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Raiders dealt a blow to Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning’s ambitions of making ground on the teams above them in the National Ice Hockey League as Lewis Clifford’s charges went down 6-4 at Romford’s Sapphire Ice Centre on Sunday.
Coupled with Saturday’s overtime loss to Swindon Wildcats it meant that Lightning gleaned just a single point from the weekend and although still in sixth position are level on points with Sheffield Steeldogs who defeated Raiders the previous day.
There was a bright start for Lightning when Cale Tanaka set up Tom Carlon to fire them ahead with a shot past goalie Michael Gray after 2mins 29secs. But within seconds Raiders were level – Aaron Connolly being supplied by Brandon Ayliffe for the equaliser at three minutes exactly.
A pair of penalties on Liam Stewart and Jack Flynn on 7mins 59secs, for interference and elbows respectively, made no difference to the score. Flynn was back in the box after 10mins 31secs, being assessed two minutes for tripping and two minutes for roughing together with MK’s Grant McPherson who was given just the two minutes for roughing.
Hooking and holding the opponent’s stick were the calls when both teams lost players to the cooler on 12mins 47secs – Ollie Baldock and James Griffin the offenders. These penalties eventually saw MK edge in front again at 13mins 55secs when Ross Green made the supply for Leigh Jamieson.
The officials then called both Raiders’ Blahoslav Novak and MK’s Jordan Stokes at the same time on 15mins 14secs for roughing and holding respectively with the consequence that MK were able to take a 3-1 lead when Jamieson and Green were involved in Tomas Kana’s strike on 16mins 46secs.
But Raiders soon hit back with Skinns conceding to an unassisted Ayliffe shot at 18mins 7secs before Olegs Lascenko squared things up 18 seconds before the interval.
After the glut of first period penalties the second session was relatively trouble free with the first call not coming until 31mins 37secs when Connolly went for roughing. By that stage Raiders had taken the lead for the first time as Novak was assisted by Jake Pitchley for the home side’s fourth goal on 29mins 34secs.
It was a major penalty on Lukas Sladovsky 49 seconds before the break that gave Lightning the chance to equalise. The offender was handed a game misconduct, abuse of an official and slashing penalty to give the visitors a powerplay from which Robin Kovar set up Russell Cowley to score with 14 seconds to the buzzer.
Unfortunately it was the last time that MK were able to break Gray – Raiders gaining the go ahead goal through Lascenko from Novak 1mins 35secs after the restart while Cowley was in the sin bin for tripping.
Lightning were unable to make anything of penalties on Jacob Ranson and former Guildford Flames player Piatak and when they withdrew Skinns for the final 40 seconds or so in favour of the extra skater their fate was sealed with an empty net strike by Ayliffe to make it 6-4 to the hosts.
Man of the match: Ross Green.
Photo: Tony Sargent