AIB Lightning brought home the win against a Bees team who, although short in numbers, were big on organisation and determination. It took a Tim Wallace finish to take both points as Lightning won 2-1.
Lightning were missing 4 players in Ben Russell, Sam Russell and Mack Stewart, along with Latvian Deivids Sarkanis who is still awaiting work permit clearance to play. Lightning’s second import slot was temporarily filled by Adam Laishram who was loaned to MK from Raiders.
The game started perfectly for Lightning as in the first shift an attacking move saw Adam Laishram work his way out to the right, cross the blue line and then send Liam Stewart in to finish with a neat backhand past Adam Goss in the Bees net. It was Stewart’s 7th goal in 3 games and at that point it looked like Bees might be in for a difficult night.
That wasn’t the case though, as Bees organised themselves well and created opportunities of their own across their team. There were particularly lively performances from Alan Lack and Juha Lundgren in attack. With less than a minute to go, Bees pulled the game back level when a turnover on Lightning’s attacking blueline eventually led to Dom Gabaj finding himself unmarked in the high slot, and he used Christie as a screen to fire home low and right past Hedley.
After that, it turned into a game of attrition, with a small flashpoint when Chamberlain took exception to a hit on Norris and checked Galazzi from behind earning himself 5+Game. In the melee that followed, Chamberlain earned an additional 5 for fighting, and there were 5s for Green, Martin and Pitchley. Lightning killed the 5 minute major comfortably.
By now, both goalies were on form, and it was going to be difficult to get anything past them. In the end, it took a moment of fortune and a moment of class. The fortune was Tim Wallace and Gabaj colliding, accidentally, at the top of the faceoff circle in the Bees zone. Gabaj went down, leaving Wallace unmarked, who was provided the puck by Norris. The class came in the finish – Wallace waited and waited for Goss to make his move, and buried the shot through Goss’ legs to make it 2-1.
Into the third and the attrition continued, with end to end action and both goalies pulling out all the stops to keep their teams in it. By the end of the game, Bees were piling on the pressure, and pulled Goss with a minute to go. Despite battering the Lightning defence, they couldn’t find a way through, and the last few seconds played out with the puck sliding up the ice out of harm’s way into the Bees end zone.
Lightning also won away at Bristol Pitbulls on Sunday, score: 2-3, making it a 4 point weekend, and taking a maximum 8 points for the start of the season.
The next home game is on 1st October when Hull Seahawks play their first fixture in Milton Keynes. Tickets available now here.
Lightning Goals: Stewart, Wallace
Man of the Match: Ross Green
Get match tickets : bit.ly/WatchMKL
Photo credit: Tony Sargent