NEW recruit Nick Chinn believes MK Lightning’s performance in Sunday’s 2-1 penalty shootout win over Basingstoke Bison was their best of the English Premier League season so far.
Chinn joined Lightning in the summer having spent the previous three years as captain of Basingstoke, and helped his new side produce an extremely stubborn and spirited defensive display to keep out his old team-mates at Planet Ice, just 24-hours after they suffered a 5-0 drubbing in Hampshire.
With Lightning suffering with the absence of Adam Calder and Chris Wiggins at the weekend, Chinn and company had to dig deep to get Nick Poole’s men a result and maintain their unbeaten home record this term.
Adam Brittle snatched victory for Lightning with a penalty shot winner against Bison after the game ended 1-1 – Lukas Zatopek equalising for the hosts following Joe Greener’s early opener.
So Chinn, who was moved from the third line to the second in the Lightning reshuffle, said that beating Bison – who remain top of the table despite losing the game – has given the team a big lift ahead of this weekend’s double-header against Bracknell Bees.
“It was a really good defensive performance,” he said. “It can take teams a while to gel together with so many changes, and we’re still doing that.
“It was easily our best performance of the season so far. OK we scored eight against Manchester, but those goals just flew in without us actually playing that well. On Sunday we performed very well as a team to get the result and it’s given us a great lift.”
At the age of 40, Chinn is the oldest member of the Lightning roster, and one of the most experienced players in British ice hockey, having enjoyed good spells with Slough Jets, Guildford Flames, Sheffield Steelers, Nottingham Panthers and hometown club Cardiff Devils.
Lightning clearly benefited from that experience on Sunday, and Chinn believes the team have enough quality to challenge for silverware this term once they really click into gear.
“This is a great team we have got here and we’ve shown glimpses of that already this season,” he said. “I definitely think we can win something. The atmosphere in the team is fantastic – it’s one of the main reasons I joined the club.
“From the outside looking in, you always looked at Milton Keynes as having a great togetherness, with the players fighting for each other.
“I think Basingstoke will stay up there this season, but the top four or five are a much of a muchness really and I think we should be getting in the mix.
“We want to get our first away win of the season at Bracknell on Sunday and hopefully we’ll push on from there. But first we need to beat them at home on Saturday.”