Manchester Storm were sent home with defeat ringing in their ears for the second successive visit to MK Arena when Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning chalked up a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
The result – only league leaders Storm’s fourth loss in 14 league outings – was a repeat of the score earlier in October.
Storm were made to pay dearly for a two minute slashing penalty on Ryan Trenz after 2mins 53secs as Lightning went ahead on the resulting powerplay as Kevin King and Paul Phillips were involved when Denny Kearney registered 17 seconds later.
The home side’s Francis Verreault-Paul was consigned to the sin bin a minute or so later for hooking but Manchester could make no headway with the extra skater. Equally there was no impact on the tallies when Gerard Hanson went for tripping after 6mins 24secs.
Indeed it was not until 1min 5secs from the first intermission that either red lamp was lit again – and once more it was behind the Storm goal when Ludwig Karlsson defeated goalie Mike Clemente to make it 2-0. Again the provider was the impressive Paul Phillips.
Early in the middle stanza Lewis Hook had a great move on goal but he was closed down by the Storm defence before the visitors went close to scoring – the 24th minute attempt being washed out.
Lightning had another powerplay chance after Luke Moffat was sidelined for charging but this time the Storm penalty kill units stayed firm. MK were unable to do the same when Kevin Gibson, making his last appearance for the side, was called for hooking – Nate Fleming the supplier for Jay Rosehill to make it 2-1 at 34mins 16secs.
But there was a swift response from the hosts with Tommy Mele scoring his first goal for his new side 17 seconds from the interval – the assists going to King and Karlsson.
Both netminders pulled off great saves to deny their respective oppositions early in the third session before Storm reduced the arrears to one goal on 47mins 25secs when Ciaran Long, aided by Matt Stanisz and Shane Bakker, beat netminder Miika Wiikman.
Shortly after Storm were one man to the good when Ben Foster was given two minutes for slashing but there was no collapse under pressure for the hosts.
Lightning tried to turn the screw going into the final five minutes with Storm saved by the net coming off its moorings. Then, in a last throw of the dice, Storm withdrew Clemente for the extra skater – quickly followed by both coaches calling time-outs – but MK remained resolute to maintain the 3-2 score and another famous win.
Man of the match: Denny Kearney
Photo: Tony Sargent