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PREVIEW: Lightning v Manchester Storm 5.30pm Sun 29 Oct

This Sunday afternoon at Planet Ice, the Smith Recycling MK Lightning approach the end of a brutal schedule when they host league leaders the Manchester Storm (Sun 29 October 5.30pm)

By the time Sunday’s game ends, Coach Russell’s roster will have played six fixtures in just 10 days – three of those in three days in Scotland last weekend.

The team returned to home ice on Thursday evening and claimed two valuable league points with a convincing 7-2 defeat of Edinburgh Capitals.  Goals came from Kevin King, Paul Phillips, Kyle Essery and two each from Christian Isackson and Francis Verreault-Paul.  

Thursday’s win means Lightning remain unbeaten at home, and although their road form has been inconsistent, morale was boosted by the away win in Edinburgh recently.

The last time the Storm played in Milton Keynes on 7 October, it was MKL who took the points with a 3-2 win. After a goal-less first period Storm took a two goal lead thanks to Shane Bakker and Matt Beca, the second coming while Kyle Essery sat a slashing penalty.  Lewis Hook led the Lightning fightback followed by a Kevin King equaliser four minutes later.  There was less than four minutes left of regulation time remaining when Denny Kearney grabbed the game winning goal, keeping the points at Planet Ice.

The Storm remain top of the Elite League standings, with nine wins from 12 fixtures played.  However it was a shock defeat for Coach Finnerty’s men on the road in Guildford last weekend, when they lost 6-4 to the Flames.  Just 24 hours earlier it was a different story as they took a narrow win over the Fife Flyers, Mike Hammond scoring the game winning goal in the final period.

US-born forward Luke Moffat leads the way on league goals closely followed by Matt Beca.  Moffat will be one that Coach Russell’s men will need to marshal carefully, after he scored four in the Storm’s six goal shut-out against Lightning earlier this month.  Dane Byers has proved an influential provider for the Storm, setting up no fewer than 19 of the team’s 46 league goals so far.  Beca and his fellow Canadian Mike Hammond have also been extremely productive in assists.

Sunday’s game is a Halloween fright night with fans  asked to come to the game in fancy dress – the fan judged to have the best outfit will win tickets to Lightning’s next home game on Saturday 4th November against the Nottingham Panthers.

Tickets for Sunday’s game are on sale from the Planet Ice box office, and are also available by phone at 01908 540020 or online at mk-lightning.co.uk/tickets.