Injury woes frustrate Lightning coach Pete Russell

Tommy Mele'Pic: Tony Sargent
Tommy Mele'Pic: Tony Sargent

Lightning coach Pete Russell is counting the cost of top flight ice hockey after a string of injuries have ravaged his side.

Lightning lost their only game of the weekend on Saturday, going down 4-3 to Dundee Stars at MK Arena, having once led 3-1.

Christian Isackson fired Lightning ahead after just 37 second, before being pegged back.

Isackson then netted again before Kevin King made it 3-1 after just nine minutes of the opening period.

Stars’ fightback though sees Lightning’s torrid run continue, not aided by injuries to key players.

“We’re having a tough time at the moment and luck hasn’t been on our side,” said Russell. “But I want to be honest about where we are with fitness.

“Tommy Mele will be missing long term with a broken foot. He got up to speed with us very quickly when he arrived in December.

“Kyle Essery is also going to be out for a while with the knee injury sustained when we hosted Coventry recently.”

Coach Russell had more upbeat news about Alternate Captain Paul Phillips, confirming that the defenceman’s recovery from a lower body injury is being assessed week-by-week.

He added: “The three guys all bring very different qualities to our group and are all huge losses.

“These things happen and we have to deal with it.”