Tonight’s fixture began with all the fans in the building honouring the life of Andre Payette with a minute’s applause after he sadly passed away this week..
The game opened with early pressure from Lightning which was to set the tone for the rest of the game, but it was Hull who took an early lead when a turnover led to an odd man rush. Sam Towner fed the puck to Cam Hamill, who waited and waited and then buried past Matt Smital in the MKL net. 3:03 gone and it was 0-1.
Halfway through the first, and there was a chance for Chamberlain who was hauled down and earned a penalty shot which drew a good save from Hull netminder Jordan McLaughlin at 9:44. But it didn’t take long for Lightning to finally break through. A strong pass from his own defensive zone from Leigh Jamieson up to Tim Wallace who then sent in Mack Stewart for his league debut goal at 10:50.
A few minutes later and some hard work from Sam Talbot saw him duck and dive to craft a chance. He had a pass open but rightly took the opportunity to shoot and went high over McLaughlin to make it 2-1 after 13:40. Very quickly after that it was Liam Stewart’s turn, as he grabbed his 10th goal of the season to take the score to 3-1 at 14:19 assisted by Sean Norris.
A couple of penalties made it difficult for the Seahawks towards the end of the period. Firstly, Declan Balmer received 2 mins for a cross check, which the Seahawks killed but then Sam Towner went in for the same penalty at 17:27. This time Lightning made no mistake, moving it around slickly on the powerplay and it became 4-1 thanks to Sean Norris from Bobby Chamberlain and Liam Stewart. End of the first, 4-1 to Lightning.
At the start of the second period, Lightning looked to dominate the possession and pressure on the Hull team. Hull’s Nathan Salem took a 2 minute tripping penalty at 26:13 and there was relentless pressure from Lightning on powerplay. James Griffin eventually tapped in from Jamieson and Ed Knaggs at around 27 mins to make it 5-1.
Towards the halfway point of the game, Lightning were attacking in numbers. Sean Norris finished bar down with a rifle of a shot as he, Chamberlain and Talbot came down the ice together to make it 6-1 at 30:45.
The pressure continued, and in pushing to turn round the play in the neutral zone, Mack Stewart went for the puck but tripped a Hull player and headed to the box for a 2 minute minor at 34 mins. It was a poor penalty kill from Lightning who didn’t clear their defensive zone well enough. Declan Balmer hit the post from he blue line, then later in the move Sam Towner, assisted by Nathan Salem and Balmer combined, with Towner going high over Smital to make it 6-2. 35:23. A good aggressive powerplay from Hull.
The second period ended 6-2. Into the third, and there was some tetchiness on the ice and a couple of small fights. MKL’s Bobby Chamberlain and Hull’s Lee Pollitt dropped the gloves and traded blows. Chamberlain seemed to take the win in the bout, and he also received the extra 2 mins instigation in addition to each player receiving 5 for fighting. There was further shoving later in the period when Rio Grinell-Parke was upended leading a slew of roughing penalties being handed out.
After Sam Talbot was denied on a breakaway by Mclaughlin, the scoring was finished off for the night by Zaine McKenzie who got on the end of a smooth pass from Sean Norris at 56:18. Zaine finished crisply in the top corner to make it 7-2. Ben Russell with the second assist.
It was, overall, a dominant performance from Lightning who pressured from the start and kept their organisation and shape throughout. A special mention to the Hull goaltender Jordan McLaughlin who faced 45 shots over the night and stood up well. Also thanks to Ruari McGibbon on loan from Slough who backed up Matt Smital in the Lightning net.
Lightning Man of the Match was Sean Norris, who had worked hard and was a threat throughout the night.
Ben Russell 0+1
Liam Stewart 1+1
Bobby Chamberlain – 0+3
Zaine McKenzie 1+0
James Griffin 1+0
Leigh Jamieson 0+2
Ed Knaggs 0+2
Tim Wallace 0+3
Sean Norris 2+2
Mack Stewart 1+1
Sam Talbot 1+0