Wildcats claw back against Lightning as Tigers pounce

It was a poor weekend for MK Lightning as they suffer back-to-back defeats

Monday, 1st November 2021, 11:48 am

MK Lightning

There was double disappointment for Milton Keynes Lightning on the road at the weekend with back-to-back 7-4 defeats at the hands of Swindon Wildcats and Telford Tigers.

But the encounters were games of contrasts with Lightning taking a 3-0 lead half way through before Wildcats fought back at the Link Centre. At Telford it was MK’s turn to hit back after Tigers took a 4-0 lead early in the second session.

Coach Lewis Clifford retained the line of Sam Talbot, Sean Norris and Bobby Chamberlain to start at Swindon and it soon paid dividends when all three players were involved as Talbot gave the visitors a one goal lead after 3mins 13secs.

Sam Russell gained the second assist as Talbot supplied Chamberlain to beat goalie Renny Marr to make it 2-0 on 15mins 16secs.

Things got even better for Lightning on 24mins 26secs with Chamberlain bagging his second of the game – aided by Norris and Talbot. But from then on the game turned, thanks in part, to two quick penalties on Ross Green for interference and Liam Stewart for delay of the game.

Wildcats capitalised on both calls – player coach Aaron Nell scoring his team’s first at 31mins 23secs before Sam Bullas registered the first of a hat-trick on 33mins 44secs.

Before Smital and his team-mates had chance to steady their game Bullas added an even handed effort on 35mins 23secs.

The game started to slip away from Clifford’s charges as Bullas completed his trio after 45mins 2secs and then import Emil Svec made it 5-3 90 seconds later.

Teenager Callum Field gave Lightning a glimmer of hope with a goal on 48mins 14secs to cut the deficit to one. However, it was a brief moment because Nell soon restored the goal cushion for Wildcats at 50mins 33secs.

Any ambitions MK had of a late fightback were extinguished by Balint Pakozdi’s delayed penalty goal at 57mins exactly.

A second half recovery from going four goals behind was not enough to turn the game around as Lightning went down Tigers on Sunday.

Tigers fired in three goals in the opening 11 minutes or so to leave Lightning with a mountain to climb. It was not until the 32nd minute that Sam Talbot was able to cut what was by then a four goal deficit – only for the experienced Jason Silverthorn to restore the hosts’ margin almost straight from face-off.

Tigers opened their account with a short handed marker from Silverthorn, aided by veteran Rick Plant on 1min 52secs. Joe Aston added to the tally after 3mins 57secs before a powerplay for Tigers proved costly for MK – Bobby Chamberlain given two minutes in the sin bin for holding and another two for roughing. Scott McKenzie was the provider for Plant at 11mins 13secs.

Any hopes that Lightning could quickly get their game back on track at the start of the second session were dealt a big blow within the first minute with an Andy McKinney goal at 20mins 58secs.

There was at last some joy for Lightning on 32min 20secs with Talbot, assisted by Sean Norris and Bobby Chamberlain, bagging the opener for the visitors – Silverthorn quickly replying at 32minds 58secs.

There was little joy for MK in the third session with both James Griffin and Zaine McKenzie both being consigned to the penalty box in separate boarding incidents – the latter resulting in Tigers’ sixth strike through McKenzie on 48mins 13secs.

Russ Cowley set up Adam Laishram for the travellers’ second goal on 51mins 15secs but once more netminder Matthew Smital was swiftly picking the puck out of the goal thanks to a second goal from Aston just 20 seconds later.

Two late goals from Liam Stewart on 57mins 56secs and Chamberlain exactly a minute later gave some respectability to the score at 7-4, but ultimately it was a disappointing result.