Milton Keynes Lightning saw off a last gasp Bees rally at Slough Arena on Sunday to complete a successful opening weekend to their National League campaign.
Bees scored twice in the final minute but it was not enough to stop MK notching a 3-2 victory to follow Saturday’s 3-1 win over Raiders. Lewis Clifford’s men raced to a 3-0 lead by the halfway mark and looked to be on course for their first shutout of the season until the hosts’ late strikes.
Lightning who were still without defencemen Ross Green and Lewis Christie saw forwards Liam Stewart and Sean Norris taken off the ice with injuries during the middle period. But that was only after both had made significant contributions to the game.
Russell Cowley and Stewart had the assists as Bobby Chamberlain stunned the hosts with the opening goal after just 26 seconds before James Griffin – aided by Stewart – supplied Cowley to give Lightning a 2-0 lead at the first break with a goal on 18mins 16secs.
The first penalty did not come until the 23rd minute with MK reduced to four skaters when Chamberlain was given two minutes for tripping. He had just returned to the ice when Leigh Jamieson was assessed a 26th minute holding penalty. Neither made one bit of difference to the score as Lightning survived both short-handed spells.
The home side quickly paid for the failure to capitalise when Griffin and Norris had a hand in Sam Talbot’s goal on 28mins 31secs to extend the lead to 3-0.
Bees then lost the services of Christian Mohr with a game misconduct penalty after being handed a five minutes spell in the cooler for boarding after 31mins 49secs – the incident resulting in injured Norris being helped off the ice. Still though MK held a 3-0 advantage going into the final session – the lead threatened when they were reduced to three skaters early in the period with an illegal equipment call on Adam Laishram and cross-checking penalty on Chamberlain.
However, Bees were unable to make any impression on their powerplays and it was only when they were at even strength that MK goalie Brandon Stones was eventually beaten by Ed Bradley shot with 51 seconds to go to the buzzer. Within seconds Bees made it 3-2 thanks to import Dominik Gabaj but it was not enough to prevent MK from taking the points.
Man of the match: Brandon Stones.