Guildford Flames 6-3 MK Lightning (27th Dec)
By Paul Brookman
A pair of goals by man of the match Robbie Baillargeon was not enough to prevent Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning from falling to defeat to Guildford Flames for the second time in 24 hours.
Unlike the Boxing Day encounter in Milton Keynes the game at the Spectrum Centre did not have to wait until the 51st minute for the first goal to come – this time Flames struck in the fifth minute and from that moment onwards they led the scoreline.
Lightning saw off a tripping penalty on Martin Mazanec after just 1min 29secs but they couldn’t keep their goal intact when Nelson Armstrong sat out a two minute roughing call which came just seconds after the initial shorthanded spell expired. Ian Watters was the provider for John Dunbar to register on 5mins32secs.
MK were able to hit back after the home outfit’s Brett Ferguson was sinbinned for holding after 12mins 1sec – Tim Wallace and Andreas Valdix involved when Baillargeon defeated goalie Chris Carrozzi one minute 12secs into the powerplay.
That put Guildford back at full strength – but the hosts were soon a man short again when Calle Ackered was sidelined for tripping after 13mins 50secs. This time though Lightning could not take advantage and it was to cost them when Flames established a one goal lead going into the first break thanks to a Dunbar and Erik Lindhagen assisted strike from Watters at 18mins 10secs.
No goal resulted when Jordan Abt was sent to the cooler for slashing within the first couple of minutes of the middle session ahead of Flames extending their lead on 27mins 44secs through a Ferguson marker.
It wasn’t long before three became four as Jamie Crooks – aided by TJ Foster and Sam Waller – beat goalie Patrick Killeen after 28mins 57secs.
The visitors managed to cut the gap within two minutes when Michael Fine found Valdix at the back post on 30mins 49secs – the second assist going to Georgs Golovkovs.
Lightning survived an interference penalty on James Griffin in the 35th minute but couldn’t get any closer to the Guildford score at the second break and the Surrey team stretched the lead to three again within 1min 40secs thanks to a second goal from Crooks.
When Jesse Craige was caught for a late hit on 47mins 10secs Baillargeon took 43 seconds to reduce the deficit after finding his way past two defencemen and then see off Carrozzi – Wallace gaining the assist.
An identical penalty on Mazanec in the 53rd minute came and passed without further damage but Flames were able to round off their tally through Evan Janssen – helped by Kevin King – with four minutes to go to make it 6-3.
Man of the match: Robbie Baillargeon (Sponsored by City Apartments)