Match Reports are brought to you in association with A2B Airport Transfers
Welcome to the DISCO show Hull Pirates! Sensational Stewart steered Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning to a super 8-5 victory over Hull Pirates at Planet Ice on Saturday with four goals and two assists.
Not content with having bagged a hat-trick Liam Stewart finally wrecked any chance Hull Pirates had of a last gasp comeback with an unassisted empty net goal scored while he was prostrate on the ice diving to clear the puck from his own defensive zone!
And then to rub in the wounds Leigh Jamieson registered a further empty net strike 33 seconds later to drive the final dagger into the hearts of the Pirates as he made it 8-5.
Once more Lightning made a slow start as the league’s top scorer Pirates player coach Jason Hewitt capitalised on hesitation in the home defence to open the scoring on 1min 55ses.
But Hull’s lead did not last long – thanks to Stewart who took just two seconds to score after the visitors’ Lee Bonner was penalised for slashing in the fourth minute – the goal coming on 4mins 36secs.
When Tomas Kana was called for interference after 10mins 30secs that didn’t stop Stewart who won the puck in the neutral zone, beat his marker and raced away up the left to shoot to the far side of goalie Ashley Smith for a short-handed marker 29 seconds after the start of the penalty.
Once more Hull bounced back to equalise through a Chris Wilcox assisted goal from James Archer after 13mins 26secs. Seconds later Hull were reduced to four skaters when Bobby Chamberlain had a go at Hallden Barnes-Garner and promptly earned himself two minutes for roughing.
That gave Lightning a powerplay from which Cale Tanaka put the final touch to with, you’ve guessed it, Stewart making the supply at 15mins 21secs.
Lightning held that slender advantage going into a second session which saw their progress hampered by a total of 24 minutes of penalties – including 12 minutes for Taylor Dickin on a boarding call.
It was Dickin who was in the sin bin within 1min 19secs of the start of the period for hooking – but the best Hull could manage with a man advantage was a Matt Bissonnette shot, the only one on target.
After the expiry of the two minutes of Taylor’s boarding penalty Lightning returned to full strength, making the most of it with Stewart scoring a goal which left fans wondering “how did he do that?” The upstairs shot went to the far side of Smith for MK’s fourth at 28mins 53secs.
But Hull were not finished and they hit back with a Bissonnette aided goal from Matty Davies after 32mins 5secs. That was the way the score remained at the second break – setting up what promised to be a tense third session which MK started short-handed with Rio Grinell-Parke in the penalty box for a late hit.
They survived the penalty and Stewart then made the neatest of set ups for Dickin to register his second goal in his Lightning career at 41mins 5secs. Stewart was the victim of a high stick in the face by Archer in the 44th minute and in a lesson some other players may take heed to note of – he showed no retaliation but skated to the bench only to immediately join the powerplay line.
Back at full strength, Hull cut the gap with a scrambled goal by Hewitt at 49mins 36secs.
Overtime loomed when Pirates drew level on 54mins 31secs as Bissonnette supplied Chamberlain to fire to the left of goalie Dean Skinns.
However, just over a minute later at 55mins 36secs, Jamieson supplied Tanaka for a close range goal to make it 6-5.
Inevitably Hull withdrew Smith for the extra skater with 1min 38secs remaining and that meant every home fan was looking for the opportunity for Stewart to score the empty net deciding goal.
Disco did not disappoint – capping a stellar show with his empty netter at 58mins 58secs.
Jamieson then capped the 8-5 win at 59mins 31secs with a second unguarded goal from long range.
Man of the match: Liam Stewart.
Photo credit: Tony Sargent, Milton Keynes Lightning