MK Lightning claim a point in eleven-goal overtime thriller

    Image Credit: © Tony Sargent

    The Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning claimed a point in front of a vibrant home crowd, losing a thrilling eleven-goal game 6-5 to the Fife Flyers in overtime.

    The game sprung to life very early on, with the home side finding themselves with a man advantage after Ricards Birzins was sent to the penalty box for a holding penalty.

    The Lightning managed to get a few threatening shots in on goal but were unable to take full advantage.

    A few minutes later and the Lightning’s fortunes were reversed, with defenceman Ivan Sijan sent to the box for tripping.

    The visitors took their chance with the advantage when Carlo Finucci’s wrist shot was too fast for goaltender Patrick Killeen to reach – sending the visitors 1-0 up.

    The Lightning didn’t back down, however, and they battled back and within two minutes had drawn the game level thanks to a tipped shot, initially awarded to Andreas Valdix but later credited to Tim Wallace – with Valdix picking up the assist.

    The Flyers had the majority of opportunities in the following minutes, but the Lightning held firm and were rewarded with another power-play – this time ensuring it wasn’t wasted.

    After Paul Crowder was sent to the box for hooking, the home side worked the puck around the offensive zone before Nelson Armstrong’s shot put them ahead.

    The Lightning faired far worse in the second period, allowing three goals to the visitors, two coming from Brett Bulmer and one from Chase Schaber, sending the teams in after the break with the Flyers holding a 4-2 lead.

    The third saw the Lightning pull back within just 30 seconds, with Wallace taking the puck to the net, one-on-one with the goaltender, slotting his backhand shot into the roof of the net.

    Things became far more end-to-end at this point, with the Flyers frantically trying to break down the home side before they could bring the game level.

    But the Lightning did pull things back to 4-4 after the end of Marcus Basara's high sticking penalty.

    The power-play opportunity once again saw the Lightning add pressure to the visitors, but it wasn’t until six seconds after the advantage had ended that Armstrong sent a smooth wrist shot into the back of the net, pulling the home side level.

    Unfortunately this did not last for too long, with the Flyers picking up their fifth goal of the game just over three minutes later.

    The Flyers were given another power-play when James Griffin was sent to the box for a slash.

    This time it was Danick Gauthier that found the net, giving the visitors the 5-4 lead with just over nine minutes left to play.

    Things began to get heated late in the game when Griffin appeared to have been the victim of a late him into the door of the Flyers’ bench.

    When Griffin reacted with a slash on Gauthier, the officials sent both to the box, with both teams now playing 5-on-4 after the Lightning pulled goaltender Killeen – leaving them with an empty net.

    The Lightning were then given a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity with 55 seconds left to go, thanks to a Crowder tripping penalty.

    It was with this advantage that Robbie Baillargeon slotted home the tying goal – sending the crowd into rapturous cheering, with just 29 seconds left in regulation.

    The game was sent into overtime, but the Flyers were the ones that sealed the two points with Joe Basaraba getting the game-winning goal just under three minutes being played.

    The Lightning now travel up to Scotland to face the Glasgow Clan, with the team’s next home game coming next Saturday when the team welcomes the Sheffield Steelers to Planet Ice MK Arena.

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