Preview: MK Lightning v Fife Flyers (16th March)
By Paul Brookman
Quick revenge will be on Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning players’ minds when they entertain Fife Flyers at Planet Ice on Saturday.
The two sides met in Kirkcaldy at the beginning of March when the Scots outfit won by a 5-2 margin – Tim Wallace’s men only going down after trailing by the odd goal with 10 minutes to go.
Fife’s place in the end of season play-offs is all but assured although they still need to earn two or three more victories to make sure. For MK’s players who know they will finish bottom of the table there is still pride to play for – not to mention the noisy home crowd who have proved on occasions to be worth the extra player on the ice.
Early in the season Fife produced a series of shock results and were riding high in the top three at one stage. Since then that form has evaporated and now in seventh place they know they cannot afford too many more slip ups.
On their first visit to Milton Keynes in December Lightning ran out 4-2 winners while January’s Planet Ice match up saw Flyers go away with a 6-5 success after overtime.
Fife’s main danger man is Canadian winger Brett Bulmer who has lit the lamp on 23 occasions in the Elite League while adding 31 assists for a points total of 54 – placing him 16th in the competition standings.
Fellow forward Carlo Finucci has scored only two points less than Bulmer – 14 goals and 38 assists – but that is only good enough for 23rd spot in the rankings.
Paul Crowder who moved from last year’s Elite champions, Cardiff Devils, for the start of the season, is one place behind, having managed 51 points thus far – 22 goals and 29 assists.
In between the pipes Canadian Shane Owen has made the netminder’s spot almost exclusively his own this year with back up Andrew Little only having started two games. Never the less Owen only ranks eighth in the goalie charts with a save percentage of 91.
With only a handful of home games left this season now is time to raise the roof loud and proud for Lightning. Face off on Saturday is 7pm. Book your tickets at mk-lightning.com/tickets. Alternatively buy your tickets in advance or on the door at Planet Ice. Telephone 01908 540020.