A blistering nine minutes in which Milton Keynes Lightning scored five goals gunned down Basingstoke Bison as the hosts stretched their winning run to six games with an 8-3 victory at Planet Ice on Sunday.
Lightning dominated from the start against the poorest Bison side in many a year with goalie Alex Mettam under pressure from almost the first buzzer – facing a total of 49 shots while his opposite number, Brandon Stones, had a less taxing night with 28 to deal with.
MK suffered an early blow when defenceman Ben Russell was helped off the ice injured in only the second minute. But despite that, the biggest surprise was that MK only led by two goals at the first break.
Stones dealt with a couple of early efforts from Alex Roberts before Lightning settled in a good spell of play with Edgars Landsbergs having a shot saved before Russ Cowley blasted the puck past the post from a Liam Stewart pass.
Jay King was given a fifth minute penalty for slashing Stewart – the best chance on the powerplay falling to Bobby Chamberlain whose attempt was blocked by Mettam.
Bison’s defence was eventually breached on 11mins 29secs after Chamberlain sent Sam Talbot away for a one on one blast into the net. MK saw off a short-handed spell when Chamberlain was sin binned for cross checking ahead of an Ed Knaggs long shot that rebounded off Mettam, only for Adam Laishram to finish off at 18mins 28secs.
The visitors were given hope of a second period revival when Aidan Doughty snapped up an Alex Roberts rebound just 1min 21secs in but any optimism was swiftly answered when Talbot doubled his tally 25 seconds later.
It sparked a devastating few minutes for the Hampshire outfit with Hallden Barnes Garner sending Stewart away to make it 4-1 after 25mins 39secs. Bison were finding it difficult to deal with Stewart’s speed and when Adam Jones impeded him 61secs later, as last man, the officials awarded a penalty shot that he duly put away.
Basingstoke immediately called a time out but it did not prevent MK from adding another two goals before they seemed to ease off the pressure. Sean Norris supplied Talbot from the left flank for goal number six to complete the scorer’s hat-trick at 27mins 16secs.
Bison’s frustration was clear to see with pushing and shoving in front of the benches and two quick penalties in the ensuing minutes with Elliott Dewey and Liam Morris both sent to the sin bin. The latter penalty only increased Basingstoke’s woes as Leigh Jamieson fired a rocket shot from distance to make it 7-1 on the powerplay at 30mins 28secs.
Lightning lost the services of Chamberlain after receiving a fighting penalty following a battle with Dewey just before the second break. Without him, coach Lewis Clifford had to shuffle the lines in the third session and he was able to give younger players such as Callum Field more ice time than usual.
Bison registered for a second time with a powerplay goal from Doughty at 44mins 33secs following a too many men call on the hosts and they further reduced the gap while Stewart was in the sin bin for a high stick – player coach Ashley Tait unleashing a shot from the blue line to beat Stones on 54mins 10secs.
However, Lightning were not quite finished with the alert Barnes Garner sweeping the puck into the goal during a scramble in front of the net to round off the score at 8-3 on 56mins 32secs.
Man of the match: Liam Stewart.