Lightning see off Pirates but are beaten by Bison

Lightning celebrate their win over Hull Pirates. Pic: Tony SargentLightning celebrate their win over Hull Pirates. Pic: Tony Sargent
Lightning celebrate their win over Hull Pirates. Pic: Tony Sargent | other
A win and a defeat over the weekend for Lightning

Sensational Stewart steered Milton Keynes Lightning to a super 8-5 victory over Hull Pirates at Planet Ice on Saturday with four goals and two assists.

After bagging a hat-trick Liam ‘DISCO’ Stewart then scored an empty net goal scored while he was prostrate on the ice diving to clear the puck from his own defensive zone before Leigh Jamieson registered a further empty net strike 33 seconds later.

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But on a double header home fixture weekend visitors Basingstoke Bison brought MK’s mini winning run to an end with a 5-3 defeat the following day.

Lightning in action against Baskingstoke. Pic: Tony SargentLightning in action against Baskingstoke. Pic: Tony Sargent
Lightning in action against Baskingstoke. Pic: Tony Sargent | other

On Saturday Pirates player coach Jason Hewitt opened the scoring on 1min 55ses. But Hull’s lead did not last long - thanks to Stewart who took just two seconds to score after the visitors’ Lee Bonner was penalised for slashing - the goal coming on 4mins 36secs.

MK were short-handed when Stewart won the puck in the neutral zone and went up the left to shoot to the far side of goalie Ashley Smith at 10mins 59secs

Hull bounced back to equalise through James Archer after 13mins 26secs. Seconds later Hull were reduced to four skaters and on the powerplay Cale Tanaka put the final touch after Stewart made the supply at 15mins 21secs.

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Lightning’s second period progress was hampered by a total of 24 minutes of penalties - including 12 minutes for Taylor Dickin on a boarding call. But Stewart still scored a goal which left fans wondering “how did he do that?” The upstairs shot went to the far side of Smith for MK’s fourth at 28mins 53secs ahead of a Hull reply from Matty Davies after 32mins 5secs.

The netminders battle it out. Pic: Tony SargentThe netminders battle it out. Pic: Tony Sargent
The netminders battle it out. Pic: Tony Sargent | other

In the third period Stewart made a neat set up for Dickin to register his second goal in his Lightning career at 41mins 5secs before Hull cut the gap with a scrambled goal by Hewitt at 49mins 36secs.

Overtime loomed when Pirates drew level on 54mins 31secs as Chamberlain fired past goalie Dean Skinns. However, at 55mins 36secs, Leigh Jamieson supplied Tanaka to make it 6-5.

Hull withdrew Smith for the extra skater with 1min 38secs remaining and every home fan looked for Stewart to score the empty net deciding goal. DISCO did not disappoint - capping a stellar show with his empty netter at 58mins 58secs. Jamieson then hit a second unguarded goal at 59mins 31secs.

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There was no such joy against Bison on Sunday when the visitors’ ability to pack defenders close to the net on Lightning’s attacking moves meant MK were often restricted to shooting from the margins.

Stewart was closed down by the visitors to end the game without a point. His hockey brain is clearly not on the same wavelength as some of his team-mates – he does not have the same understanding that he had with the injured Robin Kovar with his replacement Dickin.

Possibly the best entertainment for the fans was the fight between the two netminders 25 seconds from the end of the game – Jordan Lawday and former MK tender Alex Mettam dropping the gloves for an incident which them both earn four minutes in penalties. There seemed to be no reason for the clash.

Skinns and his opposite number Dan Weller Evans then probably had the shortest shifts in their careers in replacing the combatants.

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On a penalty filled night due it was Stewart who was first to the penalty box – going for tripping on 1min 33secs but it was not until Dickin was sin binned for a face off violation and Lewis Christie followed him in for slashing that Bison scored through Sean Norris at 13mins exactly.

Bison player coach Ashley Tait shot to the far side of Lawday for goal number two at 21mins 20secs.

Lightning hit back on 24mins 36secs through Tanaka’s persistence before they had a fruitless extended five on three powerplay.

When Ben Russell was penalised for hooking Bison forged further in front with George Norcliffe defeating Lawday at 35mins 2secs.

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Home fans were briefly given hope when Dickin registered a messy goal at 49mins 56secs but it was not long before Bison restored their two goal lead when Lawday gave away a soft goal as Michal Klejna scored with a shot from inside the blue line on 51mins 29secs. Jamieson put on a turn of speed up the left and went round the net to blast home from distance to make it 4-3 at 57mins.

With a one goal deficit coach Lewis Clifford withdrew the goalie for the extra skater with 1min 34secs left and Tait was able to fire in on the empty net 54 seconds from the buzzer to make it 5-3.