Basingstoke Bison capitalised on one of the most disjointed and poorest displays of the season for Milton Keynes Lightning at Planet Ice on Saturday when they inflicted an 8-4 defeat on the hosts.
Despite a bright start for Lightning who scored in the fourth minute on a powerplay, Bison hit back with two strikes in the space of 22 seconds and then effectively destroyed any hopes of a fightback with three goals in less than three second period minutes to lead 6-2 at the second break.
To complete a disappointing night for MK, the visitors added two more in the final ten minutes to end worthy winners.
Lightning had a third minute ‘goal’ disallowed – the officials ruling the puck was directed into the net by a skate. Seconds later Bison’s Alex Roberts was penalised for hooking.
On the resulting powerplay Bobby Chamberlain smashed the puck past goalie Jordan Lawday following Russell Cowley’s pass from the right – the goal coming on 4mins 19secs.
Ashley Tait forced his way through the home defence and scored from close range at 7mins 21secs – the helpers Roberts and Zack Milton – to equalise for the visitors.
Just over three minutes later at 10mins 46secs Bison coach Tait made the pass from the right for Brendan Baird to crash home the puck into what was effectively an empty net with goalie Matt Smital already committed to his left.
From that moment, it was all downhill for Lightning. Worse was to come as Liam Morris made it 3-1 at 11mins 8secs with the momentum already swinging to the Hampshire outfit.
The goal prompted an immediate timeout call by coach Lewis Clifford who tried to settle his troops. It worked to an extent in limiting Bison’s opportunities before the first break while not producing any goals for Lightning.
A bit of pushing and shoving between Mikey Power and Morris resulted in both players receiving two minutes in the sin bins. That was a prelude to Chamberlain and Roberts dropping the gloves for a fight in the 16th minute – the MK winger earning an extra two minutes for charging.
Lightning fell further behind when Roberts fed Milton to score on 24mins 42secs. Smital hardly had time to recover before Tait supplied Roberts to stretch the visitors’ advantage. That strike signalled the replacement of Smital by Brandon Stones.
A couple of minutes later a fine Leigh Jamieson blast from the edge of the left circle into the top right corner of the goal gave his side a glimmer of hope at 26mins 23secs.
But there was a quick reply from Bison after Hallden Barnes-Garner took down Jay King – the Lightning player sin binned for roughing while his opposite number escaped penalty.
This allowed Basingstoke a powerplay from which a Roberts rocket gave Stones no chance from the left at 27mins 41secs.
George Norcliffe was thwarted by Stones in the 32nd minute ahead of a Chamberlain shot meeting a similar fate at the other end of the ice while MK were on a powerplay resulting from a slashing call on Oliver Stone.
Chamberlain’s effort, together with a Sam Talbot shot that rebounded off Lawday, were the only two attempts with the extra player. Back at even strength Morgan Clarke-Pizzo charged through the Bison defence but was unable to finish and a Chamberlain blast pinged off the pipework.
This was possibly MK’s best spell but for all their efforts they trailed 6-2 at the end of the middle session.
Power set up Clarke-Pizzo for well-taken goal to make it 6-3 after 44mins 14secs and moments later Tim Wallace skating in from the right was prevented from taking a shot.
Bison added to their score when Chamberlain was dispossessed by Roberts who beat Stones one on one at 50mins 27secs.
Clarke-Pizzo immediately had a swift reply attempt blocked by Lawday before Adam Harding’s shot was gloved away by Stones.
It was Harding who had last shout for Bison when Stones left a gap to his right on 58mins 6secs to take the tallies to 8-3 before Sam Russell gave the scoreline some respectability for the hosts with his first goal for the team –just 30 seconds remaining.
Man of the match: Morgan Clarke-Pizzo.