MK Lightning 1-2 Guildford Flames (after OT) 3rd Nov
By Paul Brookman
A blue line blast from Calle Ackered 0.3 seconds from the end of overtime wrecked Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning’s hopes of a penalty shoot-out victory against Guildford Flames at Planet Ice on Saturday.
It was a cruel blow for Lightning who were keen to erase the memory of the 8-2 hammering inflicted on them the last time Flames visited in September. Adopting a defensive strategy the hosts looked to be a more cohesive unit than previously seen this season.
And the tactics worked until Ackered struck to put a dagger through their hearts at 64mins59secs – that timing not telling the true tale of how close MK came to forcing a penalty shoot-out in the 2-1 loss.
The game began at a frenetic pace with Lightning having to soak up wave after wave of Flames’ offence – all of which produced precious few goal scoring chances although goalie Patrick Killeen was put to the test in saving from Corbin Baldwin with a shot from inside the blue line and man of the match T J Foster, making his first appearance at Planet Ice.
It was therefore against the run of play when first Nelson Armstrong broke up the left and put in a shot which was off target shortly before Tim Wallace sent Andreas Valdix away on the opposite flank to cross for Radek Meidl to fire in first time at 7mins 39secs for an MK lead.
The goal seemed to rock Flames for a short while, with Lightning wishing they could have done better as Clay Anderson set up Eric Neiley who failed to get the right touch before new recruit Robbie Baillargeon supplying James Griffin for an effort which was saved.
For the remainder of the period the momentum swung Flames’ way as Ian Watters saw his shot saved by deserved man of the match Patrick Killeen and Jesse Craige arriving from defence to take a behind the net pass going close.
Late in the session Lightning had to defend a five on three penalty as Baillargeon was followed to the penalty box by Martin Mazanec for hooking and roughing respectively the latter emerging for the final 50 seconds of the period action.
Into the middle period a second penalty on Baillargeon – this time for delaying the game – gave Flames another powerplay from which they levelled when Kruise Reddick supplied Watters to fire in the equaliser nine seconds later at 28mins 37secs.
If home fans thought that would signal Lightning’s collapse then they were wrong despite Guildford having the upper hand for much of the rest of the period. The visitors then carried on where they left off as the third period got under way with Killeen thwarting Watters from distance and then Reddick, before Tim Wallace had a good attempt stopped by goalie Chris Carrozzi.
Timeouts by both Lightning, with 8mins 8secs to go, and then Flames with 40 seconds of regulation time failed to produce a defining goal and thus three on three overtime was necessary.
It looked as though the home outfit would survive the extra five minutes – even though they were outshot 4-1 for a total of 43 shots by Flames to 22 – until Swede Ackered’s rocket through a couple of players eluded Killeen for the winner in the final second.
Man of the match: Patrick Killeen (Sponsored by Smith Recycling)