Penalties eventually cost Milton Keynes Lightning dearly when they went down narrowly at Braehead Clan on Saturday – losing by the odd goal in seven.
It was Lightning’s only game of the weekend – they now have just three more matches before the end of the season.
Lightning spent much of the third period a man short after having four players sin binned in the final quarter of an hour. Having successfully defended the first three penalties they were unable to prevent the Clan from registering the decisive winning goal to make it 4-3 1min 7secs from the buzzer – giving MK virtually no time to respond.
Further penalties followed after the game with netminder Miika Wiikman receiving a game misconduct after being given two minutes for abuse of the officials – Carl Hudson and Paul Phillips also being handed two minutes each for abuse.
Both Hudson and Phillips had been subject of the referee’s wrath in the dying minutes of the game – together with Kyle Essery.
It was a disappointing end to an encounter in which Lightning kept pace with the hosts – opening the scoring on 14 minutes exactly when Tommy Mele was the provider for Denny Kearney who calmly backhanded the puck past netminder Ryan Nie.
But by the first break Braehead were back level with Michal Gutwald’s shot judged to have crossed the goal line after a video review – that earned Wiikman the first of his misconduct penalties.
Within 1mins 32secs of the start of the middle stanza Lightning were back in front, thanks to man of the match Guillaume Doucet who registered from Francis Verreault-Paul’s behind the net pass.
The visitors survived two penalty calls on Kearney for delaying the game and Hudson for holding before conceding an equaliser while even handed as Brit Craig Peacock supplied Jacob Doty on 31mins 34secs.
James Griffin and Gutwald were consigned to the cooler for five minutes for fighting after the latter was adjudged a roughing penalty and the latter a boarding offence.
It made no difference to the scoreline – the next goal going to Braehead on 37mins 44secs when Tyler Shattock supplied Brendan Brooks to make it 3-2.
Once more the leading side could not put clear daylight between them and the opposition as Doucet bagged his second of the night two seconds from next intermission – the assists going to Mele and Verreault-Paul.
When Kearney was sent to the cooler on 45mins 4secs for slashing there was no consequence and neither was there any impact on the tallies as Essery was next to warm the penalty bench after 51mins 53secs for tripping.
No sooner than had he returned to the ice than Phillips replaced him there on an identical offence at 53mins 46secs.
Once more there was no score on the powerplay for Braehead and the game looked to be heading for overtime until Hudson was caught cross checking after 57mins 11secs. This time Lightning were doomed through Peacock’s game winner on 58mins 53secs. There was no time to recover so MK returned home from Scotland empty handed.