Four goals in ten minutes destroyed Swindon Wildcats at Planet Ice as Milton Keynes Lightning chalked up a fine 6-2 victory in a game that had everything for the packed arena.
Lightning maintained their four-goal advantage to the first break and add two more in the final period. In the intermission there were two fights plus a roughing clash which came close to being a fight – and in between MK assistant coach Ross Bowers’ comments led to his dismissal on a game misconduct for abuse of an official.
There was even time for some hockey – but not much as both sides were a man short for a lot of the time. However, as the second, sorry third period got under way it was back to hockey with MK starting the session with a 4-1 lead.
In a poignant show of support for the people of Ukraine the arena was filled with blue and yellow light to represent the flag of the invaded nation and the Ukraine national anthem was played instead of God Save The Queen before the first puck was dropped.
Once the hockey started it took Lightning just 14 seconds to find the net – when Liam Stewart fed Adam Laishram to go up the right to beat netminder Jordan Marr – the fastest goal at Planet ice for a long time.
A couple of minutes later Callum Field had a shot taken with Marr’s glove before Emil Svec blasted high and wide. It was not long though before Field was able to register his second goal of the season with a fine upstairs effort at 5mins 44secs.
Wildcats had hardly time to regain their composure before James Griffin turned up the speed and shot, only to have his attempt spilled by Marr for Bobby Chamberlain to sweep up for the third goal on 7mins 8secs.
That prompted a swift timeout by Wildcats with their player coach Aaron Nell appearing to read the riot act to his squad. Marr continued between the pipes but it was not long before he was picking the puck out of the goal again.
Lightning’s fourth goal was almost a repeat of the third – Griffin once again advanced from his defensive role and rounded the net to feed Chamberlain who finished off at 10mins 1sec.
When Sam Talbot was penalised for holding in the 15th minute the closest Wildcats came to scoring on the powerplay was a Tomasz Malasinski effort that went past the post and a Svec shot which went well wide.
As the second period began, Lightning received an early shock with Balint Pakozdi catching goalie Matt Smital out with a shot that went high and right into the net within the first 40 seconds.
Almost four minutes later Tyler Plews was called for crosschecking, giving MK a powerplay that produced little of note for the home side.
Things took a downward path from the midpoint of the period after Sean Norris, racing up the left, was blocked by Declan Balmer. The two clashed, resulted in both receiving two minutes for roughing.
While the officials were discussing the penalties, a further clash erupted behind their backs as Chamberlain engaged with Plews in centre ice – the MK player eventually taking down his opponent. Both were sin binned for five minutes for fighting. At the same time, Leigh Jamieson was also sent to the cooler for roughing.
Less than three minutes later Svec scythed down Lewis Christie and had him under his body – prompting Griffin to weigh in to challenge the Swindon player. It earned Griffin a two minutes plus 10 penalty for roughing and misconduct while Christie and Svec sat out two minutes roughing decisions.
That seemed to incense Bowers who was told to leave the bench on a game misconduct for abuse. The net result was no more goals during the session.
Swindon cut the gap 4mins 52secs when Smital was caught out of position when Chris Jones supplied Svec to make it 4-2. However, any nervousness was quickly squashed when Norris won possession on the right and raced away to beat Marr on the left of goal at 46mins 45secs.
With the clock ticking down Marr was withdrawn in favour of the extra skater with 2mins 20secs remaining -12 seconds later he had to return thanks to a face off to his right.
He left the ice with 1min 59secs to go and that gave MK the opportunity to score on the empty net when Jamieson, in defence, threaded a perfect pass to Tim Wallace to advance and make it 6-2 at 58mins 48secs.
Man of the match: Bobby Chamberlain.