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PREVIEW: Lightning v Edinburgh Capitals (7.45pm Thurs 26 Oct)

This Thursday evening it’s half term heaven for hockey lovers in Milton Keynes as the Smith Recycling MK Lightning host the team they beat last Sunday – Edinburgh Capitals (Planet Ice MK Arena, 7.45pm 26 October).

Thursday’s opposition are the Edinburgh Capitals; they come to Milton Keynes looking to reverse the 5-2 defeat inflicted on them by MKL at Murrayfield last Sunday. But with the road game hoodoo broken after Sunday’s win, Lightning’s only aim will be to pick up more points and consolidate their league position.

Coach Russell’s side sit ninth in the league after 10 fixtures played; they remain unbeaten at home in front of fiercely partisan support but injuries and stuttering road form have had an impact on the team’s league standing. Captain Kevin King and Guillaume Doucet, Man of the Match for two of MKL’s three Scottish road games last weekend, are the team’s top league goal scorers whilst Denny Kearney and Paul Phillips have proven real playmakers, leading the way with assists.  However with points coming from almost every area of the roster, supporters know that this season’s team is one with genuine strength in depth.

Last weekend’s workload of three games in three days would have been a big ask for any team, combined with nearly 1,000 miles of travelling involved in the weekend – and that was just the start of an incredibly tough schedule with 6 games in only 10 days, four of those being away from home.

Both last Friday and Saturday – against Fife and Braehead respectively – saw MKL battle back from a deficit to equalise, only losing by a single goal each night.

Coach Russell rallied the troops and on Sunday night their effort was rewarded with an emphatic 5-2 road win at Murrayfield against tonight’s opponents, Edinburgh Capitals.

And all weekend, despite the distances involved, Lightning’s band of travelling supporters has attracted favourable comments from their hosts for their noise and spirit – rewarded with a photo call after the win with Pete Russell and his players!

Edinburgh are rooted to the foot of the table but have played just 7 league fixtures, fewer than most other sides. Russian forward Sergei Banashkov remains the side’s leading scorer and Canada’s Mike Cazzola leads the way on assists, just ahead of Igor Valeyev. Head Coach Dmitri Kristich says he knows that to make progress, his side need to work on power plays and defending in front of their own net.

Lightning vs Edinburgh Capitals faces off at 7.45pm on Thursday 26 October – it’s half term week so spend the evening with the Lightning and enjoy the action!  Call at the Planet Ice MK Arena to pick up your tickets, call them on 01908 540020 or go online at www.mk-lightning.co.uk/tickets.

See you on Thursday – let the action commence!