Smith Recycling MK Lightning may have been short-benched but that did not stop them tearing Sheffield Steeldogs apart in a 6-1 victory at MK Arena on Saturday.
Steeldogs seemed to be trying to psyche out Lightning by naming a bench which significantly outnumbered the home side – but in the event many of them proved to be no more than bench warmers having not been given a chance of playing due to the hosts’ lightning start.
Lightning who were missing the suspended Frankie Bakrlik and Bobby Chamberlain plus Glenn Billing, Luc Johnson and Ed Knaggs who were on Great Britain Under 20s duty brought Grant McPherson out of retirement. And he showed little rustiness despite his months out of action.
It was to be a doubly wise move when Jordan Cownie was thrown out of the game on a five minutes plus game penalty for a high stick on Arnoldas Bosas.
The absences meant constant switching of line combinations and defenceman James Griffin played the latter part of the game as a forward.
The game was just 4mins 24secs old when the Lewis Hook-Cownie partnership struck. Cownie made the pass from the right and almost intuitively Hook was in the right position in front of goal to send the puck past goalie James Hadfield.
Callum Pattison was called for roughing and misconduct on 7mins 56secs – Griffin refusing to be goaded. At exactly the same time Milan Baranyk robbed his marker to double MK’s advantage.
But it was not long before the hosts added to their tally when Blaz Emersic and Craig Scott had a hand in Griffin’s blast which went in off Hadfield’s pads on 11mins 17secs.
There were momentary celebrations for Steeldogs as Marcus Heywood was the recipient of a lucky bounce in front of goal to cut the deficit on 17mins 46secs.
Just seconds later Cownie was dismissed.
MK started the second session short-handed but it was Hook and Blaz Emersic fed by Michael Farn who went closest before Pavel Mrna was thwarted by Przemy Odrobny in the Lightning goal.
As the period went on the home side put increasing pressure on Steeldogs – Scott going close in the 25th minute ahead of man of the match Griffin testing Sheffield goalie James Hadfield.
Therefore when the fourth goal came on 33mins 13secs it was no surprise – Tom Carlon supplying Griffin to score from close range.
It was much the same in the final stanza with Steeldogs fighting a rearguard action – their best chance probably coming when Heywood on the break shot high over the bar.
With a 4-1 lead going into the final ten minutes Lightning could afford to take it easy – only they didn’t. Hadfield seemed to have a shot-come-cross from Antti Hölli covered but he seemed to drop the shot and Scott swept the puck into the net on 50mins 42secs.
Lightning were not finished though and they rounded off the win as Hook scooped the puck over the stranded Hadfield for goal number six on 57mins 17secs.
It just about summed up Steeldogs’ evening when in the final minute Mrna went one on one with the netminder but came up against the brick wall – Odrobny.
Man of the Match: James Griffin (D)
Report: Paul Brookman
NEXT HOME GAME: Lightning v Swindon Wildcats 7pm Sat 17 Dec – our last pre-Christmas fixture! The team will play in the Christmas-themed jerseys and we’d love to see you in Christmas jumpers and fancy dress…let’s make it the best and biggest party night out in Milton Keynes! Tickets 01908 540020 or click here.