Talbot’s trio helps Lightning see off the Steeldogs
A win and a loss for Lightning in the run up to Christmas
A fantastic hat-trick from Sam Talbot helped Milton Keynes Lightning bounce back from a home defeat at the hands of Sheffield Steeldogs on Saturday at Planet Ice.
After the 5-2 loss on Saturday Lightning headed to Sheffield for the return National Ice Hockey League fixture on Sunday and gained revenge with a 6-2 victory to end the weekend level on points with the Yorkshire side who are second in the table.
At iceSheffield Bobby Chamberlain got the show on the road with a goal after 5mins 8secs before Adam Laishram and Lewis Christie clashed with Steeldogs Lee Bonner and Jack Brammer. The result was five minute penalties for each of the fighting combatants but there was no change in the score.
Both Chamberlain and Leigh Jamieson were despatched to the sin bin in the final minute of the first period which meant MK started the second session two players down, giving Jonathan Kirk the chance to level for the hosts.
But in the middle session that was as good as it got with Talbot replying ahead of a strike from Sean Norris ahead of a goal by captain Russell Cowley with 1min 15 seconds of the period remaining.
Talbot added two more for Lightning in the third period and while Steeldogs managed one more it was not enough to prevent a 6-2 win for the visitors.
The previous evening an uncharacteristically poor opening 15 minutes cost Lightning the chance of victory against Sheffield Steeldogs and, with it, their nine match points run.
Steeldogs bagged three goals in the first seven minutes and added a fourth before the quarter of an hour was up, leaving Lightning fans hardly able to believe what they were seeing. Although MK were able to recover to take the score to 4-2 by the 28th minute they could not recover further and Steeldogs capped their win with an empty net goal with 35 seconds remaining.
A speculative shot from Thomas Palmer caught out goalie Matt Smital after just 2mins 20secs. Tyler Nixon was dispossessed by Sam Towner, who supplied Lee Bonner to fire in number two at 4mins 45secs.
Things became even worse on 6mins 54secs when Jason Hewitt made it 3-0. That spelled the end of Smital’s part in the game as he was replaced by Brandon Stones. But Bonner made it 4-0 at 14mins 57secs.
Sixty-seven seconds from the break, Mikey Power got his marching orders on a match penalty after a check to the head and a fighting call at the same time. Almost immediately there was also a bench clearance after words were exchanged between the two teams at the side of the ice.
The result of that saw Chamberlain given a five minute penalty for fighting while Steeldogs’ goalie Dimitri Zimozdra was assessed seven minutes for an identical offence.
With three seconds to the first buzzer MK finally gave the home fans something to cheer about when Sean Norris unleashed a blast that gave Zimozdra no chance.
Having survived an early second period penalty on 27mins 23secs Talbot fired in to the top right of Zimozdra to make it 4-2.
The hosts were now back in the game and in the 34th minute Talbot supplied Chamberlain for a shot that hit the goalie’s helmet, ahead of a Cowley effort that rebounded off the netminder.
Zimozdra stopped a further Talbot attempt before the period ended with Charlie Thompson having his shot saved by Stones and Lewis Christie going down to block a Hewitt drive.
In the third period with Laishram (twice), Callum Field and Jamieson were all denied by Zimozdra, while Steeldogs’ best efforts came from Bonner on two occasions.
Try as they might Lightning could not find a way past Zimozdra again and in a last throw of the dice coach Lewis Clifford called a timeout with 1min 54secs to go – Stones immediately being withdrawn in favour of the extra skater.
The gamble soon failed when Steeldogs found a way out of their zone as Hewitt threaded a pass to Towner in neutral ice for an easy shot into the empty net at 59mins 25secs to make it 5-2.