Guildford Flames 5 - 2 MK Lightning (4th Nov)
By Paul Brookman
Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning’s failure to keep down the penalty count and keep pace with their more experienced opponents cost them dear as they fell to another defeat at the hands of Guildford Flames on Sunday.
Three third period goals – one of them on a powerplay just 53 seconds into the session – sunk Lightning who had shocked the Spectrum Centre crowd with a goal after just 45 seconds only to concede just over two minutes later.
The sides traded goals in the following two minutes and that was the end of the scoring until the final session – Lightning second best once again in terms of shots on goal with Flames firing in 40 on Patrick Killeen before he was replaced by back-up Adam Goss when the game was already lost.
The defeat ended any vague hope MK had of qualifying from their Challenge Cup group – second place being secured by the Surrey outfit.
Lightning started brightly as Michael Fine registered an unassisted marker after 45 seconds – the goal given after a video replay, only for Clay Anderson to be called for a delay of the game on 2mins 2secs.
That gave Flames a powerplay from which T J Foster and Brett Ferguson were involved as former MK captain Kevin King equalised on 3mins 4secs. However 18 seconds later Lightning were back in the driving seat after Anderson redeemed himself by playing a part in Andreas Valdix’s reply – Tim Wallace having the other assist.
Once more though, the visitors conceded quickly when the lethal line of Ian Watters, John Dunbar and Kruise Reddick came up with the goods – Watters shooting past Killeen on 5mins 38secs.
Lightning ended the first session a man down after Valdix was sin binned for cross-checking on 19mins 9secs. Flames were unable to make anything of the extra man at the start of the second period but neither could MK when Jez Lundin served time for tripping in the 24th minute.
Flames did get the puck in the net in the 27th minute but the effort was ruled out after a video reply.
Penalties on Eric Neiley, and Fine came and went without consequence before the second break but an incident at the period buzzer proved to be Lightning’s undoing.
Killeen, Armstrong and King were all given two minutes for roughing gave Flames the advantage at the start of the third and they made it pay when Dunbar set up Calle Ackered to make it 3-2 within 53 seconds.
There was a powerplay opportunity for the visitors as Evan Ritt served time for tripping in the 47th minute but it proved fruitless and they fell further behind as Ritt supplied Ben Davies to score Flames fourth on 50mins 41secs.
A collision between Davies and Killeen after the goal went saw the netminder replaced by back-up Adam Goss who was withdrawn for the extra skater as the game went into its final stages. Flames were then able to seize the chance of an empty net goal – Lundin the scorer from Jesse Craige and Evan Janssen.
All in all another disappointing weekend for Lightning who remain rooted at the bottom of the Elite League with three wins in 14 outings and out of the Challenge Cup.
Man of the match: Owen Griffiths.