Home record continues for Lightning but Stars overpower them in Scotland
Milton Keynes Lightning maintained their unbeaten home record with a well earned 3-2 home Challenge Cup victory over fellow Elite League new boys Guildford Flames on Saturday.
But their indifferent away form continued on Sunday when Lightning’s first ever trip to Scotland ended in a 5-1 Elite League defeat at Dundee Stars.
Against Flames the hosts had the upper hand for the first half of the game and deservedly led 2-0 at the first break. And for the first 10 minutes of the second session they dominated possession without being able to add to their tally.
It was against the run of play when Flames opened their account on 30mins 34secs through Rhett Rachinski.
Lightning got off to a super start with a rocket of a shot from captain Kevin King putting them in front on the powerplay after only 2mins 54secs while Liam Stewart – son of Rod - was sitting out a two minute interference call.
The powerblast in fact hit the back of the net so fast and rebounded back out off the pipework that many in the MK Arena were unsure whether it had gone in at all. Referee Dean Smith replayed the moment on the goal-line technology screen before awarding the score.
Flames had the chance of a quick response when Lewis Hook was penalised for holding less than a minute later but it was Lightning who had the better opportunities with Ben Foster having a shot on the break saved by netminder Mike Will.
Will was caught out again on 13mins 34secs when Guillaume Doucet unleashed a fierce shot on goal to double MK’s advantage - Carl Hudson and Francis Verreault-Paul having the helpers.
That’s the way the score stayed at the first buzzer – Lightning looking good value for their lead.
Lightning were the side more likely to early in the second period and it was a surprise when Rachinski turned the puck in past goalie Miika Wiikman at 30mins 34secs.
A hooking penalty on Kruise Reddick gave Lightning the chance to extend their lead once more – Verreault-Paul out on the left sent the puck towards goal for Doucet to get the final touch at 33mins 22secs.
Flames then gave themselves some hope going into the third session when Verreault-Paul was caught slashing his opponent with 1min 26secs remaining on the middle stanza – John Dunbar setting up Ian Watters to finish off at 39mins 44secs.
The encounter looked to be set for a high velocity final period. But while Lightning were unable to add to their score they denied Flames the opportunity to draw level. However it made for tense spectating for the MK faithful.
Flames withdrew Will for the final 1min 15secs in order to bring on an extra skater. While MK went close with an unsuccessful shot on the empty net the Surrey side were thwarted in their attempts for a last gasp equaliser as the hosts earned another two cup group points.
Dundee included former Lightning forward Jordan Cownie in their line up on Sunday and led by a single goal at the end of the first period before effectively sealing victory with two goals in as many second period minutes to go 4-1 in front.
The hosts broke the deadlock on 10mins 25secs when Tyler Brickler set up Joey de Concilys to defeat Odrobny.
However the lead was brief as Emerson Hrynyk was sin binned 23 seconds later for tripping and it took Lightning all of 19 seconds to level through King, assisted by Paul Phillips and Denny Kearney.
Brickler edged Stars in front on 18mins 20secs after being left in space to finish off a well worked goal – the move also involving Marc-Olivier Mimar and Taylor Dickin.
The game started to edge away from Lightning on 34mins 8secs while Doucet was in the sin bin for slashing – Stars capitalising with the third goal – a second strike by Brickler, aided by Cownie and Gabriel Lévesque.
Doucet was back in the penalty box early in the 35th minute – together with Stars’ Adam Harding – both for roughing and at four on one four it was the home team who made the most of the extra space on the ice with de Concilys registering his second of the night to give the Scots a 4-1 lead at the break.
Stars scored their fifth after Verreault-Paul was thrown out for fighting in the 56mins 54secs – his opponent, de Concilys escaping punishment. Jimmy Jensen bagged the goal on 57mins 22secs.