Lightning tame Tigers in semi-final first leg
A four goal second period blitz gave Smith Recycling MK Lightning a morale boosting 4-1 victory in the first leg of the English Premier League Cup semi-final at Hull Pirates on Thursday.
But in a change to the rules this year the margin of the win will count for nothing as the two legs are decided on points, not aggregate scores – Lightning hosting Hull in the second game next Wednesday.
Lightning struck four times in six minutes around the midpoint of the game to turn the encounter on its head after Pirates had taken a one goal lead when Andrej Themar set up Nathan Salem to beat goalie Przemy Odrobny on 3mins 54secs.
Jordan Cownie had a seventh minute opportunity to level the tallies but his effort went wide before former MK stopper, Jordan Marr, had to deal with a low shot from the left wing by Tom Carlon.
Themar forced a save from Odrobny ahead of a Lewis Hook effort which went wide.
Hook was sin binned for holding but Hull were unable to add to their tally as the powerplay was ended prematurely because Pirates were caught with too many imports on the ice.
In a first period in which the shots on goal were equal at nine apiece Hull held onto their slender advantage.
That disappeared once Lightning had survived a first session hooking penalty on Crag Scott which spilled over into the second stanza. The visitors then turned up the pressure with Scott going close and Michael Farn’s blue line blast going wide.
Hook and Leigh Jamieson piled on the pressure on Marr before Frankie Bakrlik fed Scott to finally break Hull’s resistance on 25mins 36secs.
But there was no respite with Carlon having his drive stopped by Marr before Antti Hölli supplied Cownie for the go ahead strike on 27mins exactly.
If Pirates thought Lightning would let up, they were wrong and Scott bagged his second, assisted by Blaz Emersic and Bakrlik at 30mins 8secs.
The home outfit did not know what had hit them and worse was to come with Hölli setting up Hook for goal number four at 31mins 24secs.
Hull called an immediate timeout to steady the ship. Although it did so it failed to provide the turnaround they hoped for and the second period ended 4-1 in Lightning’s favour.
The third period turned out to be a fractious affair with a series of clashes kicking off with Ryan Watt doing battle with Scott followed by Carlon and Dominic Osman squaring up and Jamieson and Lee Haywood exchanging blows.
That was not the end of the affair though as Salem and Sam Jones were next to go.
None of the penalties had any effect whatsoever on the score – the game ending 4-1 to Lightning despite Hull having a late powerplay after Jones was called for holding the opponent’s stick on 57mins 25secs.