Belfast Giants 7-0 MK Lightning (6 Oct)
By Paul Brookman
Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning slipped to a second consecutive defeat when they were demolished by Belfast Giants in a 7-0 shut-out at the SSE Arena on Saturday.
Belfast dominated from the start with Lightning failing to get into their zone often enough to cause any damage – being outshot 40-22.
The visitors’ goalie Patrick Killeen was called into action within the first 27 seconds as he was forced to make a big save. He could do nothing though to prevent Giants from taking the lead on 5mins 3secs when Patrick Dwyer put Darcy Murphy clear for a top shelf shot.
Murphy was involved in the action again on 7mins 56secs when his big hit on Lightning new boy James Hounsome earned him a two minute penalty for intereference. Unfortunately Hounsome was stunned by the hit and was forced to retire from the play.
Lightning were unable to make much impact with the man advantage – the best efforts coming at the end of the spell when Trevor Morbeck tested goalie Tyler Beskorowany.
Back at even strength it was Giants – in particular Dwyer and Murphy – who were creating the majority of the chances. In the 11thminute Murphy set up Dwyer who was unable to get the final touch.
There was no mistake though when Dwyer was allowed to skate in on goal unhindered to beat Killeen on 13mins 14secs for goal number two.
Shortly after Clay Anderson denied David Rutherford as a third goal threatened.
It was not until final minute that MK put in a serious offensive move – first Joonas Huovinen was called for offside seconds before Tim Wallace had a chance but couldn’t get enough on the puck as the period ended 2-0 to Giants.
Lightning made a brighter start to the second session as Owen Griffiths was involved in the move which saw Andreas Valdix supply Tim Wallace in the opening two minutes but it came to nothing.
Eric Neiley was next to have a go but Beskorowany blocked his effort.
The slight momentum came to an end though when Rihards Grigors was sin binned for holding in the 25th minute. Killeen made a good stop from Blair Riley but he couldn’t stop Kyle Baun from finishing off for Giants’ third marker at 26mins 58secs.
Shortly after Francis Beauvillier almost danced his way through but couldn’t get the final touch before Killeen blocked a Baun effort.
Michael Fine threatened in the 31st minute but his shot produced a glove save from the Belfast stopper.
It could have been 4-0 just over eight minutes from the break when Murphy crashed the puck towards goal, only for it to land in the back of Dwyer’s shorts. He quickly backed into the goal with the puck intact but the officials, after watching a video replay, chose to disallow the attempt.
There was no mistake when goal number four came – Killeen who had made a fine double save from Hunter Bishop was unable to stop Dwyer from adding his second goal as he followed up his own shot to slot in on 36mins 26secs.
Both teams changed their goalies for the third period – Stephen Murphy replacing Beskorowany for Giants and Adam Goss taking over from Killeen.
MK survived a holding penalty on Cole Shudra and indeed they had a chance while short-handed with Stephen Murphy saving with his pads from Eric Neiley.
They were not so fortunate on the next penalty – this time Valdix was serving time for a high stick with Hunter Bishop credited with Giants’ fifth goal although there was a suspicion that Baun got the final touch at 49mins 7secs.
Further misery was inflicted when David Rutherford supplied Murphy after 50mins 19secs to make it 6-0.
Lightning were given a golden chance to get something from the game when both Baun and Beauvillier occupied the penalty bench at the same time but they able to make no impression.
Final salt was rubbed into the wounds when Darcy Murphy completed his hat-trick with 2mins 31secs to go for a 7-0 scoreline. It was painful to watch as Lightning were given another lesson in what it takes to be a competitive team in the Elite League.
Man of the match: Clay Anderson.