Lightning notched their biggest victory in three months as they downed Slough Jets 6-1 in Berkshire on Saturday – and then were shut out for the first time at home this season on Sunday when Swindon Wildcats won 3-0.
The sparkling display at Slough was followed by an uninspirational display against Swindon who took a two goal lead in the first period and never looked like surrendering it.
Lightning’s cause at the business end of the season is not being helped by the fact that with so many midweek games they have hardly had a proper training session since Christmas to iron out any glitches. And there were plenty on Sunday.
They seemed to be devoid of ideas in how to find a way back against Swindon and when the gap became three by the half way stage it rarely looked as though Lightning would score.
Swindon went in front on 3mins 47secs when Aaron Nell fired the puck past goalie Stephen Wall from Jonas Hoog’s pass.
There were opportunities for Ross Green and Stan Lascek ahead of Wall making a stop from a Henri Sandvik shot.
Janne Jokila was sin binned for holding Jan Kostal allowing Swindon to make it 2-0 on the powerplay at 19mins 2secs through Nell – once more Hoog got the assist.
Lightning’s lack of success was not for want of trying – they had a 15-5 advantage in shots on goal in the first period but little was good enough to beat goalie Steve Lyle.
Early in the second session both Adam Carr and Lascek had opportunities to score but couldn’t make them pay. And it was to prove costly when Hoog went up the left to cross to Nell, in space. Nell’s first shot was blocked but he was able to follow up for the third goal on 28mins 35secs.
A swift time out by Lightning ended Swindon’s goal scoring but it didn’t help find an answer to their own lack of ability to find the target.
Less than minute later Tom Carlon and Ryan Watt clashed with both receiving four minutes for roughing and two minutes for delaying the game.
Sandvik was penalised for interference but a Lukas Zatopek powerblast was the best they could do.
In the third session Lightning again outshoot Swindon with no success. Man of the match, Green, took, the puck all the way from defence to goal but unfortunately his finish was not good enough to beat a goalie of Lyle’s experience.
Zatopek had a blast from the left and Blaz Emersic an effort from closer range - but this was a night when Lightning could have played till midnight and not scored.
On Saturday coach Nick Poole switched the lines around with some unfamiliar combinations.
The first period ended scoreless and it was in the middle session that Lightning took control as they registered after 23mins 28secs when Leigh Jamieson scored - assisted by Janne Jokila and Jordan Cownie.
Blaz Emersic and Tom Carlon were the suppliers when Ross Bowers got Lightning’s made it 2-0 on 25mins 59secs.
Carlon got the final shot from Emersic and Ben Russell under three minutes later.
Green and Andrius Kaminskas then clashed with each sin binned for roughing before Jokila added a fourth goal for the visitors 1mins 4secs from the second break.
Jets finally got on the score sheet after 45mins 45secs when former Milton Keynes player Jamie Line set up Daniel Rose to finally beat goalie Jordan Hedley.
Lightning restored the gap less than a minute later with Green assisting Cownie to score on 46mins 38secs.
Kaminskas was involved again - this time with Michael Farn - with both penalised for roughing and cross checking before Farn was the provider for Bowers to score his second of the game on 55mins 7secs.
Not content with his earlier misdemeanours Kaminskas then did battle with Grant McPherson a few seconds later - both receiving four minutes for roughing.