Match Reports are brought to you in association with A2B Airport Transfers
The Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning suffered their second defeat in as many nights on Sunday as Leeds Chiefs came into Planet Ice Milton Keynes and took a 6-4 victory. Having lost Jordan Lawday to injury following the defeat in Swindon on Saturday night, Lightning were pleased to welcome Harrison Gavan into the team as back up to Brandon Stones. Having missed the game in Swindon, Lewis Christie returned to a Lightning line-up that was still missing Grant McPherson, Harry Ferguson, James Griffin and Russ Cowley.
Searching for a good start, Lightning soon found themselves on the back foot. With Tom Carlon in the box for slashing Leeds went ahead on the powerplay, their leading goalscorer Adam Barnes, who scored his first professional goal against Lightning last season whilst playing with the Manchester Storm, put one past Stones assisted by Archer and Meidl less than 2 minutes into the contest. Just over 10 minutes later it was a similar story as Leeds once again cashed in a powerplay opportunity. With Kana in the box for roughing, Andres Kopstals bagged his first goal for the club assisted by Baldwin and Barnes. There was time for Lightning to get one back before the 1st intermission, after good interplay between Jamieson and Tanaka, Rio Grinell-Parke put the puck beyond Gospel. The period ended with the Chiefs up 2-1, with Lightning having outshot their visitors 12-9.
The 2nd period was full of goals as the two teams shared 6 between them. It was Lightning who would strike first, leveling the game on the powerplay. With Bentham in the box for slashing and after more good work from the impressive Tanaka, Grinell-Parke was on hand to net his and Lightning’s second a little over 2 minutes into the period. However, parity was to last for a little over 4 minutes as Leeds struck twice in 50 seconds to take control of the game again, first Steven Moore converted on a 2 on 1, set up by Kopstals and Baldwin and the noisy contingent of Leeds travelling fans had barely stopped celebrating their sides third, when Joe Coulter grabbed his first from the club, tapping into an unguarded net after a setup from Ethan Hehir. The two goal lead lasted just 2 minutes as Tom Carlon announced his return to the Milton Keynes Lightning, out muscling his defender before forcing the puck under Gospel and a frantic sequence of 4 goals in 3.24 was completed when Tanaka got his goal having been a provider on 2 previous Lightning goals, out skating the Chiefs defence before sniping one over Gospel’s shoulder. The scoring for the 2nd wasn’t finished there though, the Chiefs would take the lead for good just 2 minutes later, Barnes getting his second powerplay goal of the night, putting one in off the cross bar with Stones unsighted. There was still time for the Chiefs to hit the bar again through Sam Zajac before the period ended. After all that action, it was 5-4 to Leeds with Lightning outshooting the Chiefs 14-11 in the middle session.
Lightning were looking for a quick response in the 3rd and after they had killed a penalty on Lewis Christie, were given a powerplay of their own as Bentham sat for hooking. A goal was scored on the powerplay, but unfortunately for Lightning it was scored shorthanded by Kopstals after a mistake from Kana at the offensive blue line let the speedy forward in on a breakaway. The 6-4 scoreline remained the same as penalties took over in the 2nd half of the final period with Leeds outshooting Lightning 19-9 in the 3rd period and 39-35 overall.
The Chiefs man of the match went to Adam Barnes and Cale Tanaka (sponsored by A2B Airport Transfers) took home the award for the home side.
Your Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning start next weekend on the road in Basingstoke, before returning home on Sunday to take on the Swindon Wildcats in a 5.15 faceoff. The skate with the players event that was postponed yesterday due to the late arrival of the Leeds team coach following a breakdown will take place after this weekend’s game. Tickets are available here.
Photo: Tony Sargent