to score after 35mins 2secs. Pirates then thought they had registered a fourth only for it to be washed out, prompting protests from Chamberlain. That earned him a 10 minutes misconduct penalty – and MK a powerplay.

Once more Lightning were on equal terms when Rio Grinell-Parke and Robin Kovar had a hand in Liam Stewart’s goal on 36mins 39secs – his fifth of the weekend.  With the game evenly poised going into the third period Lightning were soon on the powerplay after veteran Kevin Phillips caught Tanaka in the face with a high stick but Pirates saw off the short-handed spell and once more edged in front on 44mins 26secs as Bonner added his second strike of the game.

This time there was no reply from the visitors who lost the services of Kana in the 50th minute when he received a total of 12 minutes for checking to the head and misconduct. However it was a double penalty on Grant McPherson and Hallden Barnes-Garner, both for slashing, Hull’s Chamberlain also receiving two minutes for the same offence at the same time, that gave the home team a man advantage with 54mins 24secs gone.

Unfortunately for Lightning the home side’s player-coach Jason Hewitt was able to wrap the game up within 17 seconds to make it 5-3 and although Bonner was penalised for charging late on there was no late reply from MK despite a timeout and the replacement of Dean Skinns for the extra skater.

Man of the match: Robin Kovar.

Photo: Tony Sargent