Peterborough Phantoms ensured the Boxing Day blues for Smith Recycling MK Lightning with a 3-2 defeat for the hosts at MK Arena.
Phantoms’ victory ended Lightning’s seven game winning streak and furthermore handed a slight advantage to English Premier League leaders Telford Tigers, being one of the three games MK had in hand over the top side.
Lightning were knocked back by Phantoms’ opening goal which came after just 1min 40secs and they never really showed much sign of recovering in the first period. Even the announcement of the goal by Martins Susters was delayed because the scoreboard clock had stopped after only eight seconds of play and so had to be recalculated.
In the third minute Lightning were afforded a powerplay when Darius Pliskauskas was sin binned for tripping but, aside from a Frankie Bakrlik shot which went straight at netminder Janis Auzins, there was little else for the Phantoms defensive unit to deal with.
Phantoms added to the woe of Pete Russell’s side on the powerplay after Tom Carlon was penalised for tripping in the sixth minute.
Pliskauskas’ initial shot was blocked but not held by goalie Przemy Odrobny and Wehebe Darge was able to follow up to double the visitors’ tally on 7mins 52secs.
James Ferrara was next to warm the penalty box bench when he was called for hooking on 8min 35secs but he returned to the action with Lightning having failed to make any impression on the powerplay.
The home outfit probably produced their best effort of the first period when Glenn Billing burst down the left hand side in the 16th minute and Luc Johnson joining him on the attack just failed with a shot which hit the post.
Pliskauskas ended the first period in obvious pain on the Phantoms bench and he played no further part in the game.
After the break Lightning stepped up their game with Carlon seeing his shot saved easily by Auzins before Blaz Emersic supplied Jordan Cownie for an effort which was blocked.
While Bakrlik was serving two minutes for tripping in the 27th minute Phantoms were unable to produce anything remotely troublesome for Odrobny.
Back at full strength Leigh Jamieson broke through but by the time he could get his shot away the angle was probably too narrow.
Lewis Hook then attempted to create a chance with a cross from the right but instead of a shot resulting the opportunity was snuffed out.
And immediately the play went to the other end of the ice from where Sam Towner crossed for Petr Stepanek to beat Odrobny for a third time at 32mins 8secs.
Lightning eventually got off the mark when Cownie fed former Phantom Craig Scott to make it 3-1 at 33mins 56secs.
A 41st minute high sticking call on Adam Carr soon had MK short-handed at the start of the third period but worse was to come with Michael Farn being thrown out on a five minutes plus game cross checking penalty following a clash with Susters who received two minutes for slashing.
However Lightning dug in and were able to survive the prolonged short-handed spell without further damage to the score.
Home fans were given hope that something could be retrieved from the game as Antti Hölli was provider for Emersic to narrow the gap to one on 36mins 12secs.
Almost immediately coach Russell called a timeout – the consequence of which was, with play in the Phantoms defensive zone, Odrobny was withdrawn in favour of the extra skater for the final 3mins 21secs on the game.
Unfortunately it had no effect on the scoring as Phantoms had the satisfaction of gaining the scalps of the top two teams in successive matches.
Man of the Match: #15 James Griffin
Report: Paul Brookman