Magnificent seven for Lightning humbles leaders

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Lightning stunned English Premier League leaders Manchester Phoenix with a 7-2 hammering at Coventry Skydome on Monday.

The win saw Lightning return to winning ways at the Skydome after a shock defeat to Sheffield Steeldogs, going down 5-4 two days earlier.

The did however take a well-earned 5-3 victory over Peterborough Phantoms on Boxing Day, ensuring they begin 2014 in fourth place.

Monday night’s win was the second biggest loss of the campaign for Phoenix.

Yet at the half way stage it looked as though it be Manchester who would take the points.

They were holding onto an 11th minute lead and looked the more likely of the two sides to score again.

Then suddenly two goals in 38 seconds in the last minute of the second period shifted the momentum towards Lightning who then went on to take control of the encounter in the final 20 minutes.

Former Lightning favourite, Adam Brittle, now playing for Blackburn Hawks in the English National League, made a surprise return to the line up.

Brittle who spent several seasons with Lightning returned on a temporary basis while Hawks were taking a mid-season break and helped fill the void left by the injured Connor Goode, Grant McPherson and Lewis Christie.

Brittle took McPherson’s slot on the third line and immediately looked at home with some useful contributions, the best of which was a close range shot which tested goalie Stephen Fone.

Manchester had Jaroslav Cesky - sacked by Peterborough Phantoms a couple of weeks ago - in their line up as cover for the injured Frantisek Bakrlik.

It was Manchester who went in front on 11mins 45secs when Andy McKinney fired in a shot from the right hand side.

Goalie Stephen Wall made the block but couldn’t keep hold of the puck and Robin Kovar, following up, was able to finish off.

The only powerplay of the session fell to Lightning when Richard Bentham was caught slashing Adam Carr just as he was about to shoot in the 16th minute.

But apart from a Michael Farn effort which hit the outside of the left pipe, the hosts were unable to get a decent shot on goal.

Wall was called into action in the first minute of the second session when he did well to stop a James Archer attempt and Manchester threatened again in the 23rd minute when Cesky fed Kovar from the left hand side - Lukas Zatopek tripping him as he was about to take his shot.

That meant Lightning were reduced to four skaters for two minutes but the nearest Phoenix came to scoring was when Luke Boothroyd almost had the puck in the net at the right pipe - Wall snuffing out the danger.

As the period went on the hosts were making little head way and Manchester looked the more menacing of the sides - creating at least three chances which were all stopped by Wall.

The big change came when Blaz Emersic put Tom Carlon away up the left - going one on one with Fone he seemed to hesitate slightly before planting the puck in the back of the goal at 39mins 16secs.

Six seconds before the break Fone was picking the puck out of the net again after Stan Lascek fired in a rocket blast from distance.

Things decidedly swung Lightning’s way after the restart - Robert Scnabel was sent to the sin bin for roughing and that allowed Leigh Jamieson to register on the powerplay at 43mins 48secs, following up a blocked Jordan Cownie effort.

Less than two minutes later it was 4-1 with Janne Jokila getting the goal on 45mins 6secs.

The same player was on the mark again at 49mins 12secs following some great play by Cownie to set him up.

If Manchester thought things couldn’t get any worse then they were wrong.

Carr’s behind the net pass was converted by Lascek at 54mins 24secs before the visitors got their second of the night as Ben Wood beat Wall on 56mins.

But that goal was negated when Jamieson found Carr from behind the goal - the captain making it 7-2 with five seconds to final buzzer.