Fife Flyers 4-1 MK Lightning
By Paul Brookman
Four third period goals from high riding Fife Flyers sent Smith Recycling Milton Keynes home from their trio of Scottish fixtures with just one point from a possible six.
It put Flyers joint top of the Elite League while Lightning are now rooted to bottom spot three points behind Sheffield Steelers – albeit with two games in hand.
James Hounsome joined the list of absentees which also included Ryan Lannon, Georgs Golovkovs and David Norris while Flyers were without Scots Reece Cochrane and Calum Robertson.
MK had the early chances as the game faced off before goalie Patrick Killeen stopped Danick Gauthier’s attempt. Killeen then had to be at his best to stop a Flyers effort while James Griffin was serving time for a third minute late hit.
Clay Anderson and Nelson Armstrong kept Flyers at bay with fine defensive work before the close of the first period which ended all square at 0-0.
Fife netminder Shane Owen snuffed out a two pronged attack from Radek Meidl and Tim Wallace early in the second session and the keeper then made a big save from Wallace again.
New signing Robbie Baillargeon set up Andreas Valdix for a fine shot to edge Lightning in front on 28mins 28secs.
It was a lead the visitors were to maintain until the end of the session – they were unable to add to it when James Isaacs was called for tripping on 29mins 50secs while Flyers did no better with two Lightning men in the sin bin – Rihards Grigors for holding and Anderson for cross checking.
There was one more powerplay for MK before the break as Ricards Birzins hooked Eric Neiley but nothing came of it.
The moment swung Flyers’ way at the start of the third period after former Cardiff Devils’ forward Paul Crowder converted from Scott Aarssen’s supply within 45 seconds of the restart.
Fife quickly doubled their score as Evan Bloodoff got the assist on Mike Cazzola’s strike less than a minute later at 41mins 20secs.
Flyers increasingly exerted their influence on the game – outshooting McKay’s outfit 15-6 in the final session and 33-27 overall. Their reward came in the shape of third goal on 46mins 43secs when Marcus Basara, supplied by Cazzola, beat Killeen.
If there was any hope left for Lightning by that stage it was soon dealt another blow as Bloodoff set up Carlo Finucci for a delayed penalty goal at 49mins 44secs – the call being made on Meidl for hooking.
Lightning’s cause was not helped when Armstrong was sidelined for elbows in the 52nd minute – although Flyers were unable to add to their tally as they maintained a 4-1 lead to the buzzer.
Man of the match: Eric Neiley.