The Peterborough Phantoms suffered a heartbreaking semi final defeat courtesy of a late power play goal.
The game didn’t start the way the Phantoms would’ve hoped. When Nathan Pollard found himself in the penalty box inside the opening minute, Liam Stewart lashed an effort into the top corner to put MKL ahead.
But the leveller did quickly follow. Jasper Foster took a smart pass from Brad Bowering and advanced into the zone, before releasing an inch perfect wrist shot into the top corner of the MKL net.
Russell Cowley had a big chance to put MKL back in front moments later after a poor Phantoms line change, but Jordan Marr was equal to the shot from the left circle.
Next came the kind of spell in a game which doesn’t tend to happen too often. Three Phantoms goals inside two minutes saw them lead 4-1 in the opening period.
The first of those was scored by Corey McEwen, who took a pass from Jarvis Hunt in an odd man rush situation, and snapped his effort over the sprawling MKL goalie and into the net.
Ales Padelek added his name to the scoresheet just 11 seconds later, and Petr Stepanek added the fourth after more good work by Bowering, with 16:30 on the clock in the first period.
But given it was only the first period, there was still a long way to go. And that was highlighted when Sam Talbot ripped an effort past Jordan Marr to cut the Phantoms’ lead straight back down to two.
And it was a one goal game with five and a half minutes played in the middle period. Sean Norris found space in the centre of the Phantoms’ zone and lashed his effort beyond Marr after being found by Bobby Chamberlain.
MKL completed their comeback with 1:50 to play in the second period. Ex-NHL’er Tim Wallace was the man who found the net to send the teams in tied at four, ahead of the decisive third period in Coventry.
And the third period didn’t start the way the Phantoms would’ve wanted either. Adam Laishram put the Lightning ahead in the first minute of the third after circling around the net and firing past Marr.
It looked like a tall order for the Phantoms to get themselves back into the game at this stage, but they were handed a lifeline when former Phantom Ed Knaggs sat a boarding penalty.
And the Phantoms capitalised on their chance – Nathan Salem found the net from a tight angle, exposing a gap left by MKL goalie Smital.
It did feel like the next goal would win the game and that was how it turned out. When Chris Wells called Tom Barry for an alleged slashing penalty, it was Wallace who found space in the zone to send an effort agonisingly into the back of the Phantoms net.
The late goal saw the Lightning progress to the final of the NIHL Final Four Weekend, where they met the Sheffield Steeldogs. Goals from former Phantom Sam Towner; Jason Hewitt and Matt Bissonnette (2) saw the Steeldogs claim victory in the final by a scoreline of four goals to one. Our congratulations go to the Steeldogs for their victory!
FINAL SCORE: Peterborough Phantoms 5-6 Milton Keynes Lightning
4:51 (PP 1-1 MK) #95 Jasper Foster / #23 Brad Bowering / #11 Scott Robson (EHG)
14:47 (PP 2-1 MK) #71 Corey McEwen / #96 Jarvis Hunt (DPG)
14:58 (PP 3-1 MK): #93 Ales Padelek / #72 Glenn Billing (EHG)
16:30 (PP 4-1 MK) #40 Petr Stepanek / #23 Brad Bowering (EHG)
45:45 (PP 5-5 MK): #91 Nathan Salem / #93 Ales Padelek (PPG)
1:18 (PP 0-1 MK): #16 Liam Stewart (PPG)
18:16 (PP 4-2 MK): #98 Sam Talbot / #86 Sean Norris (EHG)
25:30 (PP 4-3 MK): #86 Sean Norris / #10 Bobby Chamberlain / #98 Sam Talbot (EHG)
38:10 (PP 4-4 MK): #28 Tim Wallace / #12 Mikey Power (EHG)
40:25 (PP 4-5 MK): #48 Adam Laishram (EHG)
54:09 (PP 5-6 MK): #28 Tim Wallace / #86 Sean Norris (PPG)
Phantoms man of the match: #95 Jasper Foster
MKL man of the match: #28 Tim Wallace
Photo Credit: Darrill Stoddart