MK LIGHTNING put the memory of two recent defeats to Telford Tigers behind them with a 3-1 victory in Shropshire on Sunday.
In a game Lightning bossed for much of the time, there was only likely to be one winner as Telford were restricted to a total of 17 shots on goalie Stephen Wall.
However, Lightning could not re-stage the 8-2 drubbing they enjoyed over Manchester Phoenix on the opening night of the English Premier League campaign – Tony Hand’s outfit winning 4-1 at Planet Ice on Saturday.
Lightning got the only goal of the opening period at Telford when Tigers’ player coach Tom Watkins was sitting out a tripping penalty – Kamil Tvrdek starting the move which saw Lukas Zatopek unleash a blue line blast with Nick Chinn redirecting it past goalie Declan Ryan for a powerplay goal on 17mins.
Leigh Jamieson supplied Blaz Emersic for a shot that went low to the goalie’s blocker side to make it 2-0 6mins 22secs into the second period, only for Telford to respond 67secs later with their one goal of the night – Jaroslav Kruzik the provider for Marcus Maynard to beat Wall.
The two-goal gap was restored after 32mins 13secs when Jamieson netted unassisted after his shot hit the post and came out to rebound into the goal off Telford defenceman Dan Croft.
In a largely incident free third period, Lightning were unable to make anything of a 44th minute powerplay and they survived a five-on-three spell shorthanded with Emersic and Zatopek in the sin bin for a high stick and interference late in the game.
It was a different story the previous day when Lightning fell behind to two Manchester goals in the first three minutes and never really looked like recovering.
They did respond with their only goal on 8mins 36secs, but Manchester were good value for their win from then on and the hosts looked less likely to register as the game came to an end.
Goalie Alex Mettam was beaten on 1min 25secs as Michal Psurny turned a pass from the left by Joachim Flaten high into the net.
Stunned by that the hosts were rocked again on 2mins 29secs after Mettam blocked but was unable to hold a Scott McKenzie shot. Former MK player James Archer followed up to put in on 2mins 29secs.
Emersic had a shot deflected wide by goalie Stephen Fone a minute or so later, before a well placed pass from Tvrdek, beyond the goal line, to Jamieson cut the arrears on 8mins 36secs.
Nick Poole was not quite quick enough to fire in an Adam Brittle pass in the 16th minute, and a couple of minutes later Adam Carr was unlucky in a goalmouth scramble.
Jamieson was penalised within 26 seconds of the start of the middle period. His protests then led to an extra 10 minutes in the sin bin for misconduct from referee Roman Szucs.
Lightning managed to defend the resulting powerplay, but they could not stop Archer firing home at second attempt on 23mins 37secs.
The best Lightning could offer on the powerplay, while Ondrej Pozivil was sitting out an interference penalty, was a Carr blue line effort which was blocked by the goalie.
Midway through the period both Tvrdek and Brittle went close while Lightning ended the period with a five-on-three advantage as Andy McKinney tripped Brittle and then Tom Duggan was given two minutes for slashing.
The penalties spilled over into the third session and even though Lightning had a further five-on-three powerplay chance, with Robert Schnabel being penalised within six seconds of the restart, the powerplay lines remained ineffective.
In the final 10 minutes Jamieson broke from the defensive zone and went all the way, but saw his shot blocked. And a couple of minutes later a Brittle effort hit the bar with Fone beaten.
Emersic then sent Tvrdek away only for his blast to be saved by the goalie. With 1min 20secs remaining Lightning called a timeout, but the move backfired when Flaten was able to thread the puck to Psurny to race clear and score the easiest of empty net goals 19 seconds from the buzzer.
The weekend’s win and defeat sees Lightning drop one place to fourth in the table, with two struggling sides in the shape of Sheffield Steeldogs and Bracknell Bees next on the agenda.