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REPORT: Manchester 6-0 Lightning (8 Oct)

Manchester Storm

By Paul Brookman

It was Altrincham agony for Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning when they were shut out for the first time this season in a 6-0 defeat to Manchester Storm.

As on the previous evening at MK Arena Storm took a 2-0 first period lead but unlike then there was no fight back from Lightning who ended the first half of the game trailing by six.

It was a performance which head coach Peter Russell was far from happy with. He tweeted: “Tonight wasn’t acceptable and we all know it. Being short is no excuse. It was from us our worst effort so far of the season. The travelling Lightning fans and those at home deserve better.”

Lightning welcomed Francis Verreault-Paul back from suspension but again were without the injured Kevin Gibson, Christian Isackson and Ludwig Karlsson.

The visitors fell behind after 5mins 10secs when Dane Byers’ blast was deflected past goalie Miika Wiikman by Gerard Hanson.

Wiikman’s net then stayed intact when Manchester sought to quickly build on their lead before Verreault-Paul tried to send Lewis Hook away in an abortive attack.

Guillaume Doucet incurred the first penalty of the game on 10mins 18secs for delaying the game and although Wiikman was forced into a

Image: Manchester Storm

great save on the Storm powerplay the hosts were unable to add to their tally.

They also failed to registered when Lightning were a man short soon afterwards with Denny Kearney sent to the cooler for roughing.

But the Storm advantage was doubled with an unassisted Luke Moffat goal after 15mins 29secs – the first of his four goals – to put Manchester in charge at the first break, the MK stopper keeping the opposition total down.

Manchester ended the session a man short with Dallas Ehrhardt called for elbowing in the final minute but there was no response goal-wise from Lightning on the powerplay going into the middle session.

Instead it was a clash between Hook and Ehrhardt – both penalised for slashing at 21mins 49secs – that led to Manchester extending their lead through Moffat after 23mins 38secs, the assist going to Mike Hammond.

It was not long before Wiikman was picking the puck out of the net again when Scott Pitt and Ehrhardt had a hand in Matt Beca’s strike on 25mins 10secs.

Within 27 seconds it was 5-0 as Moffat bagged his hat-trick, aided by Byers and Linden Springer, signalling the end of Wiikman’s involvement in the encounter following a timeout by Russell.

Przemy Odrobny took over in between the pipes and while his net remained intact after referee Tom Pering penalised him for delaying the game while he prepared himself, he conceded Lightning’s sixth goal on 29mins 57secs.

Once more it was the fire Moffat who hit the target – the helper coming from Byers.

In reality the game was already lost but Lightning did have a chance or two before the period end – Kearney’s attempt being snuffed out through the net coming off its moorings.

Ciaran Long went to the sin bin within 40 seconds of the start of the final period giving MK a powerplay and Ben Foster saw goalie Mike Clemente make a big glove save to deny him.

Kyle Essery failed to beat the netminder shortly after as the clash developed into an end to end affair.

Hook tried to set up Alex Forbes without success in an improved period for Lightning while Odrobny took a fine Manchester chance with his glove.

Essery and Doucet, meanwhile at the other end, tried to avoid the team being shut out with opportunities, only to be denied by Clemente.

Penalties on Storm’s Paul Swindlehurst and MK’s Doucet for cross checking and holding the stick respectively were quickly added to when Kearney received a tripping penalty, giving Storm a powerplay at 52mins 58secs. But the short-handed spell passed without further score although Odrobny denied Storm a seventh goal with a great save.

It was a night to forget in the suburbs of Manchester with Lightning no doubt hoping for the return of their wounded as soon as possible.

Man of the match: Guillaume Doucet.