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REPORT: Phantoms 1-4 MK Lightning (12 Feb)

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A brace of Frankie Bakrlik goals – one on an empty net – ensured Smith Recycling MK Lightning gained revenge on Peterborough Phantoms at Bretton on Sunday.

A fortnight or so before, Lightning succumbed to their biggest rivals in a 3-2 loss at MK Arena. This time MK were in charge from the 15th minute when Michael Farn and Antti Hölli had a hand in Lewis Hook’s opener.

Milan Baranyk returned to the line-up after being rested the previous evening against Swindon Wildcats. This time Mikolaj Lopuski was the import to be rested.

However Baranyk’s involvement in the game only lasted until the 34th minute when he was given a match penalty for a high stick on James Ferrara who was unable to return to the action.

It means the Czech is due to be suspended for the visit to Basingstoke Bison next Saturday – English Premier League rules ban his replacement with another import.

Phantoms were without their first choice netminder Janis Auzins who was being rested to recover from a muscle strain – Adam Long taking over between the pipes.

It was only 25 seconds after face off that Long was facing a shot from James Griffin. However the attempt went wide.

Hook was the first player to visit the penalty box when he was called by referee Matt Thompson for hooking at 6mins 30secs.

Lightning survived the short-handed spell and in the following minutes tested Long with shots from Ed Knaggs and Farn while a further attempt by Hölli went wide.

On the powerplay with Marc Levers sin binned on 13mins 7secs for tripping Blaz Emersic it was the Finn who went closest with a shot that was off target.

Eventually Phantoms’ resistance cracked as Lewis Hook put MK ahead on 15mins 42secs.

Before the first break Phantoms were given a golden opportunity to level with Leigh Jamieson (roughing) and Farn (tripping) both in the penalty box at the same time. But the two man advantage was reduced to one as Edgars Bebris was quickly penalised for interference.

Four minutes into the second session Darius Pliskauskas managed to get away under pressure from Jamieson – goalie Przemy Odrobny making the save.

MK doubled their advantage through Bakrlik, assisted by Emersic, after 33mins 48secs, shortly before Baranyk was given his marching orders for his clash with Ferrara.

However the extended five minute powerplay reaped no reward for Phantoms. They had to wait until 2mins 57secs into the final period for that when Owen Griffiths beat Odrobny one on one to give the home side hope.

It was not long though before Lightning restored the two goal lead with Luc Johnson registering his second assist of the campaign in helping Lewis Christie score his second goal this year at 45mins 1sec.

Lightning held firm as Tom Carlon was consigned to the cooler for interference in the 46th minute before Phantoms’ bid to add to the physicality of the game proved fruitless.

In a bid to get back in the encounter Peterborough coach Slava Koulikov called a time out with just over two minutes remaining and immediately withdrew Long for the extra skater.

It was a move which backfired because Bakrlik was able to score on the empty net less than a minute later at 58mins 48secs, thus securing a 4-1 win for the travellers.

Man of the Match: Michael Farn

Report: Paul Brookman