Lewis Hook bagged a pair of goals as Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning recorded their first shut out of their Elite League campaign with a 3-0 win at Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday.
The victory was Lightning’s third against the anchor club this term and they will be looking to complete the series with another success when Capitals visit MK Arena on Thursday next week.
Netminder Henry Pacl pulled off a number of fine saves to pick up the man of the match award as Lightning went past the 30 point mark in the table with their 15th win.
Once again Peter Russell’s outfit were short-staffed and they added two-way players Glenn Billing and Edward Knaggs – regulars for Peterborough Phantoms – to the line-up with both earning regular shifts against Capitals who had released second highest points scorer Pavel Vorobyev and defenceman Nikita Kolesnikovs in mid-week.
Lightning dominated the opening minutes, putting Capitals under pressure as Pacl saw no action before Igor Valeyev’s effort hit the metalwork.
Edinburgh goalie Tyler Beskorowany took a Guillaume Doucet shot with his glove after eight minutes, ahead of James Griffin clearing a rebounding shot to Ben Foster whose chance came to nothing. When Capitals’ Sergei Banashkov threatened Pacl was up to the task to keep the tallies at 0-0.
The visitors then put the Murrayfield based team under some pressure with Paul Phillips trying his luck twice from the blue line before Bestorowany stopped a Kevin King slapshot.
Eventually Lightning got a breakthrough with a goal initially credited to Billing but later changed to Hook – the supply coming from Francis Verreault-Paul and Doucet on 14mins 28secs.
Both teams ended the first period with players in the sin bin – Evan Stoflet receiving four minutes for roughing and Capitals’ Patrik Moisio two for slashing with 1min 14secs remaining.
However it made no difference to the score and neither did a five on three powerplay for the home side when King (hooking) and Christian Isackson (slashing) were both sitting out their penalties – Pacl making a couple of big saves to keep them at bay.
Back at full strength Lightning added to their score on 29mins 53secs when Hook’s wrist shot beat Beskorowany following Verreault-Paul and Doucet’s set up.
Edinburgh had a man advantage at the start of the third session following a roughing call on King but that was soon wiped out as Michael DOrazio was consigned to the home sin bin for high stick.
Lightning had no success on the powerplay after Rihards Grigors was sidelined for interference on Pacl and indeed there was no further score until Capitals pulled netminder Beskorowany following a 56th minute time out.
The visitors were reduced to four skaters with two and a half minutes to go thanks to a delay of the game penalty on Jonathan Boxill but it failed to give Edinburgh a consolation goal as they were denied by Pacl.
On his return to the ice Boxill immediately seized on a loose puck and fired it on the empty net for his third goal of the season to seal a satisfying 3-0 win.
Man of the match: Henry Pacl.
By Paul Brookman