Sunday evening saw the DALROD sponsored Peterborough Phantoms take on the Milton Keynes Lightning in a game that had it all – goals, hits and fights. The only thing missing for the Phantoms, unfortunately, was the 2 points at the end of the 60 minutes of battling.
The game saw the Phantoms debut their Armistice Day Commemorative shirts, and as the last Phantoms home game prior to Rememberance Sunday, it also saw Military Appreciation Day with members of the Armed Forces presented to the supporters prior to the game.
The game started in true local rivalry traditions with both teams trading hits and shots, as they looked to take control of the game. It was Lightning who struck first when a slapshot from the blueline from Petr Horava flew through traffic and past Janis Auzins in the Phantoms goal.
Lightning struck again 2 minutes later when, ex-Peterborough Phantom, Lewis Hook, skated through the Phantoms defence before firing the puck that Auzins failed to hold to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
Any thoughts of a Lightning walkover were dashed a minutes later. Edgars Apelis picked up the puck on the Lightning Blue Line and watched as Stephen Wall in the Lightning nets failed to hold onto his slapshot. A scramble of rebounds finished with Luke Ferrara finally getting the puck in the back of the net and the Phantoms fightback was on.
Four minutes later and it was all square as Darius Pliskauskas skated the puck into the high slot before firing the puck over Walls shoulder to make it 2-2.
Lightning had Chris Wiggins dismissed just before the end of the period as tempers boiled over in front of the Phantoms bench, giving the fans plenty to talk about on the break.
Two minutes into the second period and the Phantoms took the lead for the first time on the night. Pliskauskas sent a pass across the Lightning goal which found James Hutchinson unmarked at the back post with the easiest of tip-ins to make it 3-2.
Both teams kept up the momento as a one goal lead was never going to be enough to win this game. With the period clock running down, Lightning drew level on 37.40 when some good work on the boards from Blaz Emersic saw the puck sent across to the unmarked Milan Kostourek in front of the Phantoms goal to fire past Auzins and leave the game all square going into the final 20 minutes.
The third period started at a frantic pace with 2 goals in the opening 60 seconds. First to net were the Phantoms as from the opening face-off Marc Levers attacked fown the wing before finding Pliskauskas unmarked at the back post to slot the puck into the net. 42 seconds later and it was a 4-4 game as young Ben Russell broke down the wing before finding Adam Carr whose weak shot deceived Auzins.
Lightning regained the lead on 46.37 when Grant McPherson found Lightning Man of the Match Ben Russell at the top of the slot for the youngster to fire a slapsot into the top corner of the net and claim his first Lightning goal.
Edgars Bebris and James Ferrara both went close for the homeside, before Darius Pliskauskas netted his hatrick goal on 54.52 to draw the teams level once more. The Lithuanian hotshot skated around the Lightning defence before backhanding the puck over Wall with one of the goals of the season.
Whilst the Phantoms fans were still talking about Pliskauskas’ leveller, the Lightning scored the game winner on 55.36. A battle on the boards saw Kostourek break free with the puck, skate into the slot and then fire the puck over Auzins pads to secure the victory and the 2 points.
Man of the Match awards went to Ben Russell for Milton Keynes and Darius Pliskauskas for the Phantoms.