The Smith Recycling MK Lightning produced their most complete performance so far this season to maintain a 100 per cent record with a 4-1 victory over rivals Peterborough Phantoms at MK Arena.
There was never any point in the game when they looked like losing – even though Phantoms got off the mark first.
Lightning deservedly led at the first break – the only surprise was that they did not have a bigger advantage after dominating much of the opening session.
Netminder Prezmy Odrobny did not have single shot to save in the first seven minutes but when he did he quickly found himself picking puck out of the goal.
In the first couple of minutes Craig Scott tested Peterborough goalie Janis Auzins before just failing to connect with a Milan Baranyk pass from the left while the stopper was caught out of position behind the goal.
Both James Griffin and Sam Jones – set up by Lewis Hook – forced fine blocks from Auzins before, totally against the run of play, Ales Padelek seized on a loose puck in front of goal to put Slava Koulikov’s charges in front, at 7mins 1sec.
For a couple of minutes Peterborough’s confidence looked to be boosted and they were given a powerplay chance when Ed Knaggs was penalised for delaying the game in the eighth minute. However it came to nothing.
Lightning got back on terms with a superb one on one breakaway top shelf goal from man of the match Mikolaj Lopuski who robbed his Peterborough marker of the puck in centre ice – Baranyk and Odrobny being credited with assists at 11mins 1sec.
Home fans showed their displeasure when Frankie Bakrlik was penalised for boarding Auzins – even though the netminder had left his crease and was behind the goal line. There was no joy on the powerplay though.
Once back at even strength it was the home side doing all the pressing and it was little surprise when Baranyk finished from a long Leigh Jamieson pass at 18mins 22secs to give the hosts a 2-1 lead at the interval.
Lopuski who had previously failed to register a single point doubled his goals tally with a blast from the right within 1min 55secs of the start of the middle session – the set up coming from Baranyk.
The home team continued to put Phantoms to the test with Baranyk having an effort saved three minutes later before James Ferrara and Robert Ferrara combined to almost beat Odrobny.
Lopuski then supplied Baranyk who forced a fumbled save from Auzins.
It was only a matter of time before Lightning added to their tally and it came when Jamieson made the pass for Bobby Chamberlain rifle the puck home at the left hand side of goal on 33mins 40secs to make it 4-1.
The goal effectively settled the outcome as Peterborough looked a beaten side from then on.
The visitors, to their credit, did not give up in the third period but there was little threat to their play with Odrobny able to deal with all of the shots with ease while Lightning were able to control play without having to stretch themselves.
With just 1min25secs remaining Peterborough’s frustrations boiled over as Bakrlik looked to be clearly goaded near the Phantoms bench. As a result fisticuffs ensued with Bakrlik receiving a total of 16 minutes for roughing, Chamberlain and Phantoms’ Will Weldon being handed four minutes for the same offence.
It was the highlight of what was a tepid final period with the game already won.
Man of the Match: Mikolaj Lopuski
Report: Paul Brookman
NEXT HOME GAME: MKL v Hull Pirates 7pm Sat 24 Sept
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