It was honours even after new look Milton Keynes Lightning’s return pre-season challenge match with Guildford Flames at the Spectrum Centre on Sunday.
Following Saturday’s 5-2 win at Planet Ice Lightning went down 7-4 the following day as the Surrey outfit were aided by a large number of penalty calls on MK players with the visitors not having a powerplay until the 36th minute.
Sunday’s loss was the first game for new head coach Doug McKay who had flown into the country from Canada only hours earlier following visa delays. Milton Keynes Thunder’s head coach Lewis Clifford stepped into the breach.
On Saturday after a cagey first period in which the teams scored a goal apiece it was the hosts who upped the ante in the middle stanza and they were rewarded with a trio of strikes between the 28th and 39th minutes.
Flames took the lead on 7mins 32secs when Calle Ackered fired home from just inside the blue line while Lightning’s Martin Mazanec was sitting out a checking from Although behind penalty.
MK levelled when Joonas Huovinen and man of the match Georg Golovkovs had a hand in Trevor Morbeck’s goal on 15mins 51secs.
The go ahead goal came after 28mins 55secs following fine play which saw Huovinen feed James Griffin for a shot which was saved but not held by goalie Travis Fullerton – only for Golovkovs to follow up to score.
An interference call on Richard Krogh gave Lightning the opening for their third goal with a Trevor Morbeck and Golovkovs assisted strike from Huovinen at 37mins 54secs.
And the same player was on the mark nine seconds from the break as Flames again had a man off the ice – this time it was former Lightning captain Kevin King for slashing .
Things became even more comfortable thanks to the five on three powerplay with Kruise Reddick and Jesse Craige in the box – Morbeck the supplier for Clay Anderson to register at 45mins 51secs.
With Rio Grinell-Parke serving time for cross-checking, Flames’ John Dunbar finished off from Ian Watters and Reddick with 5mins 14secs left to make it 5-2.
The following day it was Lightning and not Flames who picked up the bulk of the penalties in a game in which the visitors edged ahead on 10mins 2secs with a short-handed goal from Morbeck, supplied by Neiley.
It took Flames just 20 seconds to reply through Erik Lindhagen before Lightning were back in front thanks to Huovinen at 15mins 48secs. Once more though the lead was short lived, with Reddick scoring on 16mins 39secs.
Over the first 14 minutes of the second period Lightning found themselves defending five on three short-handed spells on three occasions.
The pressure told on the second of those while Andreas Valdix and Radek Meidl were both serving time for hooking, Flames taking advantage as Reddick bagged his second of the game on 27mins 50secs.
Just over two minutes later at 29mins 54secs Evan Ritt made it 4-2 before Watters added another on 34mins 22secs.
Lightning’s first powerplay came as Ackered was called for holding the opponent’s stick on 36mins 58secs – the man advantage was brief though with Tim Wallace sent to the cooler for slashing only 31 seconds later. It was while the teams were four on four that Flames were to effectively put the result beyond doubt with an Abt strike 1min 46secs from the second intermission.
Adam Goss replaced Patrick Killen in the Lightning goal for the final period but it was the Brit who was picking the puck out of the net when Ritt supplied Lindhagen for a short-handed goal on 47mins 15secs.
One minute three seconds later Eric Neiley cut the deficit with Owen Griffiths grabbing a fourth goal for Lightning after 54mins 14secs to make it 7-4.