Smith Recycling MK Lightning suffered the agony of a dramatic penalty shootout defeat as Peterborough Phantoms retained the Ashes Trophy at Bretton on Sunday.
Trailing 4-1 from the first leg in Milton Keynes the previous evening Lightning had it all to do in the second encounter. They responded in magnificent style to take the game to overtime with a 5-2 victory on the night – 6-6 on aggregate.
When the five minutes extra period expired with no further score it was down to penalties with both teams only
managing to register on one of their regulation shots. That meant the game went to sudden death shots and the game was not decided until each netminder had faced seven penalties.
Phantoms eventually claimed the win when Sam Towner beat goalie Jordan Hedley with Leigh Jamieson failing to convert his return effort.
Lightning opened the scoring after 8mins 20secs when Hedley had a hand as Frankie Bakrlik set up Blaz Emersic to defeat goalie Janis Auzins.
In an improved performance Hedley then denied Phantoms on a number of occasions before the visitors were presented with a powerplay opportunity when Marc Levers was called for hooking in the 15th minute. Sam Jones went close but not close enough with the home outfit holding out while a man short.
Hedley then got in the way of efforts by Ales Padelek and Darius Pliskauskas to help Lightning close out the period 1-0 in front.
In the first few minutes of the middle stanza Peterborough netminder Janis Auzins got in the way of a Lewis Hook attempt ahead of Hedley’s stop from Towner before Michael Farn fired wide. A big effort from Emersic was blocked but the goalie could not deny Jones on 33mins 58secs to put MK 2-0 up on the night.
Lightning then drew level on aggregate thanks to a Levers holding penalty, giving them a powerplay. This time Jones was the provider – along with Bakrlik – for Milan Baranyk to score against his old club at 36mins 45secs.
There was a swift Phantoms response as James Ferrara supplied Padelek to register his team’s first of the night at 37mins 17secs.
But the second period action wasn’t over with the final goal going to Lightning at 39mins 45secs – Lewis Hook getting his first goal of the season, assisted by Bakrlik – giving a 5-5 aggregate score.
However Peterborough edged back in front overall within the first four minutes of the third session with Tom Norton and Will Weldon assisting on Petr Stepanek’s marker at 43mins 58secs.
Despite that Lightning were in no mood to give in easily and they took their chance when James Archers was sin binned for tripping in the 49th minute – Bakrlik finishing off from Jones and Baranyk.
That proved to be the final goal in open play although there were a tense couple of minutes for Lightning as Jones was penalised for clipping with just over four minutes of regulation time remaining. Russell’s men defended the short-handed spell without mishap though to send the match into the extra period and ultimately penalty shots.
Man of the Match: Craig Scott
Report: Paul Brookman
Next home game: MK Lightning v Bracknell Bees – Planet Ice Milton Keynes, 7pm Saturday 3 September.
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