Lightning flying high on cloud nine

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SUPER MK Lightning achieved their biggest win in three years when they destroyed Telford Tigers on Saturday, with three goals in the first nine minutes as they went on to win 9-0.

They then followed the win up with an impressive 5-2 victory at Swindon Wildcats on Sunday to secure only their third four-point weekend of the season. The results keep Lightning in touch with their rivals at the top of the English Premier League, sitting in fourth position.

The demolition of Tigers was Lightning’s best result since they beat Romford Raiders 12-1 in October 2009 – and even in that game they were unable to match the 6-0 first period lead that they achieved at Planet ice on Saturday.

There were hat-tricks for Leigh Jamieson and Kamil Tvrdek against the team sat bottom of the table, while goalie Stephen Wall recorded his first shutout in Lightning colours.

In complete contrast to the previous weekend’s game against Sheffield Steeldogs, the encounter saw not a single penalty called by referee Tom Pering.

One wondered whether the real Tigers had stayed on the team bus in the first period as their defensive strategies were almost non-existent in the first period, with Lightning able to capitalise on gaping holes up the centre of the ice.

It took just 2mins 46secs for Tvrdek to send Blaz Emersic clear up the centre – unchallenged to score past goalie Declan Ryan.

And Ryan was picking the puck out of his net again after 5mins 6secs when Jamieson went up the left to cross to Tvrdek who rifled home a first-time shot.

Adam Brittle then scored at the second attempt on 8mins 48secs, leading to an exceptionally early time out by Tigers.

What was said obviously didn’t work because less than two minutes after Lightning bagged their fourth goal when Michael Farn made a long pass out of defence to Jamieson who went solo up the centre to beat Ryan for the final time at 10mins 17secs.

Immediately Ryan was replaced by Brandon Stones, the netminder perhaps unfairly taking the blame for his team’s non-existent defence.

It wasn’t long before Stones was beaten as well, with Tvrdek providing Emersic with the pass to score at 12mins 57secs. Tvrdek soon made it 6-0 after coming from behind the net to score in the corner after 15mins 9secs.

Tigers must have had some harsh words said to them at the first break for they showed much more fighting spirit in the second period – even if it was already too late to stage a fightback.

They did at least restrict Lightning to single goal in the second session, but were let down by a lack of effective offence. The goal came after 33mins 57secs when Emersic supplied Jamieson to add his second goal.

Jamieson completed his hat-trick after 50mins 29secs before Emersic set up Tvrdek to finish his trio of goals – also doubling his scoring tally since joining Lightning – after 53mins 47secs.

Lightning left it late before they struck three times in the final six minutes at The Link Centre to beat Swindon 5-2 on Sunday.

But things did not start so well for the city outfit with Matius Perkkio setting up Aaron Nell to put Wildcats in front after 2mins 52secs.

Referee Matt Thompson penalised Ross Bowers for boarding in the 10th minute, quickly followed by a call on Wildcats’ Shane Moore for slashing.

That reduced both sides to four skaters and it was Lightning who made the most of the extra space, with Tvrdek the supplier for Emersic to level at 12mins 50secs.

Before the end of the period Adam Carr shot towards goal and Nick Poole made the deflection to put Lightning in front after 18mins 50secs.

Just after the midway point Nell assisted Lee Richardson to give Swindon a powerplay equaliser while Lukas Zatopek was sitting out an interference call.

Swindon had two powerplays before the second interval, but Lightning’s penalty kill unit remained unbreached.

Indeed there were no further goals until Swindon’s Michal Kapicka was given a two minute penalty after clashing with Emersic – Carr scoring unassisted on the powerplay at 54mins 23secs.

Even though he broke his stick, Tvrdek still managed to score to make it 4-2 less than a minute later at 55mins 3secs.

And Wildcats were finally beaten when Emersic registered unassisted at 59mins 34secs to complete arguably Lightning’s best weekend of the season so far.