We’re back in home action this coming Sunday as Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning welcome Swindon Wildcats back to Planet Ice for the first time this season, it is also our first skate with the players after last weekend was cancelled.

Essential Info – Doors Open 4:30pm, Warm up 4:35pm, Face Off 5:15pm.

Tickets available here or on 01908 540020.

To get you in the mood, check out DJ Bertie’s pre-match playlist here.  Players will come onto the ice for warmup to The Boys are Back by Dropkick Murphys.  Don’t forget to pick up your 50/50, Ollie’s Grid, Shirt off His Back tickets and Chuck a Ducks from the Supporters’ Club sellers around the rink and swing by the SC stand to pick up some MK Lightning merchandise (don’t forget they take card too!).

Skate with the players! After the match, and perfect to have a chat, get some tips and get something signed.  It’s always great fun and good to get up close to your favourite players on the ice.

Match preview

There’s no doubt that Lightning face a big task to keep the Wildcats at bay if they are to stand a chance of gaining revenge for the 7-0 loss at the Link Centre last weekend. Key will be staying out of the penalty box – it’s probably no co-incidence that Swindon are the least penalised team in the league while MK have the second worst record in that respect.

Polish international Tomasz Malasinski has returned to the club after two seasons with Katowice in his native country. He spent three campaigns with Wildcats, rounding off his first stay with 83 points. Already he is well on his way to beating that total, netting 32 points from 12 outings to head the league standings going into the weekend.

His closest rival on that chart is his player-coach, Aaron Nell, who has netted 27 points from 12 games – exactly half the number of points he scored from 35 games last year. Max Birbraer has only played six times this year but that hasn’t stopped him racking up 18 points – six goals and 12 asists to place him sixth on the league points chart.

All three made a big contribution to Wildcats’ success over MK in the previous encounter with Birbraer registering five points including a hat-trick while Malasinski weighed in with a goal and four assists and Nell bagged a goal and two assists. They will all need to be contained.

Injuries and suspensions have hit Lightning hard so far this season with five players missing at Swindon. Coach Lewis Clifford will be hoping for a turn around in fortunes on that count to give some of the key players such as Czech forward Tomas Kana, Finn Ari Nähri and dual national Cale Tanaka the best possible chance of increasing their scoring rate.

On Saturday Lightning are on the road, making the trip to Basingstoke Bison where face off is at 6.30pm. We wish all members of the travelling Barmy Army a safe journey down to Hampshire, if you’ve never been to Basingstoke before, our advice is to wrap up warm! Have fun everyone.

Featured Image (Tony Sargent)