Smith Recycling MK Lightning recorded their first shut-out of the season with a hard earned 2-0 victory in an ill-tempered clash with Basingstoke Bison at MK Arena on Friday.
But the win in the first Friday fixture in Lightning’s history came at a cost with both Bobby Chamberlain and Frankie Bakrlik picking up match penalties. Bison’s Derek Roehl also received match for his fight with Bakrlik after the final buzzer.
In addition Tom Carlon was handed a five minutes plus game penalty for a check to the head of Ciaran Long.
Chamberlain was given his marching orders in the 14th minute for what appeared to be an unfortunate high stick on defenceman Jan Jarabek which drew blood.
But it was not until exactly midway through the first session that referee Stephen Matthews called the first penalty when Bakrlik went for tripping. On the powerplay Bison made no headway with Michael Farn denying Tomas Karpov at the left post when a goal looked certain.
The powerplay was ended prematurely when it was Karpov who was also called for tripping and as Lightning returned to full strength Milan Baranyk saw his shot blocked.
Chamberlain’s dismissal saw Lightning forced to defend five minutes short-handed – they did it with aplomb, Craig Scott blocking a Roehl attempt from the blue line before goalie Przemy Odrobny stopped a Long shot from distance.
The second period was just 1min 24secs old when Lightning got their break through – Leigh Jamieson’s powerblast from the blue line from man of the match Lewis Christie being tipped in by Bakrlik.
Carlon and Balmer were both despatched to the sin bin after 23mins – the MK man for cross checking and his opposite number for charging but there was little to trouble either netminder during their time off the ice.
Bison found themselves a man to the good in the 26th minute after Scott found himself penalised for a check to the head of former MK man Matt Towalski. Again though the powerplay was ended abruptly as Karpov was caught high sticking Farn.
Przemy Odrobny had to be at his best to knock a Dan Davies effort over the bar while Jordan Cownie was sitting out a two minute call for interference a couple of minutes later.
Tempers boiled over between Bakrlik and Roehl just over a minute into the second half of the game – the home player being the clear winner of the fight. Both earned four minutes out of the action for their efforts.
It was a hooking penalty for Stuart Mogg that proved decisive in securing MK their second goal. Somehow Scott managed to thread the puck past goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky across the face of goal to Lewis Hook to tap in at the left hand pipe on 37mins 51secs.
Carlon became the second Lightning player to leave the game just 58 seconds into the final stanza – being judged guilty of a check to the head of Long.
Once more it was backs against the wall for five minutes for the home outfit and in the best of their attempts Towalski found himself skating into the brick wall that was Odrobny before Aaron Connolly saw his shot blocked by the mountain of a netminder.
Lightning threatened to add to their score after Kurt Reynolds was ruled out of the play for 12 minutes for hooking and misconduct. There was a desperate scrambled in front of the Bison net but despite the pressure the puck stayed out.
It was pretty much last chance saloon as Sam Jones went to warm the penalty bench for roughing in the 56th minute – Baird failing to goad him into a fight and a more serious penalty. Bison just could not beat Odrobny.
As the game went into its final minute or so Balmer was sin binned for roughing on Luc Johnson and that just about ended any hope Bison had of a late goal or two.
Man of the Match: Lewis Christie (D)
Report: Paul Brookman
NEXT HOME GAME: Lightning v Sheffield Steeldogs 7pm Saturday 10 December – tickets available now, visit the ticket office in person, call 01908 540020 or get online by clicking here.