Milton Keynes Lightning squandered a three goal lead as Swindon Wildcats fought back to win 7-4 at the Link Centre on Saturday.
Two powerplay goals put Wildcats back in the game following a dream start by Lightning which saw them leading 3-0 at half way point of this National Ice Hockey League encounter.
Coach Lewis Clifford retained the line of Sam Talbot, Sean Norris and Bobby Chamberlain to start the clash and it soon paid dividends when all three players were involved as Talbot gave the visitors a one goal lead after 3mins 13secs.
Second later Edgars Landsbergs was sent to the sin bin for interference but Swindon were denied a goal with the man advantage. Instead it was Lightning who were next to strike when Sam Russell gained the second assist as Talbot supplied Chamberlain to beat goalie Renny Marr on 15mins 16secs.
That’s the way the score remained at the first break – Marr by far the busier of the two netminders having faced 14 shots compared with MK’s man between the pipes, Matthew Smital who dealt with half that number.
Things got even better for Lightning on 24mins 26secs with Chamberlain bagging his second of the game – aided by Norris and Talbot. But from then on the game turned, thanks in part, to two quick penalties on Ross Green for interference and Liam Stewart for delay of the game.
Wildcats capitalised on both calls – player coach Aaron Nell scoring his team’s first at 31mins 23secs before Sam Bullas registered the first of a hat-trick on 33mins 44secs.
Before Smital and his team-mates had chance to steady their game Bullas was at it again with an even handed effort on 35mins 23secs.
At three apiece there was all to play for when the third session got under way. Unfortunately the game started to slip away from Clifford’s charges as Bullas completed his trio after 45mins 2secs and then import Emil Svec made it 5-3 90 seconds later.
Teenager Callum Field gave Lightning a glimmer of hope with a goal on 48mins 14secs to cut the deficit to one. However, it was a brief moment because Nell soon restored the goal cushion for Wildcats at 50mins 33secs.
Any ambitions MK had of a late fightback were extinguished by Balint Pakozdi’s delayed penalty goal at 57mins exactly.
Man of the match: Sam Russell