Lightning strike too early
Ice hockey - 50 per cent win rate for tough September is pleasing
This game was over by the time Phantoms woke up.
The city men were punished for a lacklustre start by their fiercest rivals as hopes of becoming the first team to beat the title-chasing Lightning quickly turned to dust.
Even their usually dependable netminder, Janis Auzins, was beaten by a couple of shots hewouldnormally be expected to keep out as Phantoms were caught cold.
Milton Keynes were in control from the moment Mikolaj Lopuski flummoxed Auzins with a blast from distance and ex-Phantoms man Craig Scottsoonputasecond goal on a plate for Frantisek Bakrlik following a breakaway just as a Phantoms powerplay ended.
And when Bakrlik lashed in a third goal during a numerical advantage for the visitors with little more than 11 minutes on the clock, the writing waswell andtruly on the wall for Phantoms.
They were much i mproved in the second session and cut their arrears when Ales Padelek lashed a shot past Przemyslaw Odrobny, while the Lightning shotstopper made fine saves to prevent Darius Pliskauskas and Connor Glossop making further inroads.
Phantoms continued to ask plenty of questions in the final period, but they wereundonebyafourthMilton Keynes goal when Milan Baranyk tipped in a Lopuski shot.
Phantomsdidreplywhen Marc Levers got a touch to a James Ferrara effort during a powerplay and the impressive Petr Stepanek was only denied a fine individual strike by Odrobny.
But it was MK who struck again when Bakrlik completed his hat-trick with an emptynetgoalwhichreferee Matt Thompson allowed to standinthefinalsecondeven though it appeared to cross the line after the buzzer had sounded.
Marc Levers in action against MK Lightning.