If you asked someone who has never been to an ice hockey game what they want to see most, their answer would undoubtedly be fights, big hits and goals.
Well, Milton Keynes Lightning’s last regular season home game contained all of those and more than plenty of them.
In front of a sold out Planet Ice Arena in Milton Keynes, fans were treated to a game that saw five fights, five goals, a missed penalty shot and over 50 minutes of penalties, including one exclusion and three match penalties.
Lightning took on EPIHL champions Basingstoke Bison in an attempt to finish their home regular season in a positive fashion and did so with a 3-2 win in a match they dominated.
Jordan Cownie opened the scoring for the hosts before Joe Greener equalised, Glenn Billing and Lewis Hook then made it 3-1 and Grant Rounding then netted a late consolation for the visitors.
it took just two minutes for the Buckinghamshire outfit to open the scoring as Cownie scored a powerplay goal with a slapshot into Tomas Hiadlovsky’s near pipe.
Hiadlovsky was then called into action once again three minutes later as Frantisek Bakrlik struck a slapshot from the centre of the rink to the netminder’s right.
It took 29 seconds for the first penalty of the game and the two teams decided to ‘get to know each other’ a little bit better on 11 minutes.
Firstly, Declan Balmer and fans’ favourite Grant McPherson had a fight in the middle of the rink and received 2+2 minutes penalties.
Just 12 seconds after the restart Basingstoke’s Ryan Watt and Cownie got into it up against the boards, that led to the Bison forward earning a ten-minute match penalty for fighting.
However after a good attacking spell, the visitors were level as Greener scored with a wrap around goal, skating behind Dean Skinns net and poking the puck past the Lightning netminder to level the scores on 14 minutes.
MK Lightning then spent seven of the first ten minutes of the second period on a penalty kill as Matti Jarventie received a two-minute penalty for interference, followed by a five-minute match penalty for charging after catapulting a Bison skater into the Planet Ice boards.
Two minutes later Jordan Cownie was given the chance to re-establish the home side’s lead as Lightning were awarded a penalty shot, but Hiadlovsky had other idea and saved with his pad to keep it at 1-1.
On 42 minutes fans were given exactly what they’d come for.
As the puck was dropped for a restart, Greener and Leigh Jamieson exchanged punches in the middle of the rink before the other eight skaters decided they wanted a piece of the action and a mass brawl unfolded in front of the players bench.
The brawl saw Bison’s Alan Lack given five minutes for slashing followed by an ejection from the game, with team-mates Ciaran Long, Greener and Watt given 2+2, 2+2+2 and two minutes in the penalty box apiece.
For the Lightning, Jamieson and McPherson were given 2+2 penalties each too and when order had been restored, the Milton Keynes side had a five on three powerplay that came to nothing.
Five minutes later and the hosts finally got their deserved lead as Glenn Billing scored somewhat fortunately as Bakrlik’s shot cannoned off him into the Bison net.
Not long after it was 3-1 as Cownie turned provider, shifting the puck right to Hook in a two on one with Hiadlowsky who couldn’t miss.
In a late flurry of goals, Dean Skinns allowed the travelling side back into the match as he unsuccessfully gathered the puck, gifting Rounding the chance to round the MK netminder and finish with two minutes to go.
However, the visitors couldn’t muster another as the Lightning finished on another powerplay after Joe Baird was given two minutes for cross-checking.