A third period fightback in which Guillaume Doucet completed his hat-trick ended in disappointment for Milton Keynes Lightning when they lost 5-4 on penalty shots at Guildford Flames on Wednesday.
Doucet rounded off his trio of goals with just 34 seconds of regulation time remaining to send the encounter at the Spectrum Centre into a goalless overtime period. That meant penalties were called for and unlike on the previous Saturday at MK Arena when Lightning claimed victory with the extra shots this time it was Flames who ended victorious.
Lightning got off to a slow start and by the time they bagged their first goal through Doucet on 35mins 7secs they were already three behind.
The visitors suffered two early penalties with Jonathan Boxill called for tripping in the second minute and Doucet going for hooking in the seventh but Flames were kept at bay while a man short. Neither could Lightning do any better from a pair of penalties in the ninth and 12th minutes – Ben Davies serving time for delaying the game in a powerplay shortened by Kyle Essery’s 10th minute slashing call before Jesse Craige went for holding.
The breakthrough for the hosts came on 15mins 13secs when Craige made amends for his earlier misdemeanour by being provider for Geoff Walker to beat goalie Miika Wiikman.
That proved to be the only goal of the opening period. The second session was 4mins 19secs old when Brett Ferguson supplied Davies to make it 2-0 and the same scorer added Flames’ third after 30mins 5secs from Walker’s set up.
Lightning got on the scoresheet for the first time thanks to a holding penalty on Calle Ackered as Paul Phillips and Tommy Mele had a hand in Doucet’s powerplay strike on 35mins 7secs which took his total for the season to 23 goals.
The travellers were hit by an early final period blow when John Dunbar provided the pass for Kruise Reddick to make it 4-1. But Lightning were not finished and they rallied in the last quarter of an hour with Ed Knaggs beginning the move which saw Francis Verreault-Paul supply Doucet to make it 4-2 on 49mins 8secs, seizing on a rebound from his first shot.
A series of quick penalties on both sides saw Lightning on a powerplay going into the final 80 seconds of normal time and they did not waste the chance with Denny Kearney registering from Verreault-Paul and Doucet at 58mins 47secs.
Verreault-Paul was then provider for Doucet’s hat-trick strike 34 seconds from the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
No further goals ensued so penalty shots followed – Kearney, Verreault-Paul and Christian Isackson missing from the spot while Mikael Lidhammar claimed victory for Flames with the only successful shot.