Lightning strike twice

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LIGHTNING enjoyed their first four point weekend of the season to go fourth in the English Premier League after victories against Telford Tigers and Slough Jets.

And Sunday’s win over the Jets would have put a smile on coach Nick Poole’s face – the Berkshire side proved to be something of a bogey side for Lightning last year, but the visitors looked on top form away with a 3-1 victory.

The previous night saw them take a 3-0 win over Telford at the Planet Ice. Lightning took the lead against Telford on Saturday when Poole went up the right flank and made a precision pass to Adam Carr in centre ice. His first time shot gave goalie Declan Ryan no chance after 9m 21s.

Tigers were the brighter team in the second period with Marek Hornak forcing on form goalie Alex Mettam into a great save after 25 minutes. The same player threatened again a few minutes later but the power was taken out of his shot when his stick broke.

And it was against the run of play when Lightning extended their lead with Emersic putting Gracik away in space up the right dummying the keeper and putting the puck away after 33m 51s.

Tempers boiled over between Leigh Jamieson and Andy McKinney in the final minute of the session and they both earned four minutes in the penalty box for roughing.

Telford’s fate was sealed three seconds after they took off Ryan for the extra skater – Poole setting up Jamieson for an empty net goal on 59m 28s.

The win over Jets was particularly sweet as they proved to be the team’s bogey side last year, failing to take a single point from the Berkshire outfit.

This time though Lightning took an early lead and they refused to let go of it – nailing the game with a late empty net goal for a 3-1 win.

At Slough, Emersic was first to strike against his old club when he was assisted by Gracik in the opening goal after 5m 49s.

That was the only goal of the first period with the visitors not doubling their lead until the third period. It was Jamieson who supplied Gracik to make it 2-0 after 44m 14s. Jets response was quick however when Dan Davies replied just 26s later.

That was as good as it got for them though and in a last ditch bid to get an equaliser they took off goalie Gregg Rockman for the extra skater in the final minute – only for Lukas Zatopek to score the third for Lightning on an empty net at 59m 33s.

This Saturday, Lightning host a Bracknell Bees team who are a much improved squad from that which finished bottom of the table. Face off is at 7pm. On Sunday they go to Telford for a 5.30pm face off.

Player coach Nick Poole is not underestimating the threat of both Bees and Tigers.

He said: “It’ll be a different league this season – there have been some interesting changes for a lot of teams over the summer and particularly so for Bracknell, signing some top class players.

“They’ll be a different prospect to play against than they were last season, and we’ll have to be on top of our game.”