MK Lightning 1-5 Belfast Giants (5 Oct)
By Paul Brookman
Belfast Giants scored three goals in just over three third period minutes to inflict a 5-1 defeat on Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning at the SSE Arena on Friday in the first of a double header between the teams.
Until that stage Lightning had stayed with the Giants even though it is fair to say that after a fairly even opening 20 minutes it was the hosts who began to have the upper hand in the second session.
Lightning gave a debut to 19-year-old new Brit signing James Hounsome but they were without James Griffin and David Norris – Belfast were missing Jim Vandermeer and Matt Towe.
Michael Fine had a good chance early on before goalie Patrick Killeen made a good stop and then former MK favourite Lewis Hook, voted Giants’ man of the match, was kept wide by Rihards Grigors.
Giants came close to scoring when they hit the post while on the powerplay with Tim Wallace in the sin bin for slashing in the sixth minute. Back at full strength Killeen made a fine stop ahead of Wallace almost redeeming himself when he forced a big save from netminder Tyler Beskorowany.
Belfast took the lead on 16mins 9secs when Killeen was beaten by Francis Beauvillier’s shot from Blair Riley and Paul Swindlehurst.
Riley was called for holding within seconds of the start of the middle period and although Lightning could not take advantage of the extra man they did draw level when Eric Neiley set up Georgs Golovkovs to strike at 24mins 43secs.
Just over three minutes later the gloves were dropped when Guillaume Gélinas and Neiley went into battle – both receiving five minutes in the cooler for fighting and the MK man handed an extra two minutes for instigating.
It was a too many men penalty on Lightning that gave Belfast the chance to go in front as Dustin Johner supplied Kyle Baun to register to make it 2-1 on the powerplay after 36mins 23secs – and that was the score at the second interval.
Former Lightning player Jonathan Boxill extended the hosts’ lead further when he took Colin Shields’ pass to for a 3-1 score after 45mins 36secs before a five on three penalty kill proved to be the visitors’ undoing.
First Andreas Valdix went for cross checking and then Clay Anderson was caught delaying the game. Belfast made the most of it with Johner setting up Patrick Dwyer to take the tally to 4-1 at 47mins 29secs.
With one man back on the ice Lightning quickly conceded a fifth goal to Blair Riley on 48mins 45secs – prompting the replacement of Killeen by Adam Goss. The young Brit netminder prevented Giants from going further in front on 51 minutes as Lightning were unable to stage a late comeback.
Man of the match: Michael Fine.