MK Lightning thumped Swindon Wildcats 10-2 in their biggest win since 2009 as they enjoyed a rare four-point weekend with a 3-1 victory over Peterborough Phantoms the following day.
Saturday’s success was the first time Lightning had hit double figures since they beat Romford Raiders 12-1 on October 31, 2009 – the Essex club’s final season in the English Premier League.
It gave Lightning a fifth win in the six encounters with Wildcats this year, while the Phantoms result squared the series at three each.
Wildcats were depleted by injuries – most notably missing import defenceman Jan Melichar, Brit defenceman Shane Moore and Brit forward Lee Richardson - but the city side showed no mercy, despite slipping a goal behind after 2mins 29secs.
Slack defensive work allowed Ryan Aldridge to set up Loris Taylor to score. But Lightning were level on 9mins 20secs when man of the match Janne Jokila went round the net to find gap beyond goalie Tom Murdy.
Dogged determination allowed Adam Carr, from Kamil Tvrdek, to scramble the puck in on the powerplay after 19mins 9secs – giving the home side a 2-1 lead at the break.
A further powerplay goal after 23mins 9secs – a blue line blast from Nick Chinn which Murdy probably didn’t see until it was too late – met a quick reply as another defensive lapse allowed Sam Bullas to net at 24mins 38secs.
But from then on Lightning took a grip on the game, with the result that Murdy was caught out again on 34mins 22secs when Tvrdek swiftly fired in Adam Brittle’s back pass and then a great first time shot from Grant McPherson made it 5-2.
By this stage some of Lightning’s play was to get out of their own half of the ice. Jokila’s silky skills ultimately led to another five goals for Lightning in the final period – having assists on all of them to take his match tally to one plus six.
The first of those signalled the start of a third session hat-trick for Blaz Emersic after 45mins 47secs before the Finn was the principal provider for Leigh Jamieson on 48mins 5secs.
Jokila then made the pass for Emersic’s second on 50mins 44secs and had a hand in the Slovenian’s third after 54mins 49secs.
By now the home crowd were demanding ten goals and they got their wish when Michael Farn set up Carr after 57mins 55secs – inevitably it was Jokila who got the other assist.
It took Lightning just 1min 31secs to find the net at Bretton the following day when Lewis Christie supplied Adam Brittle to beat goalie Damien King.
Phantoms had a powerplay chance when McPherson was penalised for hooking, but they were unable to capitalise – much to their cost when Jamieson added a second goal after 13mins 30secs.
Peterborough then had six successive powerplay opportunities – two in the first and four in the second session – but Lightning were able to maintain a 2-0 lead until the third period.
The closest Phantoms got to scoring was when they had a ‘goal’ disallowed for having a man in the crease at the tail end of the opening session.
It was not until Robert Ferrara supplied Maris Ziedins on 44mins 53secs that the superb goalie Alex Mettam was beaten for the only time in the game.
Lightning were outshot in all three periods as Phantoms tried to pile on the pressure, but the visitors held on and when King was withdrawn for the extra skater in the dying moments Tvrdek said thank you very much to secure the points with an empty net goal 20 seconds from the buzzer.
Lightning’s chances of catching Manchester Phoenix for third place in the table remain slim with only three league games remaining – two of those are against second placed Basingstoke Bison this weekend. Bison are hosts on Saturday, with return game in MK at 5.30pm on Sunday.