A super Bobby Chamberlain second period powerplay goal eventually broke the resolve of Peterborough Phantoms as Milton Keynes Lightning chalked up their tenth win in 12 games with a 5-3 victory at Planet Ice on Monday.
Until that moment, neither side seriously looked like scoring in a game that, for the most part, lacked energy. A 29th minute tripping call on Jasper Foster proved to be Phantoms’ undoing when Liam Stewart blasted the puck towards goal from out on the left for Chamberlain to redirect beyond goalie Jordan Marr on 30mins 38secs.
Once the hosts broke the deadlock – even at 1-0 – it looked as though there was only going to be one winner with the visitors rarely troubling netminder Matthew Smital. When Phantoms coughed up the puck in the neutral zone for Sean Norris to race up the left and beat Marr one on one with 1min 11secs of the period remaining Lightning looked comfortable.
Just 59 seconds of the third session had elapsed when Stewart seized on a loose puck in Phantoms defensive zone and duly defeated Marr again to make it 3-0 before the visitors were handed a powerplay opportunity a few seconds later as Milique Martelly was caught hooking his opponent.
Slava Koulikov’s charges were unable to take advantage of the extra man and fell further behind when Chamberlain was quickest to the puck to finish off at 43mins 56secs after a Sam Talbot rocket rebounded off the Plexiglas behind the Phantoms goal.
The 4-0 lead looked unassailable going into the final quarter of an hour with MK looking as though they could achieve their first shutout in more than three years. However, that hope ended when Smital was left unguarded by his defencemen as opposition man of the match Ross Clarke fired in on 46mins35secs.
Less than two minutes later Callum Buglass tried in vain to stop Lightning man of the match Norris from defeating Marr to make it 5-1 at 48mins 15secs. Phantoms were given another powerplay opportunity when Lewis Christie was sin binned for roughing in a tussle with the Joe Gretton who went unpenalised. However apart from a lazy Ales Padelek effort there was no threat to the MK goal.
Against the run of play Phantoms further reduced the deficit in a rare moment of urgency with Jarvis Hunt supplying Tom Barry on 55mins 3secs before Glenn Billing was provider for Duncan Speirs in the final 25 seconds to give a 5-3 scoreline which flattered the visitors.
The encounter will not live on in history as a classic between two normally fierce rivals but Lightning will gratefully accept the points.
Man of the match: Sean Norris.