Landmark for Leigh as Lightning stun Wildcats

Veteran fired his side ahead on his special day
Leigh Jamieson celebrated his 500th Lightning game on Saturday. Pic: Tony SargentLeigh Jamieson celebrated his 500th Lightning game on Saturday. Pic: Tony Sargent
Leigh Jamieson celebrated his 500th Lightning game on Saturday. Pic: Tony Sargent

Leigh Jamieson made his 500th appearance for Milton Keynes Lightning as they stunned second in the league Swindon Wildcats with a 5-4 victory at the Link Centre on Saturday.

Ross Green returned from injury and Grant McPherson was back after suspension but Lightning were still missing captain Russ Cowley, Robin Kovar and Brandon Stones for the only game of the weekend.

‘Jaimo’ who began his hockey career with Milton Keynes Junior Kings 25 years ago has spent most of his career with city-based teams – making his debut for the long departed senior Kings team in the 1999-2000 season and then after being a founder member of Lightning he moved to Elite League Belfast Giants and then Coventry Blaze before returning to his home club. He spent Lightning’s two seasons in the Elite competition with Peterborough Phantoms and Streatham, making another return at the start of this campaign.

It was Jamieson who put Lightning on the road to the win when he levelled on 10mins exactly after Edgars Bebris had fired Wildcats in front on the powerplay at 9mins 22secs – Lewis Christie serving two minutes for slashing at the time.

However Wildcats were to go in front one more time when Max Birbraer set up player coach Aaron Nell to beat goalie Dean Skinns at 13mins 30secs. Less than two minutes later Sam Russell was sin binned for tripping and then he was followed into the penalty box by James Griffin on a slashing call.

That put Wildcats on a two man advantage but they could not breach the MK penalty kill units with the score remaining 2-1 in Swindon’s favour at the first break.

The turning point in the game came when Wildcats were reduced to three skaters within 1min 57secs of the restart – Floyd Taylor awarded two minutes for tripping and his brother, Loris, being penalised for roughing. The visitors took full advantage – Cale Tanaka supplying Griffin to equalise at 23mins 14secs to allow the hosts one player back on the ice.

MK, still with a man extra, then struck again 40 seconds later through Harry Ferguson – aided by Sam Russell. And while the home side were still reeling from those two quick goals Rio Grinell-Parke and Taylor Dickin were involved when Liam Stewart made it 4-2 at 25mins 26secs.

Lightning were then put on the defensive thanks to a 12 minute penalty on Griffin for a check to the head and Tomas Kana seconds later being called for tripping – the five on three powerplay allowing Wildcats to pull a goal back at 29mins 30secs as Ben Nethersell set up Chris Jones to score.

The visitors held the slender one goal lead at the beginning of the third session but it did not last long due to the lethal partnership of Tomasz Malasinski and Nell finally bearing fruit – the Polish international making the pass for the Brit to beat Skinns on 41mins 8secs.

From then on both teams were often reluctant to throw men forward resulting in a number of long range shots with the first penalty of the period being incurred by MK when Griffin was given two minutes for elbows. Wildcats were kept at bay and back at full strength the game deciding goal came with Tanaka and Jamieson making the set up for Kana to edge the visitors in front on 54mins 2secs.

There was no joy for Swindon on the powerplay resulting from a slashing assessment on McPherson with just under five minutes to go and with 1min 19secs left Swindon withdrew Renny Marr from the net to ice the extra skater but they could not find the equaliser.

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