Milton Keynes Lightning remained in the leading pack in the National Ice Hockey League despite a 5-4 penalty shot defeat at Basingstoke Bison on Saturday.
Having fought back from being 3-1 behind at the start of the third period MK took the game into a scoreless five minutes of overtime by squaring things at four goals each with a 53rd minute powerplay strike from Leigh Jamieson.
That was the encounter remained once overtime had expired, thus requiring penalty shots that eventually clinched a 5-4 win for the Hampshire side when George Norcliffe converted past goalie Matthew Smital.
However, Lightning stayed in contention for top spot with a 30 point haul from their 22 games – just one point behind Telford Tigers and Swindon Wildcats.
Three goals in less than a minute, beginning with a coast to coast Liam Stewart goal at 4mins 8secs, provided the fans with plenty to cheer about. Disco’s strike, aided by Tyler Nixon and Russell Cowley, was quickly cancelled out when Zack Milton set up Alex Roberts only ten seconds later.
Lightning hardly had time to regroup from that when the same combination of players – also including Bison player coach Ashley Tait – made it 2-1 to the hosts at 4mins 57secs.
MK were unable to capitalise when Bison’s Jay King was called for tripping Milique Martelly in the fifth minute and it was the same story as King was caught on an interference call when he impeded Sean Norris late in the first period. Indeed it was Tait’s charges that added to their total nine minutes 14secs into the middle session when Milton supplied King to take the tally to 3-1.
Lightning had to contend with three penalties of their own before the second buzzer sounded – Leigh Jamieson was sin binned for delaying the game in the 29th minute before an identical call was made on Norris about three minutes later.
Before the former Bison player was out of the penalty box, he was joined by Lewis Christie on an interference assessment. To their credit, Lightning were able to survive all three penalties to ensure the teams went to the locker rooms with a 3-1 for the start of the third session.
MK started the final session with renewed energy and were rewarded when Sam Talbot and Norris had a hand in Bobby Chamberlain’s goal that reduced the deficit on 44mins 11secs.
Bison’s Paul Petts was sent to the cooler three minutes later for a high stick but instead of MK being able to make the most of it, the home side again stretched their lead with a short-handed breakaway goal for Roberts to complete his hat-trick.
Undaunted, Lightning hit back on 52mins 1secs as Chamberlain returned the compliment for Norris to score – the other assist going to Nixon. One minute 50secs later Lightning were level after they punished Bison on a powerplay resulting from a high stick offence by Oliver Stone.
Adam Laishram and Chamberlain were the helpers for Jamieson to strike for the goal that sent the match into overtime and the penalty shots that ended with Bison registering three times and MK once.
Man of the match: Hallden Barnes-Garner