It was welcome to the DISCO Show as Milton Keynes Lightning ended Telford Tigers’ four game winning run with a 5-2 victory at Planet Ice on Saturday.
And it was in no small part to Liam DISCO Stewart who went one better than his previous home game hat-trick by banging in four of the goals to seal the win against table-topping Tigers to put the icing on the cake for an ever-improving Lightning.
However, there was disappointment at Hull the following night when they were sunk by two Pirates third-period goals in a 5-3 loss.
Against Telford, after a goalless first period which saw both sides unable to capitalise on single powerplay chances, it was Robin Kovar who got the show on the road while the two outfits were four on four with Tom Carlon and Corey Goodison both sin-binned for cross-checking.
Cale Tanaka broke away for a two on one with the new Czech forward putting the puck away on 29mins 27secs. Stewart then made it 2-0 after 33mins 24secs.
What threatened to be a game-changing moment came when Kovar was thrown out of the game on a misconduct penalty and the rare slewing the foot call.
Lightning started the third period short-handed and despite the best efforts of Brandon Whistle who was denied by MK netminder Dean Skinns, Tigers eventually made the powerplay count when Ross Kennedy got the final touch to a shot from the point by Scott McKenzie on 42mins 38secs.
Tigers were undone after Thomas McKinnon was called for a high stick. MK said thank you very much – Stewart beating Day after the set up by Tanaka and Sam Russell on 49mins 45secs.
Tigers were not dead in the water yet though and they made the most of a powerplay after a clash between Tomas Kana and Jason Silverthorn, both given two minutes for slashing and the MK man an extra two for roughing. With the man advantage, Tigers cut the deficit to one again through Finley Howells on 50mins 59secs.
Lightning’s response was swift and decisive when Stewart danced around the Tigers’ defence to score on a wraparound for an unassisted goal less than a minute later at 51mins 49secs.
With the last throw of the dice Tigers’ netminder, Bradley Day was replaced by the extra skater inside the final two minutes – Tigers then calling a timeout which proved fruitless with James Griffin clearing the puck up the ice to allow Stewart to slot the puck into the empty net 25 seconds from the buzzer.
Lightning’s best winning run of the season was eventually ended by Hull Pirates at Kingston on Sunday. Pirates drew the first penalty with under five minutes gone when Lee Bonner was caught slashing Russ Cowley but the visitors were unable to make anything of the resulting powerplay.
Eventually it was Lightning who achieved the breakthrough when Cale Tanaka set up Tomas Kana with 2mins 23secs of the first session remaining.
It didn’t take long into the middle period for Hull to equalise – just 3mins 21secs had elapsed when Bonner beat goalie Dean Skinns. And less than three minutes later Bonner was back in the goals to put Pirates in front on 26mins 4secs.
However a cross-checking call on Steven Chalmers provided the opportunity for MK to level with the extra man as Kana bagged his second of the game.
Hull were soon back in front – thanks to a holding penalty on Tanaka which allowed former MK forward David Norris to score after 35mins 2secs. Pirates then thought they had registered a fourth only for it to be washed out, prompting protests from Chamberlain. That earned him a 10 minutes misconduct penalty – and MK a powerplay.
Once more Lightning were on equal terms when Rio Grinell-Parke and Robin Kovar had a hand in Liam Stewart’s goal on 36mins 39secs – his fifth of the weekend.
Hull once more edged in front on 44mins 26secs as Bonner added his third strike of the game.
This time there was no reply from the visitors who lost the services of Kana in the 50th minute when he received a total of 12 minutes for checking to the head and misconduct. The home team had a man advantage with 54mins 24secs gone and Jason Hewitt was able to wrap the game up within 17 seconds to make it 5-3.