IMPORTS Kamil Tvrdek and Janne Jokila both bagged hat-tricks as Lightning enjoyed their first four-point weekend since early December with back-to-back victories against Bracknell Bees.
Finn Jokila, playing only his fifth game for Lightning, hit a treble at Planet Ice on Saturday night when the city side totally outplayed their Berkshire opponents in an 8-2 win.
On Sunday it was Czech Tvrdek who registered three times in the 4-2 success at The Hive. It was his third hat-trick since joining the club – coincidentally the last was also against Bees when Lightning won 6-2.
With Slough Jets losing 5-2 at home to Guildford Flames, the results meant that Lightning moved up to fourth in the table – but still a long way behind the top three of Guildford, Basingstoke Bison and Manchester Phoenix.
Just a week after turning in one of their worst performances of the season against Peterborough, Saturday’s display was a complete contrast with Lightning dominating from the start.
Adam Brittle got the scoring started after only 3mins 59secs when his first time shot from Leigh Jamieson’s behind the net pass caught goalie Carl Ambler off guard.
James Galazzi set up Andy Munroe for a Bees equaliser – the puck somehow finding a gap behind goalie Stephen Wall on 10mins 45secs.
But by the first break the home team were back in front thanks to Lewis Christie’s short pass from the left which was finished off by Ross Bowers on 18mins 27secs.
It didn’t take Lightning long after the start of the second session to add a third goal on the powerplay – Matt Foord serving time for tripping. Jokila and Tvrdek were the providers for Blaz Emersic to net at 20mins 45secs.
One minute three seconds later Emersic got his second to make it 4-1 – signalling the replacement of Ambler by Tom Annetts.
Less than five minutes later he was picking the puck out of the net after Jokila got the first of his hat-trick. The real credit for the goal went to Adam Carr – returning from injury – who chased what looked like a hopeless cause and won the puck behind the Bees goal. He passed to Tvrdek who connected perfectly with the on rushing Jokila at 26mins 45secs.
By the second break it was 7-2 with Brittle following up to score from a blocked Emersic effort on 35mins 22secs and Jokila getting the other 15 seconds later.
Bees’ only reply came 25secs from the break, on the powerplay, when Ollie Bronnimann was given too much space to fire home from distance.
There may have just been one goal in the third period when Jokila took Tvrdek’s pass from the left and shot back across the face of goal at 47mins 44secs, but Bees posed no threat in a comfortable win for the hosts.
At The Hive the next day, Bees took the lead on the powerplay on 21mins 24secs with a powerplay goal from Rob Lamey while Brittle was in the sin bin for hooking.
The hosts had a further powerplay when Tvrdek was penalised for interference, but shortly after he returned to the ice he registered the first of his hat-trick from Jamieson’s assist on 27mins 44secs.
Lightning then edged ahead when Emersic got in on the scoring act with Jamieson again the provider.
Bees’ Scott Spearing picked up the third of his penalties – two minutes for cross checking and two minutes roughing in the 45th minute but Lightning could make nothing of the extra man and were then reduced to four skaters when Jamieson was sin binned for hooking.
It was while Jamieson was off the ice that Tvrdek beat Annetts unassisted to make it 3-1 on 48mins 14secs.
Lamey gave Bees a glimmer of hope when he made it 3-2 at 57mins 28secs – and their chances seemed to increase when Michael Farn was given two minutes for holding 1min 8secs from the end.
Lightning immediately called a time out before Brittle found Tvrdek who scored on an empty net at 59mins 10secs – Annetts having been withdrawn for the extra skater as Bees sought a last gasp equaliser.
There was further drama for Bees at the buzzer when Spearing was thrown out of the game on a second misconduct penalty.
On Saturday Lightning entertain Sheffield Steeldogs for the final time this season at 7pm before the city side travel to league leaders Basingstoke Bison on Sunday, face off 5.30pm.