Przemy Odrobny and Bobby Chamberlain were the heroes as MK Lightning bagged a hard earned 3-2 penalty shoot-out victory against Swindon Wildcats at MK Arena on Sunday.
Odrobny’s super show in psyching out Wildcats’ unsuccessful penalty takers – Max Birbraer, Jonas Höög and Jan Kostal – paved the way for Chamberlain to secure the win with his team’s third penalty shot attempt when he smashed the puck into the back of the net.
The Polish netminder was rightly awarded man of the match for his excellent performance.
It followed disappointment at Basingstoke Bison the previous evening when Lightning lost 3-1 – the last goal for the hosts coming 27 seconds from the final buzzer while they were short-handed.
New Finnish import Antti Hölli – brought in to fill the spot occupied by long-term injury victim, Mikolaj Lopuski - made his debut at Bison. He impressed as he gained his first point for the club against Swindon, assisting on MK’s first goal.
When Wildcats' Lee Richardson was called for tripping Lightning found themselves defending instead of attacking and indeed it was Jan Kostal who had the best shot.
The powerplay ended as Frankie Bakrlik was sin binned for elbows, with James Griffin following him into the penalty box for slashing. That eventually gave the visitors a two man advantage from which they took the lead on 7mins 15secs as Jonas Höög shot in from the blue line for Max Birbraer to score with a neat flick up past Odrobny.
The leveller came on a delayed penalty – Wildcats’ Stephen Whitfield assessed a holding call – seconds before Hölli had a hand in Jordan Cownie’s supply to Griffin to blast in from distance at 15mins 51secs.
The home outfit took the lead 3mins 26secs into the middle period with Michael Farn making the pass for Lewis Hook to shoot high over Lyle.
Lightning failed to make anything of a double powerplay when Kyle Smith was given two minutes in the cooler for boarding and Wildcats were dealt an abuse of an official call seconds afterwards.
Having dealt with the short-handed spell Swindon stepped up the pressure on Odrobny’s net and it paid off thanks to Birbraer registering on 38mins 31secs.
With the scores still level at the 60 minute point sudden death overtime followed but failed to separate the two outfits so a penalty shoot-out was necessary.
Odrobny successfully dealt with Wildcats’ first three penalty takers – blocking two of the shots and forcing Birbraer to fire wide of target – allowing Chamberlain to seal the points as scored on MK’s third attempt.
The two goal gap was at Basingstoke on Saturday perhaps unfair on Lightning with the game only settled by former MK forward Rene Jarolin’s short-handed goal on 59mins 33secs.
As has become the norm when Lightning meet Bison the game was a physical affair with the hosts’ Derek Roehl and MK’s Frankie Bakrlik penalised for delay of the game in the seventh minute.
Just over a minute later two more players were sin-binned – one apiece for Bison and Lightning with Aaron Connolly going for charging and James Griffin for slashing.
Bison were first off the mark when Ciaran Long fired home on 14mins 32secs.
Five seconds from the end of the first period Hölli unsuccessfully tested goalie Tomas Hiadlovsky as the period ended 1-0 to Bison.
A high sticks penalty on Roehl gave Lightning their first powerplay on 26mins 9secs.
The visitors didn’t waste the opportunity with Bakrlik and Jordan Cownie having a hand in Milan Baranyk’s equaliser on 27mins 18secs.
It proved to be the only goal of the middle stanza even though there were chances for both combatants.
Bison edged ahead on 41min 35secs when Shaun Thompson beat goalie Przemy Odrobny.
Coach Pete Russell called a time out midway through the session but it proved to be of no avail.
There was a glimmer of hope for the travellers when Kurt Reynolds was handed a 12 minute penalty for a check to the head followed by two minutes for delay of the game for Jan Jarabek in the 55th and 57th minutes. However Lightning’s powerplay was wrecked by Jarolin’s decider.