Cardiff Devils 2-3 MK Lightning (25th Nov)
By Paul Brookman
High flying Cardiff Devils were downed in a stunning Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning overtime victory at Ice Arena Wales on Sunday.
Lightning twice came from a goal behind to force the extra five minutes period before Georgs Golovkovs secured both points from Clay Anderson’s supply 3mins 44secs into the additional session – no Devils player picking him up as he skated in to beat goalie Ben Bowns.
It was a rocket shot from man of the match Golovkovs on 59mins exactly that sent the encounter into overtime – the provider Andreas Valdix after Lightning had withdrawn goalie Patrick Killeen in favour of the extra skater.
The win was Devils’ fifth home league and cup loss of the season and consigned to history the 9-1 humbling Lightning suffered on their last visit to south Wales in September.
Killeen was the busier of the two goalies in the opening minutes but then MK found their stride with David Norris and Michael Fine testing Bowns – only for the flow to be halted when Nelson Armstrong was called for cross-checking.
Lightning survived the penalty but couldn’t prevent Devils from going ahead on 14mins 41secs when new signing Drew Schiestel set up Charles Linglet to score. Lightning refused to lie down though and Bowns was challenged again with Tim Wallace trying his luck.
The hosts’ Evan Mosey was sin binned for cross checking early in the second session but Lightning could not make it pay and it looked as though they had slipped two goals in arrears when Joey Haddad had the puck in the net. Officials Matt Thompson and Matt Rose rightly spotted that Killeen had been impeded by Justin Faryna and washed the ‘goal’ out.
Midway through the game both sides went agonisingly close – an effort by Ryan Lannon hitting the outside of a post before Devil’s pinged the metalwork.
Golovkovs, whose puck control and skating skills seem to have been unlocked by new coaches Lannon and Wallace, forced Bowns into a fine save moments after MK had seen off a tripping penalty on Armstrong.
Lightning eventually squared things up on the powerplay 1min 36secs into the third period – Gleason Fournier was in the sin bin when Anderson sent Robbie Baillargeon away for a wrap-around strike past Bowns.
But Cardiff regained the advantage on a powerplay resulting from a hooking infraction by Rihards Grigors – Mike Hedden the provider for Haddad to get off the mark at 45mins 39secs.
Still Lightning refused to concede defeat and they piled on the pressure for minutes at a time – David Norris and Martin Mazanec unlucky not to register. Neither side could capitalise on powerplays that came their way – Schiestel serving time for holding ahead of another call on Armstrong, this time for tripping.
As the clock counted down Killeen was taken off to allow MK to have six skaters and for once it paid off with Golovkovs’ equalising goal to secure overtime and the same players’ winner.
Man of the match: Georgs Golovkovs.