Dundee Stars 3-4 MK Lightning (AOT) (3rd Jan)
By Paul Brookman
Joint coach Tim Wallace led the way to secure vital points for Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning with an overtime winner at Dundee Stars on Thursday.
Dundee are one of the teams Lightning must beat to have any hope of qualifying for an Elite League play off place. While the point Stars picked up as extra period losers will help them it would have been a cruel ending had MK lost in the sudden death session, having led the game for most of the time.
Wallace’s winning strike on 62mins 49secs brought to an end a disappointing losing run for the visitors who were again short benched, without goalie Patrick Killeen and David Norris plus Cole Shudra. Swindon Wildcats’ Tyler Perre was again back up netminder.
However Perre was not to get a look in on the ice as Adam Goss performed heroics in the Lightning net to deny Stars time and again. He prevented Lukas Lundvald from scoring early on but could not stop the same player having a hand in Fabrizio Ricci’s opening goal for the hosts on 7mins 38secs.
The reply from Lightning was swift – all of 28 seconds with Georgs Golovkovs’ behind the net pass finding Nelson Armstrong who shot through goalie Craig Holland’s legs.
Ivan Šijan went close to putting MK in front in 12th minute when his shot was deflected high and away from danger.
Goss then made a great stop from Johan Andersson before Robbie Baillargeon got the go ahead goal after 16mins 30secs – a one time blast from Andreas Valdix’s set up, Wallace also involved.
As the period drew to a close Golovkovs saw off three players’ challenges but saw his attempt stopped by Holland.
Within 3mins 15secs of the start of the second session Stars levelled thanks to Mike Sullivan and again there was a quick response from the visitors. This time it took over a minute to reply but again it was Baillargeon the scorer with a top shelf effort with assistance by Martin Mazanec and James Griffin at 24mins 37secs.
Goss prevented Sullivan from equalising in the 31st minute and Lundvald was also unable to beat him with less than four minutes to the second buzzer. In between Stars had their first – unsuccessful – powerplay when Valdix was caught for a high stick.
Baillargeon ended the period in the sin bin for hooking but still the hosts could not find a way to scoreon the powerplay.
The equaliser eventually came on 43mins 28secs with Francois Bouchard on the mark, aided by Charles Corcoran and Brian Hart.
From on then in until the end of regulation time neither side could break the deadlock – Goss again making a double save midway through the session to keep Lightning in the game.
In the end it took Wallace’s shot set up by Valdix and Šijan to settle the encounter.