Preview: MK Lightning v Coventry Blaze (10th March)
By Paul Brookman
There are more than just points to play for when Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning take on local rivals Coventry Blaze in a double header this weekend.
Both teams will be out to secure bragging rights with the four game Elite League series delicately poised at two victories apiece – both outfits having won one and lost one in their home encounters.
It’s the turn of Blaze to come to Planet Ice Milton Keynes for the first of those big games on Saturday. Having beaten Lightning 6-2 on their last visit to the city following a 4-1 success for MK in the first meeting there’s everything to settle.
At Coventry Danny Stewart’s men won 5-2 in the first game but then lost 5-4 on penalties in December – the winning shot coming from Georgs Golovkovs.
In Canadian Ben Lake the Blaze boast the league’s top scorer with 66 points – 29 goals and 37 assists to his credit. Tim Crowder and Alex Nikiforuk are ranked 11th and 12th in the Elite scoring chart with 59 points each.
But their team-mates are way behind in the points ratings – and therein lies Coventry’s lack of success this term. They are just one place above Lightning, albeit with 17 points more.
Their situation has not been helped by a poor run which has seen them lose their last four games – the latest disappointments being a 4-3 reverse against Dundee Stars following an unsurprising 2-0 loss to title contenders Cardiff Devils.
They will no doubt be aiming to snap that run on Saturday while Lightning hope to build on their recent home form in which they have run out 4-3 winners in their last two games – on Saturday beating Nottingham Panthers in a thrilling penalty shoot-out and previously despatching Dundee by the same score.
There really is no excuse to sit at home watching boring Saturday evening television – the thrills are at Planet Ice these days. Come and make some noise and cheer on Lightning – face off is 7pm. Book your tickets at mk-lightning.co.uk/tickets. Alternatively buy your tickets on the door or in advance or call us on 01908 540020.
On Sunday the fixture is reversed – with Coventry just over 50 miles away it’s the ideal away trip to make as the season winds its way towards the end. Face off at the Skydome is 5.15pm.