Lightning’s slump continues as Telford and Peterborough deal defeats

More disappointment for Lightning as they suffer another double defeat

By The Newsroom
Monday, 28th March 2022, 12:41 pm
<p>MK Lightning</p>

MK Lightning

Milton Keynes Lightning have hit a slump in form at just the wrong point of the season with the end of campaign play-offs looming in a couple of weeks’ time.

On Saturday they were outplayed and outclassed by newly crowned National Ice Hockey League champions Telford Tigers who won 7-2 at Planet Ice.

The next day in-form Peterborough Phantoms capitalised on Milton Keynes Lightning’s slump to inflict a disappointing 6-2 defeat at Bretton on Sunday with three second period goals turning the course of the game.

The nature of Saturday’s loss was particularly difficult for coach Lewis Clifford as, apart from a 10 minute period at the start of the second session, Telford dominated the game.

Sunday’s loss on the road perhaps less surprising. Despite their lowly sixth position, Phantoms are one of the form teams at present with a record matching league champions Telford Tigers of four victories from their last five outings. Lightning have lost all but one of their last six encounters.

Coach Lewis Clifford will be looking for his charges to build up some momentum going into the play-offs but that will be difficult with the final two league games against a Bees team that will be desperately seeking to secure the final post-season group place and a last day trip to Tigers.

At Peterborough Liam Stewart returned to the line up after absence the previous night to earn the man of the match award with a hard working performance but that was one of the few bright spots.

Former Milton Keynes player Glenn Billing opened the scoring for Peterborough on 6mins 51secs. There was a quick response from the visitors when Sean Norris registered unassisted exactly a minute later.

Going into the final minute of the period it looked as though the two combatants would go to the changing rooms level pegging. That was until Duncan Speirs fired past goalie Brandon Stones with 41 seconds remaining.

The middle session was 1min 46secs old when Jasper Foster stretched Phantoms’ lead to two goals. The game began to slip away from Lightning thanks to a pair of penalties on Bobby Chamberlain. The first, a roughing call at 28mins 36secs, resulted in a powerplay strike from Petr Stepanek.

When Chamberlain was sin binned for a second time in the 34th minute the hosts were able to make the most of it again as Jarvis Hunt became Phantoms’ fifth separate scorer at 35mins 53secs.

At 5-1 going into the final session, Phantoms looked on course for a win but there was a glimmer of hope for MK with captain Russ Cowley’s marker at 41mins 38secs.

Unfortunately that spark was quickly extinguished when Buglass set up Speirs for his second and Phantoms’ sixth goal on 42mins 54secs. That put paid to any fightback by the travellers.

On Saturday League champions Telford Tigers were in no mood to let up as they capitalised on a poor Milton Keynes Lightning performance to record a convincing 7-2 win.

Having been declared champions following the loss by nearest challengers Swindon Wildcats’ to Basingstoke Bison the previous evening, Telford could have relaxed. However, they didn’t and Lightning felt the sharp end of coach Tom Watkins’ team.

Apart from the opening ten minutes or so of the middle period, there was little doubt about the result as Tigers controlled most of the game.

The hosts were given a taste of things to come when Jack Watkins fired past goalie Matt Smital after just 21 seconds on his side’s first attack.

Thomas McKinnon was handed a two-minute penalty for hooking in the 11th minute, giving MK another powerplay chance. Instead, it was the visitors that caught Lightning on the break, with Joe Aston scoring at 12mins 22secs.

The game seemed to be over when Tigers made the most of a 15th minute powerplay resulting from a slashing penalty on Adam Laishram –Vladimir Luka striking for goal number three at 16mins 15secs.

Following the break Lightning seemed to have a renewed spark as Tim Wallace’s pass was smashed into the net by Norris on 22mins 34secs.

Laishram cut the gap to one goal with a shot from the right at 24mins 44secs. Telford resumed control when Luka found himself in space to pick his spot on 32mins 43secs.

Trailing by two goals to any team but Telford going into the start of the third period Lightning may have been able to overhaul the tally. However, Tigers were in no mind to let up.

Andy McKinney was given space to make it 5-2 on 47mins 58secs before Finley Howells extended the lead to four on 50mins 39secs. After Mikey Power was penalised for slashing Corey Goodison registered with a powerplay goal at 57mins 9secs.