Overtime winner rescues Lightning’s weekend

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Finn Marko Luomala ensured MK Lightning’s weekend ended on a high with the game winning shot after overtime to seal a 4-3 victory at Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday.

It followed the disappointment of a 3-1 loss at Basingstoke Bison the previous day and a poor start for the city outfit which saw them 3-1 behind at the first break against Steeldogs.

Lightning eventually drew level 2mins 38secs into the third period thanks to Jordan Cownie. There were no further goals in regulation or overtime, thus requiring MK’s first shootout of the season.

It took six shots before either goalie was beaten by Luomala in the shootout with Lightning netminder Dean Skinns then denying Andrew Hirst to seal the win.

Skinns was making his first start for Lightning since being withdrawn in the earlier 5-4 defeat by Steeldogs.

Lightning began the game without key players Markku Tahtinen with a dead leg and Bobby Chamberlain as well Luc Johnson.

Steeldogs opened the scoring through a Tom Squires powerplay goal on 1min 56secs just eight seconds after Rene Jarolin was sin binned for slashing.

The visitors equalised on 10mins 40secs when Jarolin made the pass for Luomala to defeat netminder Dalibor Sedlar. But less than three minutes later the home team were back in front - Ashley Calvert converting on 13mins 28secs.

The situation got even worse for Pete Russell’s men 47 seconds later as Arnoldas Bosas set up Squires to send the puck beyond Skinns.

Luomala’s efforts to make a swift reply seconds later with a wraparound attempt came to nothing.

When Steeldogs’ Craig Elliott was given two minutes for tripping Jordan Cownie and Lewis Hook had a hand in Blaz Emersic’s powerplay strike 2mins 52secs into the middle stanza.

Steeldogs were reduced to three skaters midway through the session as Hirst and Steve Duncombe were penalised but Lightning failed to score.

Cownie however eventually snatched equaliser on 42mins 38secs. with assists going to Hook and Emersic.

Luomala and Jarolin went close as regulation time ended with the teams all square -

Luomala though had the last word with that game winning shot after overtime.

Both netminders – Jordan Marr for Lightning and Tomas Hiadlovsky for Bison – earned the man of the match awards in Basingstoke’s -1 win 24 hours earlier.

MK got the scoring underway when Tahtinen was provider for James Griffin to register on 3mins 42secs Stuart Mogg made it 1-1 after 13mins 16secs.

Bison’s Ciaran Long was sin binned with 1min 21secs of the first period remaining time for delaying the game. That did not stop the home outfit from adding their second goal, shorthanded, through Joe Rand at 19mins 27secs.

MK called a timeout when they were presented with a five on three powerplay chance with both Alan Lack (tripping) and Joe Baird (slashing) both in the penalty box but it came to nothing as the second session ended in the same score as the first, 2-1 to Bison.

The hosts tried to step up the pressure early in the third with Marr called on to make two fine saves ahead of Cownie’s effort at the other end.

Bison survived a delaying the game penalty on Kurt Reynolds in the 45th minute and were soon back on the offensive after his return to the ice – Marr denying them a third goal.

Although the home side failed to make the most of a tripping call on Leigh Jamieson they did eventually add to their tally when Thompson and Tomas Karpov combined to supply Reynolds to make it 3-1 after 53mins 26secs.

Hiadlovsky made a great stop from Luomala in the 55th minute, just before the visitor’s hopes of narrowing the gap were effectively ended by a slashing penalty dished out to David Clements.

The defeat followed Lightning’s 6-4 midweek success over Manchester Phoenix at MK Arena – a scoreline which failed to do justice to the home side’s dominance.

Captain Adam Carr put MK 2-0 in front with two quick first period goals before Cownie and Hook extended the advantage to four in the second session.