Dundee Stars 4-3 MK Lightning (26th Oct)

By Paul Brookman

The first of Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning’s trio of Scottish fixtures ended in disappointment after they threw away a two goal lead to go down 4-3 in overtime at Dundee Stars on Friday.

Lightning who were again without Ryan Lannon, David Norris and Georgs Golovkovs gave debuts to new signings Robbie Baillargeon and Harry Ferguson but neither made an impact on the game – at least in terms of points.

Once again Lightning had to rely on former Sheffield Steelers pair Tim Wallace and Eric Neiley to score the goals as the rest of the team, in the main, failed to come up with the incisive touches in front of goal. In fact it was Cole Shudra, another ex-Steeler, who got the only other goal.

Doug McKay’s men, as has become the norm, got off to a flying start before the opposition got to grips with them and eventually overhauled the side.

Martin Mazanec was involved in the move on the opening attack which saw Neiley make a cross ice pass for Wallace to fire home past goalie Pontus Sjogren after only 44 seconds. Neiley then shot wide after being supplied by Michael Fine before Baillargeon and Radek Meidl forced Sjogren into a good save.

MK netminder Patrick Killeen prevented Stars from levelling before Fine set up Neiley to register from close range at 9mins 24secs ahead of the first penalty of the game on Stars’ Shawn Boutin for hooking. No goal resulted on the powerplay.

Lightning maintained the two goal advantage until the 27th minute despite Dundee being given a 22mins minute powerplay as Mazanec was called for elbowing his opponent. They made no mistake though on 27mins 26secs when Lukas Lundvald Nielsen found the net from Connor Cox and former Lightning hero Jordan Cownie.

The visitors produced a swift reply when Nelson Armstrong earned the assist on Shudra’s fine strike at 29mins 4secs.

Once more Stars reduced the gap when Killeen could not keep out a Johan Andersson shot aided by Kris Inglis at 33mins 7secs. As the period wound its way to the end Fine saw his attempt stopped by Sjogren while Killeen did his duty with a big save.

If Lightning edged the second session in shot on goal 13-9 that was not the tale of the third period when they were forced onto the back foot with Stars outshooting them 17-3.

More importantly for Stars they grabbed a game tying goal through Matt Marquardt with 4mins 7secs of regulation time remaining – Lightning having earlier survived just under a minute of a five on three penalty with Shudra (slashing) and Armstrong (high stick) both in the penalty box at the same time.

As the game went into overtime Killeen made tow fantastic stops but couldn’t prevent Boutin from providing Francois Bouchard from scoring the game winning goal with 1min 08secs of the extra period left.

Once again it was disappointment a Lightning side which ran out of steam as too few players were able to make any impression.

Man of the match: Eric Neiley.

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