Lightning slip up at home to Steeldogs

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Lightning will go into the New Year in fourth spot in the table despite tasting a disappointing 5-4 defeat at the hands of Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday at Coventry Skydome.

It followed a well earned 5-3 victory at old rivals Peterborough Phantoms on Boxing Day.

What made the loss against Steeldogs hard for home fans to take was that it was a game that Lightning could have and should have won.

And had it not been for some dubious refereeing decisions the city outfit may well have taken both points.

Ultimately it was one of two defensive errors that allowed the visitors to wrap up the win with 2mins 47secs remaining.

Sheffield took the lead after 7mins 15secs when Lee Haywood put Lubimor Korhon away to score from close range.

Just over three minutes later Lightning were level when Michael Farn supplied Stan Lascek – the Slovakian looked ready to make a pass but instead unleashed a rocket shot from the blue line that hit the net on 10mins 16secs.

Seconds later Lightning appeared to have taken the lead when Janne Jokila turned in the puck at the far post – however the goal was washed out with goalie Dalibor Sedlar having removed the net from its moorings.

It was an occurrence which Sedlar repeated as the game went on – without being penalised.

The hosts did eventually go in front 4mins 45secs into the second session when Lascek was on the mark again – only for Steeldogs to come back with a leveller on 30mins 29secs as Korhon set up Andrew Hirst.

Shortly after Lewis Bell was sin binned for interference, giving Lightning a powerplay. However the home side were caught out when Lloyd Gibson intercepted a pass and beat goalie Jordan Hedley one on one for a short handed goal at 31mins 1secs.

Lightning did at least make amends by equalising on the same powerplay as Jokila was provider for Tom Carlon at 31mins 17secs.

After Sedlar thwarted another Lightning onslaught by pushing his net off the moorings without any penalty, Jokila questioned the lack of a call with the officials – and promptly picked up 10 minutes in the sin bin for misconduct.

Steeldogs had the last say in the second session with Greg Chambers capitalising on a high stick penalty on Lascek – netting at 37mins 23secs.

Lightning squared things up with a Blaz Emersic powerplay goal from the blue line after 48mins 31secs only for Steeldogs to snatch victory with Steve Duncombe’s goal as Lightning left Hedley exposed once again.

At Peterborough Phantoms the home team’s recent team changes proved to be of no avail with Lightning recording their fourth win against them this term.

But Lightning had to come back from a two goal first period deficit to take the points.

Erik Piatak got the first goal for Phantoms after 4mins 43secs before Jokila was sin binned for elbows.

Phantoms’ powerplay swiftly capitalised with Marc Levers setting up James Ferrara at 6mins 6secs.

Lightning hit back as Tom Carlon passed for Jokila to beat goalie Damien King after 14mins 36secs.

Just 3mins 20secs into the middle period Jokila set up Lascek to equalise while Lightning were on the powerplay – Declan Balmer sin binned for holding.

The visitors went in front for the first time when Ross Bowers was sent away by Jordan Cownie after 28mins 38secs.

A couple of minutes later Phantoms player coach Slava Koulikov was ejected for a high stick offence which drew blood.

Lightning extended their lead at 38mins 54secs with a second Lascek strike – once more Cownie providing the pass.

Phantoms were eventually beaten when Carlon got his second assist of the night in supplying Jokila for the goal to make it 5-2 after 49mins 4secs.

There was one last response by Phantoms, however, Lewis Hook scoring at 54mins but it was not enough to alter the result.

Next up for Lightning is a home clash with Manchester Phoenix.