LIGHTNING have got their season off to the perfect start by bringing home the Ashes thanks to a 7-4 aggregate win over old rivals Peterborough Phantoms at the weekend.
New boys Tom Norton and Juraj Gracik both made their mark for the city side as they enjoyed a fairly comfortable win to reclaim the Ashes, lost this time last year.
Gracik was named man of the match on Saturday thanks to two goals which helped his team to a 5-1 first leg victory. He was joined the on the scoresheet by Norton, whose shot from the blue line found the back of Peterborough’s net during a three goal blitz in less than six third period minutes.
Michael Wales connected with a Lukas Zatopek piledriver after just 2m 30s to put the home team ahead early on, but Lightning spent much of the first period short-handed, denying the home fans the goal-feast that many hoped for.
In fact it wasn’t until the final 31 seconds of the middle session that they were able to stretch the lead – Gracik getting his first goal on the powerplay to provide one of the few bright spots of the period.
Erik Bochna was the supplier for a James Ferrara goal which gave the visitors brief hope of a comeback when Phantoms had a powerplay at 44m 21s. But Nick Poole’s men hit their stride with Gracik finishing off from Zatopek’s pass at 46m 49s.
Norton then made it 4-1 only 40 seconds later before Leigh Jamieson completed the scoring after bearing down on goalie Damien King on 52m 25s.
Norton was then man of the match as Sunday’s away leg saw Lightning recover from a two goal deficit only to lose to a late, late Peterborough winner courtesy of Maris Ziedins. Not that it mattered overall.
Ferrara scored after 16m 27s, and Eric Bochna doubled the advantage less than two minutes later. A goalless second period was followed by Michael Farn scoring the visitors’ first on 53m 30s, with captain Adam Carr levelling the scores shortly afterwards.
Although Ziedins’ goal for the hosts put a Sunday win out of Lightning’s reach, their hard work on Saturday made the difference and saw the first silverware of the season on its way back to the Thunderdome.