Lightning’s run ended by Dogs

Pic: Jez Tibbetts
Pic: Jez Tibbetts

Lightning’s five game winning streak came to an end at Coventry Skydome on Saturday when they were defeated 4-2 by Sheffield Steeldogs.

However Nick Poole’s men quickly put that loss behind them when they travelled to Shropshire the following night and saw off Telford Tigers by a 6-2 margin.

Steeldogs claimed victory thanks to a goal just over seven minutes from the end of the game and then hit an empty net strike within the final minute.

Until then Lightning looked in with a chance of extending their undefeated run showing some of their best passing movement and form of the season so far.

There was no panic when Sheffield took the lead after just 1min 32secs when Ashley Calvert redirected a Lee Haywood blue line slapshot into the net - Lightning have made a habit of giving the opposition a head start in recent games, only to go on to win.

And it seemed that could be the case this time as Adam Carr supplied Stan Lascek for an impressive goal – the Slovakian lifting the puck over goalie Zack Brown.

Games between Lightning and Steeldogs after often physical affairs and this was no exception with Grant McPherson and Craig Elliott doing battle just before Lightning’s equaliser. Both received a total of four minutes for roughing.

A further dust up in the 12th minute saw Tom Carlon and Haywood go at it – the Milton Keynes man the clear winner in the battle but the loser in penalty terms. He was put in the sin bin for six minutes while his protagonist received two minutes less.

Steeldogs were back in front after 13mins 38secs when man of the match Lubomir Korhon made a great pass to Andrew Hirst who put the finishing touch at the far post.

It took the hosts just over a minute to level the tallies – this time Blaz Emersic won a face off to the right of the opposition goal and he found Leigh Jamieson whose rocket shot gave Brown no chance on 14mins 57secs.

During the second period the most amusing moment for Lightning fans was seeing Lascek dance round Andre Payette who was attempting to block him. The veteran had neither the agility nor speed to catch Lascek who then fed Carr – unfortunately he could not get the right touch on the puck.

As Sheffield tried to turn up the pressure goalie Stephen Wall had to be at his best to thwart Calvert and Korhon, the latter twice in quick succession.

The period ended with Jamieson boarding Payette almost in front of the Lightning bench. That meant the home side started the third session with a man short – despite that they survived the penalty.

It was a too many men on the ice call that gave Sheffield the chance to get the go ahead goal with the extra man. This time Hirst was the supplier for Korhon to score – Wall got a touch but could not stop the puck from trickling over the line on 52mins 55secs. Emersic tried to recover the puck but referee, Johnny Liptrott rightly ruled it was over the line.

With 1min 59secs remaining Steve Duncombe was penalised for interference. MK called an immediate timeout and withdrew Wall for the extra skater to give them a six on four advantage.

Unfortunately the move backfired when goalie Brown was able to clear the puck to Haywood who shot almost the whole length of the ice to seal a 4-2 win for Steeldogs.

On Sunday five goals in the opening period got the game at Telford Tigers off to a rip roaring start – Lightning holding the advantage at the interval.

Jokila put the city side ahead after 14mins 10secs only for Michal Pavlu to equalise on the powerplay 31secs later.

Lightning were back in front just over a minute later when Lascek found a way to goal but once more the lead was given up with Scott McKenzie striking for the hosts at 16mins 59secs.

However Jamieson set up Emersic – standing in as captain for the injured Carr – for a goal just eight seconds from the break.

And it was Jamieson, supplied by Jokila, who extended the lead to two goals at 23mins 28secs and that’s the way it stayed until the second interval – Tigers successfully defending the only penalty of the session when Mikusovic was penalised for tripping.

The visitors had a five minute spell with the extra man early in the third period after Tigers’ player coach Tom Watkins was thrown out for an accidental high stick on Farn which drew blood.

Lightning didn’t waste the opportunity as Carlon struck after 46mins 50secs.

Tigers were already defeated when Connor Goode added Lightning’s sixth goal just to make sure – assisted by Jordan Cownie and Ross Bowers – on 56mins 35secs.