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REPORT: Lightning 5-2 Cardiff Devils (23 Sept)

By Paul Brookman

Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning bagged their first Challenge Cup victory after an impressive 5-2 win over reigning league champions Cardiff Devils at MK Arena on Saturday.

Lightning welcomed back Prezmy Odrobny in between the pipework following injury while Jonathan Boxill made his first start of the season after being ruled out through injury. Captain Kevin King was serving the second game of his two match suspension.

Three second period goals put Lightning in command over the side from the Welsh capital after former Devil, Guillaume Doucet, put them in front after 7mins 7secs following Paul Phillips’ set up. That goal came on the powerplay while Drew Paris was sitting out a delay of the game penalty.

Cardiff got themselves back level before the first interval when Joey Martin and Justin Faryna had a hand in Patrick Asselin’s strike on 18mins 27secs.

But if Devils thought that was the start of some big revival they were sadly misguided. Two minutes 29secs into the middle period Phillips and Ben Foster had the assists on another go ahead goal from the home outfit – this time it was defenceman Carl Hudson whose big blast defeated goalie Ben Bowns.

Devils were to make no impression when Francis Verreault-Paul was consigned to the sin bin for tripping – indeed the powerplay was cut short with first Faryna penalised for tripping in the 24th minute and then Paul Crowder following him to the cooler for a high stick a matter of seconds later.

Lightning made the most of the five on three advantage as Denny Kearney increased the gap to two goals – ably aided by Hudson and Doucet at 27mins 39secs.

The same scorer took his tally to two for the night on 32mins 26secs – Doucet and Verreault-Paul being the helpers.

Again Devils were unable to capitalise when presented with a powerplay by referee Jan Schmejkal – Kevin Gibson sitting out a 35th minute elbowing call.

There was a brief moment of hope for Devils early in the third period – despite not being able to make anything of a hooking call on Lewis Hook they added a second goal through Sean Bentivoglio after 43mins 12secs.

Pete Russell’s men were kept at bay on the powerplay which followed soon after – Andrew Hotham called for slashing but they did extend their tally to five on 56mins 31secs when Christian Isackson supplied Ludwig Karlsson to send the puck past Bowns. That goal put the result beyond any doubt.

Going into the final few minutes Bowns was put under a lot of pressure with Devils trying to prevent a totally embarrassing final result. For all that though Lightning were able to again show they mean business in the top tier of British hockey.

Man of the match: Denny Kearney.

NEXT HOME GAME: Lightning vs Guildford Flames 7pm Saturday 30 Sept – tickets available in person at the MK Arena OR call 01908 540020 OR online at mk-lightning.co.uk/tickets