Liam Stewart finally made his season debut for Milton Keynes Lightning as they travelled to Sheffield Steeldogs for their final away National League Autumn Cup game on Sunday.

However, that was almost the only bright spot on a difficult night for Lightning who were missing captain Russ Cowley as well as injured defenceman Ross Green. Bobby Chamberlain netted MK’s only goal when Steeldogs outclassed them in an 8-1 defeat.

Sheffield snapped up Hull Pirates coach Jason Hewitt when the Humberside outfit decided they would not be competing this year. And it has proved to be a wise move – Hewitt bagged a hat-trick including Steeldogs’ first two goals while James Spurr recorded a brace.

The game began badly for Lightning with goalie Brandon Stones having to pick the puck out of the net after just 26 seconds – Tim Smith the provider for Hewitt. When Sam Talbot was called for slashing in the sixth minute Steeldogs made the most of the opportunity on the powerplay, this time Hewitt scoring at 8mins 40secs from Matt Bissonnette, another former Pirate who previously saw service with three Elite League clubs.

MK did better on Steeldogs’ next powerplay when James Griffin was given two minutes for slashing in the 10th minute, keeping the score at 2-0, which proved to be the tally at the first break with the visitors kept at bay when Steeldogs’ Ben Morgan was assessed two minutes for tripping in the 14th minute.

Lightning outshot the home team 12-7 in the first session but had nothing to show for it. Never the less they were still in with a chance until midway through the night. By then Sheffield had stretched the lead to four goals – Bissonnette netting on 28mins 26secs and Spurr getting his first less than two minutes later at 30mins 7secs.

Stewart came up with the pass to set up Chamberlain to finally find a way past netminder Dmitri Zimozdra after 32mins 53secs but by the second intermission Sheffield had restored the four goal advantage with Hewitt on the mark one second from the break to complete his trio of goals.

Lightning held out until 48mins 33secs before Lee Haywood added to their total – Hewitt the provider while Spurr beat former Steeldog Stones for a second time at 52mins 53secs and Lee Bonner completed the scoring to make it 8-1 at 57mins 1secs.

MOM: Adam Laishram

Photo: Steeldogs Facebook