MK Lightning 2-4 Glasgow Clan (3rd Feb)
By Paul Brookman
A battling third period was not enough to stop Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning from falling to another defeat as they lost 4-2 to Glasgow Clan at Planet Ice on Sunday.
Defenceman James Griffin, making his 200 appearance for Lightning, was switched to the forward line in the final 20 minutes in a bid to use his speed while Trevor Morbeck moved back to the blue line. However it made little difference with Clan sealing the victory when Gerard Hanson fired in on an empty net.
It took Lightning to ten straight defeats – one short of the worst ever record by a senior Milton Keynes team, Kings going down to 11 successive losses in their final season in the city. Just as worryingly they are now anchored on the bottom of the table 17 points behind the tenth placed side, Coventry Blaze, who have three games in hand.
Lightning’s only win since the turn of the year was at Dundee Stars on January 3 when Tim Wallace scored an overtime winner. Stars are MK’s opponents at Planet Ice on Saturday so they will be hoping to break the losing run then.
The omens for Lightning were there from the start of the game against Clan as it was not until the eighth minute that they managed a single shot on target – Radek Meidl firing in from the left side after Martin Mazanec had seen a long range effort go wide of the right post a minute earlier.
Clan were dominating possession, forcing MK back into their defensive zone for long periods - goalie Patrick Killeen making stops from Matt Haywood and Vaclav Stupka early onbefore denying Matt Stanisz and Matt Beca midway through the session.
When David Norris, making his first home appearance since injury in December, was penalised for holding, Craig Peacock had Clan’s best chance with a shot saved by Killeen.
It was against the run of play therefore when Owen Griffiths broke up the right to feed Meidl to put MK ahead after 18mins 5secs, less than minute before Griffin was called for slashing. Clan could not capitalise on the powerplay going into the middle period.
However a five on three powerplay for Clan following quick penalties on Morbeck and Michael Fine for embellishment and tripping respectively proved to be the turning point. Former Lightning man Guillaume Doucet was swift to pounce when a shot came off Killeen and he lifted the puck over the goalie for the equaliser on 26mins 12secs.
Less than a minute later Clan took the lead when a shot from the blue line was put in the net by Hanson at 27mins 3secs.
Zack Fitzgerald saw his long range effort stopped by Killeen as Glasgow sought to press their advantage before Fine, Norris and Meidl all had attempts stopped by back-up goalie Gary Russell.
But it was Clan who edged further in front with 1min 10secs to go to the second buzzer, Brendan Connolly broke up the left and crossed for Doucet to inflict further damage on his former club.
Lightning tried to up the gas in the final period with Griffin’s move upfront and Morbeck going back to defence and the session started promisingly while Scott Tanski was sitting out a hooking penalty – Wallace and Mazanec trying their luck on the powerplay.
Lightning tried desperately for an equaliser when Stanisz went for slashing but it was not to be and the game was decided after Killeen was replaced by the extra skater with 1min 12secs remaining – Hanson bagging his second goal on the empty net at 59mins 30secs.
Man of the match: Radek Meidl (sponsored by Top Jump Inflatable Park)