LIGHTNING ace Leigh Jamieson’s switch from defence to forward this season is proving to be one of the best moves of the year.
For the Milton Keynes-born player is now Lightning’s top scorer. And he added another four goals to his tally at the weekend – his pair of powerplay strikes sending the team on their way to a 3-2 win against Swindon Wildcats on Saturday.
Unfortunately although Jamieson again struck twice at Manchester Phoenix the following day – both once more on powerplays – it was not enough to give Lightning victory as they went down 4-2.
On Saturday home fans had to wait until the 34th minute for the first goal. By that time Lightning had lost Matt Towalski who was thrown out of the game on a misconduct penalty in the 14th minute for continued abuse of the officials following a holding penalty.
That meant Lightning were without all of their regular third line – Grant McPherson (shoulder) and Michael Wales (wrist) again not starting the match.
Despite Towalski’s absence Wildcats were unable to register on the resulting powerplay with the first period ending 0-0.
The hosts could do no better with a man advantage early in the second session when Wildcats’ Stephen Whitfield was called for cross checking.
It was a high stick penalty on Nicky Watt that eventually gave Lightning the chance of a breakthrough with Jamieson converting Nick Poole’s set up after 34mins 45secs.
By the second break it was 2-0 – once more a penalty on Wildcats provided the opportunity as Joe Baird was sent to the sin bin for roughing. This time Blaz Emersic supplied the vital pass for Jamieson to net 46 seconds from the interval.
Swindon staged a spirited third period fightback firing in 17 shots on goalie Alex Mettam, compared with Lightning’s six on Thomas Murdy.
It produced results when Michal Pinc made the most of a two minute penalty for holding on Lewis Christie – scoring at 45mins 1sec.
Former Wildcat Michael Farn was served a two minute delay of the game penalty in the 50th minute to allow Pinc to bag his second on the powerplay at 51mins exactly.
In the end it was down to captain Adam Carr to register unassisted after 57mins 47secs to seal the points.
The following day at Altrincham the visitors quickly found themselves in trouble when Ciaran Long put Manchester – ahead from Tom Duggan’s assist after seven minutes 36secs, the home side clearly in mood for a repeat of the previous evening’s 9-0 loss at Slough the previous night.
Slava Koulikov then supplied former Edinburgh Capitals man Martin Cingel with the pass to beat Mettam after 11mins 35secs.
Two powerplay chances came and went for Lightning who were unable to make the most of them as the first session ended 2-0 to the home side.
It was a revitalised Lightning side that took the ice for the second period and they battled hard – surviving a hooking penalty on Farn before Jamieson got the first of his goals on the powerplay at 26mins 6secs while Koulikov was serving time for charging – Poole and Emersic getting the assists.
For all their efforts though Lightning were unable to find the net again before the second intermission.
The equaliser came after Cingel was sent to the penalty box for tripping – Jamieson levelling after 46mins 6secs with Poole and Emersic once more getting the assists.
But in the end it proved to be of no avail thanks to an unassisted Cingel goal after 52mins 19secs when he reacted first to a loose puck right on the goal line after Mettam lost sight of it to put Manchester back in front.
Lightning missed chances on two short handed breakaways while Christie was in the sin bin for tripping before Cingel ensured the points went to Manchester with a fourth goal – his third of the evening – with 19 seconds remaining.
Lightning now have a break over the Christmas holiday with their next match at home to Manchester Phoenix on Friday December 30 – the face off time is now 7pm.
They then start the new year with a tough trip to league leaders Guildford Flames on January 1, facing off at 4pm before visiting Swindon Wildcats on January 2 – face off is at 5.45pm.