Lightning's Cup dreams ended by Panthers

Milton Keynes Lightning's hopes of progression in the Challenge Cup came to an end at the Nottingham Ice Arena on Wednesday.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 11:36 am
Updated Thursday, 4th January 2018, 11:42 am
Panthers vs Lightning Pic: Tony Sargent

Nottingham Panthers overcame a 2-1 deficit from the first leg of the quarter final at MK Arena to win 6-2 on the night – 7-4 on aggregate, having seized the advantage when they registered three times in 87 seconds midway through the middle period.

Panthers did not take long to level the tallies on aggregate when Kevin King was penalised for hooking in the third minute – Brett Perlini being the provider for Zack Phillips to fire past goalie Miika Wiikman on 4mins 11secs.

But Lightning were in no mood for surrendering that easily and King and Denny Kearney were involved in a fine goal from Christian Isackson after 6mins 31secs.

Panthers celebrate. Pic: Tony Sargent

That’s the way it stayed until the second session with the only penalty thereafter going to Panthers’ Dan Spang who served time for hooking in the 11th minute – Lightning twice going close on the powerplay with one shot hitting the bar.

Just 2mins 59secs into the second period Panthers were back level on aggregate again as Evan Mosey, helped by Robert Lachowicz and Robert Farmer, found the target.

This time the response from Lightning was even swifter with Kearney and Isackson involved in Evan Stoflet’s first goal for the club at 23mins 36secs.

Lightning survived a 29th minute cross checking call on Kearney before Panthers struck with a trio of goals from which there was no return for the visitors.

Panthers celebrate. Pic: Tony Sargent

Spang was the supplier for Mark Derlago after 33mins 23secs and before Wiikman and before the MK defence had time to recover, Jeff Brown registered to make it 5-4 to the home side over both legs.

The quarter final then slipped further away from Lightning when Eric Lindhagen and Yann Sauve had the assists when David Clarke fired in just 27 seconds later.

Coach Peter Russell called an immediate timeout to steady the ship and while it did that Lightning were unable to recover to score again.

Panthers had the upper hand during a powerplay resulting from a delay of the game penalty on Quin Pompi in the 36th minute but they were prevented from adding to their tally.

There was a further short-handed spell for Lightning to defend early in the final stanza when Kearney went for high sticks at 42mins 58secs but again Panther’s ambitions were thwarted.

It was not until 55mins 48secs that any lingering ambitions Lightning had were ruined as Raphael Bussieres got in on the scoring act to make it 6-2 on the night – 7-4 on aggregate.

A Lightning powerplay after Sauve was sin binned for slashing was successfully defended by Panthers who now go through to the semi-final.