Poole calling for Lightning return to form

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IT TOOK a third period goal blitz for Lightning to eventually earn a 6-1 victory over Telford Tigers for Lightning at Planet Ice on Sunday, and coach Nice Poole wants his side to return to the form they showed early in the season.

Until then it was anybody’s game with Tigers still posing a serious threat even though they found themselves under increasing Lightning pressure.

However, 24 hours earlier it was a different story as the city side went into the third session at Sheffield Steeldogs 4-1 down and unable to make any real impression with no more goals as the hosts claimed the points.

Lightning will have the chance for quick revenge over Steeldogs when they visit Milton Keynes on Saturday, face off 7pm, with the game also counting for points in the English Premier League Cup table.

The following day Lightning will be looking to beat bitter rivals Peterborough Phantoms in Cambridgeshire. Again they will be seeking to avenge a loss having done down 4-1 at home last month. Then on Wednesday they host Basingstoke Bison at 7.45pm.

Tigers stunned Lightning with an early goal on Sunday as goalie Alex Mettam was caught defending the wrong side of his net as Ryan Selwood passed from behind for Josh Bruce to fire in after 2mins 7secs.

There was a quick response from Lightning though – again a goalkeeping mistake was responsible for the goal with Blaz Emersic appearing from behind the net to find a gap to Declan Ryan’s right.

The rest of the first session was low key by comparison and indeed it was not until mid way through the second that Lightning began to gradually step up the pace.

The reward came when Leigh Jamieson powered in on the net with Juraj Gracik getting the final touch to make it 2-1 on 31mins 48secs.

And from then on Lightning became increasingly dominant, although it took until 48mins 51secs before they put clear distance between themselves and the opposition.

Emersic passed across the face of goal for Jamieson who had time and space to pick his spot high in the goal for 3-1.

Emersic then got his second of the night when he took hold of the loose puck and shot into the goal and to the left of Ryan after 51mins 8secs for 4-1 and Jamieson then made it five on 54mins 2secs, winning the puck on the right and firing a powerblast home.

Matt Towalski then rounded off proceedings with the sixth goal 1min 4secs from the end.

At iceSheffield on Saturday, Lightning were chasing the game from the moment that Janis Ozolins put Steeldogs ahead on 14mins 44secs from an Andre Payette set up.

The Lightning powerplay unit was unable to come up with the goods when Pavel Gomeniuk was penalised for hooking in the 15th minute and the city side trailed 1-0 at the first break.

Gracik was the supplier for Jamieson to square the game after 30mins 2secs, but that proved a false dawn with Greg Wood hitting back for Steeldogs just 47 seconds later.

Worse was to come as a poor pass by Nick Poole was seized on by Edgars Bebris to take the score to 3-1 1min 2secs later,

Gomeniuk was then provider for Bebris who struck again 80 seconds from the end of the middle session.

Lightning had their chances to fight back in the third session with a trio of powerplay chances as first Craig Elliot and then Gomeniuk, twice, were sin binned – all for tripping.

But, as on so many occasions recently, Lightning’s powerplay lines failed to make much of an impression and Sheffield closed out the game with ease.

All that means Lightning go into their weekend matches sat fifth in the English Premier League table but they do have at least two games in hand on all the sides above them.

And player/coach Poole says he wants his side to get back to their early season form which saw them top the table for a couple of weeks.

“We had fantastic momentum early in the season and nobody’s more disappointed than us that one or two results haven’t been what we’ve wanted since then,” he said.

“But on Saturday we’ll have home advantage and we intend to use it. By beating Telford 6-1 on Sunday we showed that we can get straight back to winning – and now we want to regain the momentum we had at the start of the season and take a place in the cup semi finals.

“This is a huge weekend for us – our fans have been fantastic and it would be awesome to have a big crowd in backing us on Saturday night. We hear the noise they make even from the dressing room and it really gets us charged up. And we’d love to see and hear our supporters in Peterborough on Sunday.”

>> MK Thunder endured one of their toughest weekends of the season when they took on perennial Division One South League title contenders Invicta Dynamos and current league leaders Chelmsford Chieftains.

Gillingham based Invicta were the visitors on Saturday as the two sides met for the first time this season. And Thunder made a strong start against their Kent rivals as Maros Stefanco’s goal drew them level after the away side opened the scoring.

But four goals in five minutes saw Dynamos pull away to lead 8-1 by the time Connor Goode, Tom Mboya and Jamie Randall restored some Thunder pride. However, the visitors would end up having the final say as they netted two more to seal a 10-4 success.

And Sunday’s game away to Chieftains proved just as tough as Thunder crashed 9-2. Joe Edwards had given the visitors an early lead, but it was game over by the time that Harrison Goode got their second.