Ever-improving Milton Keynes Lightning moved up into second place in the National Ice Hockey League for the first time this season after sweeping aside Raiders in a convincing 9-2 win at Planet Ice on Saturday.
It was Lightning’s biggest win of the campaign so far and their eighth win in nine games – the only point dropped due to a penalty shot loss at Telford Tigers a few days earlier. The game was MK’s only one of the weekend.
There were seven different scorers as Raiders were torn apart with goals from all three lines. Sean Norris got the show on the road after he broke away for a solo goal at 4mins 2secs while MK were short-handed thanks to a high stick call on Sam Talbot.
Raiders ran into further trouble less than three minutes late when MK captain Russ Cowley was hauled down en route to goal. For the second week running, the hosts were handed a penalty shot which Cowley duly put beyond goalie Ethan James on 6mins 54secs.
Lightning ended the first period well in command with a 2-0 lead and they added to that total on 27mins 11secs when a well worked move involving Hallden Barnes Garner and Mikey Power resulted in a strike for Edgars Landsbergs.
Lewis Clifford’s men saw off a short-handed spell after Leigh Jamieson was given two minutes for cross checking former team-mate Rio Grinell Parke, before effectively putting the game beyond Raiders as Talbot finished off from a Bobby Chamberlain supply at 31mins 48secs.
Liam Stewart sent Adam Laishram away up the ice to make it 5-0 after 36mins 17secs and there was further misery to come for the visitors at the start of the final period, despite MK having to start a man short on a too many men penalty right at the end of the middle session.
The sixth goal was the result of another breakaway, this time by Chamberlain who was sent on his way by Lewis Christie at 41mins 44secs. That was quickly followed by goal number seven. A turnover on Raiders’ blue line ended with an unassisted Talbot strike on 43mins 45secs.
The Essex outfit must have wished they could have gone home then but they did gain some reward for the journey when import Lukas Sladkovsky found the net on 46mins 26secs following a mistake by Lightning.
The home side were not finished yet and Power was credited with goal number eight – his first for the club – the assists went to Hallden Barnes Garner and Callum Field at 49mins 12secs.
A slashing penalty for JJ Pitchley on Talbot gave MK the chance of a powerplay and they made it count as Cowley and Jamieson had the helpers on Laishram’s second goal of the night at 51mins 22secs.
The goal prompted a change of netminder for Raiders – James giving way to Tyler De La Bertouche who, in the event, only faced two shots on target.
When Aaron Connolly grabbed Raiders’ second goal on 56mins 54secs to make it 9-2 it hardly counted as even a consolation goal for an increasingly confident Lightning team.