Powerplay costly to Blaze in MK defeat
Special teams were a major factor as the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze were beaten 6-1 on the road by Milton Keynes Lightning.
A penalty filled 60 minutes saw Coventry score just once from eight chances on the powerplay, MK on the other hand registering three times from their eight.
The first two for the Lighting, who were without Edward Knaggs, Alex Forbes, Matt Nickerson and Francis Verreault-Paul came early. Their Man of the Match with 4 points, Tommy Mele first scoring on a delayed penalty with the Blaze already killing a 5-on-3. The American finishing on the rebound from a Carl Hudson shot at exactly 8 minutes.
On the following two-man advantage, Hudson turned scorer, hammering home from the blue-line for 2-0 on 9.02.
As the opening period moved along, Coventry began to get a foothold in the game. With a 5-on-3 opportunity of their own, the returning Ryan Dingle made it 2-1, Adam Courchaine extending his point scoring streak to eight games putting it on a plate for his teammate. Despite, the return of Blaze's Assistant Captain, Gustav Ahenlov and Brett Robinson remained side-lined through injury. Dannick Paquette sitting out the final game of his five suspension.
Into the second period and MK found more scoring from defence, Paul Phillips beating Kevin Nastiuk with a long-range speculative effort for 3-1. The Blaze keeper then preventing the home side from making it four with a spectacular double save.
As per the first, the middle 20 was largely dominated by penalties. Dingle feeling as though he’d scored his second 5-on-3, the effort being immediately washed off by Darnell after the goal had been dislodged from its mornings.
After the eighth powerplay opportunity for Blaze had gone begging, Mele with his second made it 4-1 at 49.47. Denny Kearney the architect showing nice hands to set up his line-mate.
Mele next collected an assist as Jonathan Boxill made it 5-1 (51.05). With Brython Preece replacing Nastiuk, a third 5-on-3 goal for the Lightning completed the 6-1 rout (56.37). Kyle Essery the scorer, Mele with another helper and his 4th point of the night.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "The better team won tonight. I felt they came out with a lot more energy at home and we failed to match it. It was a tough game to play with all the calls, but I can’t fault the referee. We had some good possession at times but failed to finish. Their powerplay was better than ours tonight and that was a big difference."