Lightning taste double defeat

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Lightning’s recent run of improved results hit a blip at the weekend when they suffered double defeats to Basingstoke Bison and Swindon Wildcats.

On Saturday they trailed by three goals before staging a third period fight back but failed to get the match tying goal in a 3-2 loss.

The following day at MK Arena the team trailed by two goals at the end of the first period but hit back to level the scores late in the game - only to lose out in a penalty shoot-out.

At Bison the city team were without the injured Ross Bowers and Jordan Cownie, plus the suspended Chris Wiggins.

In a fairly even first session Lightning survived a short-handed spell when Stan Lascek was called for high sticks after four minutes.

Blaz Emersic was sin binned for hooking on 18mins 34secs and on the powerplay Bison were able to break through with Tomas Karpov the supplier for Joe Greener 19 seconds later.

Lightning could find no way through when Bison player coach Doug Sheppard was called for tripping on 23mins 34secs. And it was to prove costly as, back at full strength, the hosts added to their tally through Grant Rounding, assisted by Karpov and Michael Wales on 26mins 15secs.

Shortly before the second interval at 36mins 21secs Karpov made it 3-0 and Lightning had a mountain to climb in the final period.

However they got the start they were looking for while on the powerplay when Connor Goode and Leigh Jamieson were involved in the move which saw Emersic net at 42mins 2secs for a powerplay strike.

A further penalty on Bison - Ciaran Long penalised for holding the opponent’s stick at 52mins 16secs - presented Lightning with the chance of a second goal. Once more man of the match Emersic was the scorer with Michael Farn and Grant McPherson supplying at 53mins 57secs.

With 32 seconds remaining Hedley was withdrawn for the extra skater but Bison held firm for a 3-2 win.

The next day Lightning were second best in the opening period against Swindon as they mainly failed to get all but long range shots on goalie Steve Lyle.

Wildcats opened their account when Ross Green was sin binned for hooking on 6mins 35secs. Aaron Nell on the blue line fired in on goal only for netminder Stephen Wall to have no chance when Adam Harding redirected the puck past him at 7mins 32secs.

There was a great chance though when the returning Cownie fed Emersic crashing in on goal only to be thwarted by Lyle just after midway stage of the session.

Wall had to be at his best to stop Nell in the 13th minute but he was unable to stop the Swindon forward from setting up the next goal for the visitors a couple of minutes later.

Nell battled his way through with Wall blocking his effort only for the puck to run loose to Ollie Betteridge who had the simplest of tap-ins on 15mins 38secs.

From then on Lightning had their work cut out to break down Wildcats’ stubborn defence and they were unable to find a way past Lyle in the second session despite outshooting the opponents 19-10.

The hosts stepped up the pressure in the third period with a change of lines as Jamieson was switched to partnering Milan Kostourek and Adam Carr.

The switch around worked almost immediately with Kostourek supplying Carr at the left pipe to rifle in at 44mins 42secs - Jamieson getting the further assist.

Lewis Hook had the puck in the net a few minutes later but the ‘goal’ was washed out, referee, Dan Boardman, having already blown his whistle for offside.

With just over a minute to go Lightning, on the powerplay, withdrew goalie Stephen Wall for the extra skater, and quickly made it pay. Just 59.4 seconds of regulation time remained when Carr set up Lascek for the equaliser.

That sent the game into an overtime period which produced no further goals so it was down to a penalty shoot-out from which Wildcats claimed maximum points as Nell made only the successful conversion.