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An excellent display in the latter half of the game saw Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning come from two goals behind to convincingly beat Peterborough Phantoms 6-3 at Bretton on New Year’s Day. Three third period goals by an increasingly confident Lightning saw off their old foes and helped to dismiss the memory of the disappointing overtime loss in Milton Keynes the previous Saturday. It kept Lightning on course to march up the National Ice Hockey League – having taken 19 points out of a possible 22 in their last 11 games. That is form that even league leaders Telford Tigers cannot match.
The visitors suffered an early blow when Petr Stepanek, who failed to score against MK the previous Saturday, put that right with a goal after just 1min 7secs with the supply coming from Corey McEwen, son of former Peterborough and Cardiff Devils legend, Doug McEwen. McEwen was involved again, along with Will Weldon, when Stepanek doubled his tally less than 90 seconds later at 2mins 29secs with things already starting to look bleak for Lewis Clifford’s men who couldn’t make anything of a late first session tripping penalty on Gareth O’Flaherty. Lightning had already seen off an identical call on Lewis Christie in the 11th minute.
But within four minutes of the start of the second session Harry Ferguson took Tom Carlon’s pass to supply Robin Kovar for the first of the comeback goals at 23mins 46secs. And just over three minutes later it was all square with the new first line including Leigh Jamieson producing dividends as he put away Kovar’s feed on 26mins 51secs – Ben Russell initiating the move.
The travellers took the lead for the first time on 34mins 50secs when Tomas Kana got in on the scoring act to beat Jordan Marr from Cale Tanaka’s supply, the other helper going to Ross Green. However Phantoms drew level before the second interval, this time top scorer Ales Padelek was the man on the mark, aided by Tom Norton and James Ferrara at 37mins 34secs.
The third period increasingly belonged to Lightning who benefited from a misplaced Josh Tetlow pass which was gratefully received by Russ Cowley to send home on 44mins 35secs. The icing on the cake appeared to be Ferguson’s fourth goal in two games scored with 2mins 47secs left on the clock – assisted by Grant McPherson and Carlon. But when Phantoms’ coach Slava Koulikov called a timeout and withdrew Marr for the extra skater, Kovar, set up by Jamieson, had other ideas, firing in on the empty net at 58mins 40secs just eight seconds after Marr had come off to make it a great night for Lightning and the travelling army of fans.
It was the first time in 11 games that Liam Stewart hadn’t scored while all but Kovar’s empty net goal were scored with the teams at even strength.
Man of the match: Jordan Lawday.