Dundee Stars 5-2 MK Lightning (8th Dec)
By Paul Brookman
Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning lost ground on the teams immediately above them in the Elite League when they were eventually defeated 5-2 at Dundee Stars on Saturday.
The result means Lightning are now five points behind the next placed side in the table, Manchester Storm, who won 3-2 in overtime against Nottingham Panthers. Stars, meanwhile, who were second from bottom until recently, have moved up to eighth spot after extending their winning streak to six games with the win against Lightning.
However it took until the 53 minute mark before Lightning were, to intents and purposes, consigned to another road loss.
The visitors produced the first real chance of the game when Nelson Armstrong supplied Radek Meidl for an effort which saw Stars stopper Pontus Sjogren save in the fourth minute. Patrick Killeen prevented the home outfit from taking the lead on a couple of occasions in the ensuing minutes, including pulling off a fine block from Lukas Lundvald.
But it was Lightning who went in front on 12mins 50secs when Martin Mazanec, with options to pass to his right, instead elected to blast the puck high into the net – the assists going to Michael Fine and Robbie Baillargeon.
Within a couple of minutes Lightning were defending a penalty kill thanks to a delay of the game call on Trevor Morbeck at 14mins 26secs. It proved of consequence to the scoreline however and as the period rolled towards the end it was Lightning who were supplying the pressure.
There was an early opportunity for Cole Shudra in the second session but Sjogren was equal to it. The save proved significant for, seconds later, Stars grabbed an equaliser through Lundvald with Johan Andersson and Petr Chaloupka the providers.
The goal was the spur for the home side who had the better chances in the following few minutes although Sjogren made a good stop from Tim Wallace before Stars’ go ahead goal by Drydn Dow. Set up by Brian Hart and Lundvald on 36mins 45secs, the goal was only awarded after a video review – there being a suspicion that the puck was kicked in.
Stars increased their advantage to two goals on 46mins 25secs with Charles Corcoran and Shawn Boutin involved as Matt Bissonette finished off seconds after Lundvald’s effort had hit the metalwork.
Lightning could make nothing of a 49th minute slashing penalty on Andersson and after Stars returned to full strength they punished the visitors with a fourth goal at 53mins 1secs. This time the scorer was Matt Marquardt from Mike Sullivan and Jordan Cownie.
There was a further fruitless powerplay for MK with just over four minutes remaining – during which Killeen was withdrawn for the extra skater. The goalie remained off the ice as Stars returned to full strength and it eventually paid dividends with Wallace and Georgs Golvokovs bagging the helpers when Armstrong unleashed a blue line rocket to beat Sjogren at 58mins 27secs.
But any lingering hopes of a late turn around were extinguished with Corcoran’s goal to make it 5-2 13 seconds from the buzzer.
Man of the match: Martin Mazanec (sponsored by Martin & Co)