Lightning respond with Swindon win

Lightning vs Manchester. Pics: Jez Tibbetts
Lightning vs Manchester. Pics: Jez Tibbetts

Manchester Phoenix always looked to be a difficult side to beat and so it proved on Saturday when they came away from Lightning’s temporary Coventry Skydome home with all two points after handing out a 3-1 defeat.

But Lightning bounced back the following evening to win 4-3 in a hard fought game at Swindon Wildcats.

Lightning vs Manchester. Pics: Jez Tibbetts

Lightning vs Manchester. Pics: Jez Tibbetts

Manchester were in charge from almost the first buzzer to the final one, and in truth Lightning could have played for another 60 minutes and still not scored another goal.

With three confident, strong lines they took the lead on 8mins 22secs when Robin Kovar was the provider for ex Slough sniper Frantisek Bakrlik to fire past goalie Stephen Wall.

Less than minute later Kovar had a great effort blocked by Wall with Manchester looking to capitalise on their lead.

Fans probably knew it was not going to be Lightning’s night when Manchester goalie Stephen Fone failed to hold a Blaz Emersic shot in the 14th minute but then was able to recover to clear the danger.

Manchester ended the first session with an 11 shots to four advantage and although the home side stepped up a gear in the middle period they were rarely able to exert any real pressure on the Manchesterc net.

Former Lightning star James Archer was afforded too much space and time when he added to Manchester’s tally on 27mins 27secs - placing his shot wide of Wall.

The agony grew when another former MK player Jacob Corson Heron found Hand in space to make it 3-0 at 34mins 25secs.

Jokila finally gave Lightning fans some hope when he took Lewis Christie’s pass to come from behind the net and beat Fone to open Lightning’s account on 35mins 8secs.

Lighting outshot again 12-6 - Manchester seemingly content to defend their lead and Lightning unable to make much impression in front of goal.

The result was put into context the next evening when Phoenix thrashed Slough Jets 12-2 - the previous weekend Peterborough Phantoms had been Manchester’s victims in an 11-0 result.

On Sunday at Swindon it was Jokila who got Lightning off to a great start when he converted Stan Lascek’s pass to give the side the lead after 9mins 30secs - the other assist going to Wall.

Swindon got back in the game with a powerplay strike from Ryan Aldridge on 17mins 34secs while Emersic was in the sin bin for high sticks.

It took only 2mins 24secs of the second session for Lightning to get back on top as Jordan Cownie and Grant McPherson created the chance for Ross Bowers to convert.

The celebrations were short though as Wildcats made a quick reply through Sam Smith only 19secs later.

Jokila set up Adam Carr to put Lightning in front again on 31mins 42secs.

This time Lightning held on to their advantage and seized control when Lascek and Emersic had a hand in Tom Carlon’s strike on 41mins 3secs.

Although Aldridge bagged his second for Swindon at 45mins 26secs the Wiltshire outfit were unable to find another equaliser.

This Saturday Lightning host old rivals Peterborough at Coventry Skydome at 7.30pm before going to Slough for a 6.30pm face off on Sunday.