Lightning stun champions Telford

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Lightning became only the second team this season to put six goals past Telford Tigers as they stunned the league champions at MK Arena on Saturday.

Not since Manchester Phoenix beat Tigers 6-5 after a penalty shoot out in November had the Shropshire outfit conceded as many goals.

Milan Kostourek led the charge with a hat trick as Lightning closed the gap on sixth placed Manchester who lost 4-3 at Guildford Flames.

But the city side - as so often has been the norm this season - could not follow it up with a win on the road, leaving Basingstoke with a 6-4 defeat on Sunday. With Manchester beating Bracknell on Sunday, Lightning ended the weekend still three points behind Phoenix.

Against Tigers few fans could believe the scoreline at the end of the first period which saw Lightning 3-0 ahead despite being outshot 16-6 - by the end of the game that shots deficit grew to 55-23.

But Telford’s strength in depth counted for nothing against an injury ravaged Lightning with only 15 fit players - including two netminders. Curtis Huppe dressed for the first period but did not ice while Lewis Christie and Grant McPherson were also sidelined with injuries.

Lewis Hook opened Lightning’s account when he unleashed a long blast high to the right of goalie Sam Gospel after 8mins 24secs.

Leigh Jamieson set up Kostourek for goal number two after 17mins 4secs.

While Tigers were still reeling Kostourek - again supplied by Jamieson - banged home his second goal just 24 seconds later. That prompted a time out by Tigers but it failed to make a difference.

Tigers started the second period the brighter side - scoring through Joe Miller at 21mins 42secs and the big fight back looked to be on. But Lightning had other ideas and Ben Russell sent Jordan Cownie away to supply Hook on 23mins 23secs.

Just over two minutes later Petr Horava put Kostourek away to defeat Gospel for the final time at 23mins 56secs - the goalie being replaced by Tom Murdy immediately afterwards.

Peter Szabo hit a rocket shot which gave Wall little chance on 25mins 28secs before Kostourek returned the compliment for Jamieson to score on 31mins 33secs.

That was last goal of the period which ended with Lightning 6-2 ahead.

Tigers unleashed a barrage of shots in the third period, outshooting Lightning 22-5 with Wall performing heroics.

The only goal came on the powerplay after Kostourek was penalised for hooking. Tigers’ man of the match Szabo bagged the final goal for his side on 55mins 6secs.

Four Bison goals in the opening quarter of an hour proved to be Lightning’s undoing the next day.

Cownie was sidelined to add to the absence of McPherson but Christie returned while Huppe dressed but played virtually no part in the game.

There was an early scare for the visitors when Kostourek had to come off the ice after clashing with Ciaran Long - fortunately he was able to resume play.

Bison’s opener came on 4mins 47secs when Long was provider for Joe Greener to beat goalie Jordan Hedley.

Aaron Connolly doubled the hosts’ advantage with a Ryan Watt assisted goal after 6mins 53secs.

The same pair - in the same order - made it 3-0 on 11mins 37secs, prompting a Lightning time out.

That didn’t stop the home side from adding a fourth strike through Greener at 14mins 56secs before Lightning got a goal back when Ross Bowers set up Lewis Hook after 16mins 22secs.

In the second session the main action centred on a clash between Chris Wiggins and Miroslav Vantroba which ended with both consigned to the sin bin before Jamieson and Watt went at it. The Lightning man was called for kneeing and his opponent went for roughing.

Kostourek gave Lightning hope with an early goal in the third session - scored at 43mins 4secs.

Wiggins then took on Michael Wales - the MK player the winner with his opponent given an extra two minutes for instigating the fight.

However it worked to Lightning’s detriment with Long getting Bison’s fifth goal short handed on 44mins 41secs.

Hook gave the travellers hope when he bagged his second goal at 53mins 20secs.

Lightning then drew within a goal of Bison after Stuart Mogg was penalised for hooking - Hook completing his hat trick on the powerplay, assisted by Jamieson and Michael Farn at 56mins 24secs.

But Bison closed out the game with 1min 35secs left - Nick Chinn making it 6-4.