Lightning came out on top in a 13-goal thriller at Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday – thanks to an overtime strike from Blaz Emersic.
The win helped overcome the disappointment of a 4-2 loss against Guildford Flames at Coventry Skydome the night before.
However, Lightning were left wondering exactly how they allowed a 4-0 lead slip on Sunday evening – later a 6-2 advantage – with Steeldogs scoring four unaswered goals during the final 10 minutes of regulation time just to force the extra five minutes.
Defenceman Ross Green fired in Stan Lascek’s pass after 5mins 57secs to put the visitors in front, before Adam Carr added to the Steeldogs’s woes with a second goal for Lightning after 13mins 47secs.
Lightning extended the gap to three when Emersic beat goalie Dalibor Sedlar at 25mins 58secs, just seconds before Andre Payette and Grant McPherson clashed – both receiving two minutes in the sin bin, the Canadian for slashing and the Scot for cross checking.
And just after the midway mark, at 30mins 37secs, it all looked to be plain sailing for MK when Lascek made it 4-0.
But even when Wall’s goal was breached for the first time through Andrew Hirst after 35mins 27secs there was little to worry about, especially as Tom Carlon supplied Janne Jokila to restore the four goal lead at 36mins 9secs.
However, the third session started badly for Lightning with Lukas Zatopek being called for tripping within 29secs and only 21secs after that, on the powerplay, Ben Morgan made it 5-2.
A couple of minutes later and Morgan was then given his marching orders for a high stick against Carr, and from the resulting powerplay the captain made the home team pat with his second goal of the game at 45mins 18secs.
At 6-2 all Lightning had to do was hold on until the final buzzer. However, Sheffield had other ideas and, incredibly, they were able to strike four unanswered goals in the last six minutes to send the game into overtime.
Lubomir Korhon set up Greg Wood to cut the deficit to three at 54mins 3secs and just 62secs later Lee Haywood converted Korhon’s set up to suddenly make the score look not so comfortable.
Worse was to come with Wood on target again after 58mins 36secs before Sedlar was withdrawn in favour of the extra skater and Korhon grabbed the equaliser with 21secs of regulation time left.
But Emersic put an end to the Steeldogs’ momentum a minute into the extra period with the goal that eventually confirmed a much needed 7-6 victory for Lightning.
Games between Lightning and Guildford are usually high skill, high intensity affairs.
However, with both teams missing some regular players, Saturday’s game at Coventry Skydome was a subdued affair with only the six minutes of penalties in total handed out for both sides.
Jordan Hedley, Jordan Cownie and Ben Russell were again on Great Britain U20 duty while Lewis Christie and Connor Goode were injured. In their place were Coventry Blaze English National League players Adz Andrews and Josh Nicklin, as well as Paul Gore and Mark Woolf.
The visitors opened the scoring at 3mins 58secs when Tom Duggan supplied Andrew Hemmings to find the net.
Lightning equalised after 9mins 42secs with a move started by Gore who fired the puck up ice behind the goal where Lascek took control and then fed Carr in front of the net. His first time blast gave goalie Mark Lee no chance.
Milos Melicherik incurred the first penalty of the match when he was caught hooking 3mins 15secs into the second period. Lightning were unable to make anything of having the extra man, however.
Lightning were guilty of some slack marking on the move which led to Guildford’s second goal on 33mins 29secs – David Longstaff on the left wing was provider for player coach Paul Dixon who dashed forward to beat netminder Stephen Wall.
There was a quick response from the home side with man of the match Andrews turning provider for Lascek to score close range at 35mins 49secs.
Both teams required a sharp intake of gas to raise their game if they were going to get a grip on things in the third period. And in the end it was the Flames who seized on a powerplay chance when Tom Carlon was penalised for hooking.
It took the visitors just 40 seconds to make the most of it as Dixon fired home inside the blue line on 46mins 45secs.
This time Lightning had no answer and the match slipped further away from them with a goal from Longstaff at 52mins 37secs to make it 4-2.