A brace of Milan Baranyk third period goals ensured Smith Recycling MK Lightning of a four point weekend haul with a 5-2 victory at Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday.
The win proved to be a vital one as both English Premier League leaders Telford Tigers and third placed Hull Pirates also picked up maximum points to leave Lightning still in second spot in the table.
But that did not stop Pete Russell’s charges from getting off to a great start thanks to Blaz Emersic finding the net after 3min 28secs following Craig Scott’s supply from Bobby Chamberlain.
In the ensuring minutes the travelling outfit could have doubled their advantage as Lewis Hook saw his attempt saved comfortably by goalie James Hadfield with Frankie Bakrlik shooting wide ahead of Milan Baranyk going close.
A penalty on Jordan Cownie for interference was negated after just over a minute when Steeldogs’ Donatas Kumeliauskas was called for cross checking.
As Lightning returned to full strength they were on the powerplay and Cownie and Antti Hölli then set up Bobby Chamberlain to extend the tally on 13mins 47secs.
The hosts’ Macauley Heywood’s involvement in the game ended after 15mins 44secs when he received a five minutes
plus game penalty for cross-checking Sam Jones.
MK didn’t manage to capitalise on the five minute man advantage but did end the period on top score wise.
They quickly added to the total when Baranyk and Ed Knaggs were the providers for captain Adam Carr to fire into the top corner of the net 2mins 22secs after the break.
An interference penalty on Ed Knaggs had just expired – leaving Blaz Emersic in the sin bin for high sticks – when Steeldogs registered on the powerplay after 25mins 17secs as Arnoldas Bosas took the pass from Liam Kirk to defeat goalie Przemy Odrobny.
A succession of penalties – Andrew Hirst (interference) and Greg Wood (hooking) for Steeldogs and Hölli (hooking) and Michael Farn (illegal equipment) for Lightning all passed with no further score before the second interval.
It did not take the visitors long to extend their lead once more after referee Stefan Hogarth signalled the start of the third session – Baranyk bagging the first of his pair of goals at 42mins 21secs from Scott’s assist.
Less than four minutes later Steeldogs had the tiniest glimmer of hope as Kirk and Thomas Barry were involved in the set-up which saw Ashley Calvert make it 4-2 on 46mins 16secs.
One minute two seconds into the man advantage Milan Baranyk effectively put the points out of Steeldogs’ reach – Scott and Emersic taking the assists in taking the score to 5-2 in favour of Lightning.
There were two final hurdles for Lightning as the game went into the final five minutes – a tripping call on Carr, shortly followed by Bakrlik’s hooking penalty – giving Steeldogs powerplays but the danger was snuffed out on both occasions.
Steeldogs pulled Hadfield in favour of the extra skater for the last 1min 22secs but it failed to give them the consolation of a third goal on another good night for Lightning.
Man of the Match: Przemyslaw Odrobny
Report: Paul Brookman
NEXT HOME GAME: MKL v Basingstoke Bison 7.30pm Friday 2nd December – tickets 01908 540020 or click here