Hockey can be a strange old game – just five days after being convincingly beaten by Basingstoke Bison at Planet Ice on Saturday, Milton Keynes Lightning redressed the balance with a 5-1win in Hampshire.
Coach Lewis Clifford will have been delighted with the turn-around after the 8-4 loss at the weekend in which his team failed to spark. This time it was a different matter, despite having to come back from going a goal behind early in the second period in a game that saw the return from injury of Sean Norris.
The opening 20 minutes saw Bison outshoot the visitors 11-6 but it was without reward as the tallies ended goalless at the first break. The home outfit were first on the powerplay when James Griffin was sin binned in the 11th minute for roughing.
That penalty was less than 45 seconds old when Liam Morris and Adam Laishram clashed – the Bison man taking a two-minute trip to the penalty box for holding while the Lightning player received an extra two for cross checking as well as roughing.
All that was to no avail as the outfits started the second session looking for the opening goal. It came 90 seconds in when George Norcliffe set up Aidan Doughty to beat goalie Matt Smital.
Bison’s Zack Milton was sent to the cooler for two minutes for tripping in the 26th minute and that gave Lightning a powerplay that they didn’t waste with Leigh Jamieson and Liam Stewart involved as Bobby Chamberlain levelled things up on 28mins exactly.
By the second intermission Lightning had taken a 3-1 lead – this time courtesy of a Stewart strike just 13 seconds before the buzzer and a rare Lewis Christie goal right on 40mins. Sam Talbot bagged the assist on Stewart’s marker while Laishram and Stewart had the helpers on the Scot defenceman’s goal.
A fourth goal stretched Lightning’s advantage at 45mins 54secs – this time Russ Cowley got his name on the score sheet with assistance from Mikey Power and Hallden Barnes-Garner, firing home a puck that appeared to come off a skate before he converted.
As Bison sought to get themselves back in the game Morris clashed with Norris and then Laishram, the latter ending in a fight. The result was a five on three powerplay for Bison with Norris and Talbot serving slashing calls at the same time as Laishram received five minutes for fighting and 10 minutes for abuse. Morris was sin binned for five minutes for fighting and headed for the locker room with a wrist injury.
Lightning survived the penalty kill and added further salt into the wounds when Norris made it 5-1 at 52mins 3secs with an upstairs shot, Christie and Stewart gaining the assists.
Seconds later Jay King was despatched to the penalty box for five minutes for boarding without consequence to the score. King was back in the sin bin almost as soon as the penalty expired, this time on a five minute fighting call after he and Hallden Barnes-Garner squared up.
However it did not inspire Bison to reduce the arrears with MK happy with a 5-1 win.
Man of the match: Matt Smital.