Milton Keynes Lightning 4 Leeds Chiefs 3 - Advantage lost as Chiefs go down in seven-goal thriller

LEEDS CHIEFS were left kicking themselves on Saturday night after letting a two-goal lead slip at Milton Keynes Lightning.

Sunday, 16th February 2020, 2:38 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th February 2020, 2:41 pm
OPENING SALVO: Lewis Houston opened the scoring for Leeds Chiefs at Milton Keynes on Saturday night. Picture courtesy of Mark Ferriss.

Twice they were hit with a sucker punch by their hosts within a minute of scoring on them to leave them wondering what could and probably should have been as they made their way home up the M1.

Buoyed by Friday night’s 4-3 overtime win at home to Hull Pirates, the Chiefs took a fifth-minute lead through Lewis Houston, only to be swiftly pegged back when Tomas Kana levelled for the hosts at 7.20.

Adam Barnes was rewarded for his efforts at 10.37 when he restored the visitors’ advantage and it got even better for Sam Zajac’s team when they doubled their lead through teenage winger Ethan Hehir at 17.23.

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But the Chiefs were caught being guilty of switching off immediately after scoring for the first time on the night when Lewis Clifford’s side hit back within 22 seconds, Kana’s second of the night making it a one-goal game again.

A goalless second period followed, although not for want of trying from both teams, but the Chiefs were to be floored by a costly 35-second spell in the third.

Tom Carlon levelled for the Lightning at 43.24 and the home fans’ celebrations had barely calmed down before they were on their feet again when James Griffin struck at 43.58 to put the hosts in front for the first time on the night.

It proved to be enough, however, despite the Chiefs pulling netminder Sam Gospel with 95 seconds remaining on the clock, they could not find a way back.

Adam Barnes got on the scoresheet again at Milton Keynes on Saturday. Picture courtesy of Mark Ferriss.

Elsewhere, it proved a mixed night for the Chiefs’ playoff prospects.

Raiders - the team currently sat in the eighth and final playoff spot - went down 5-3 at home to Sheffield Steeldogs, meaning the 10-point gap between them and Leeds remained the same.

But ninth-placed Bracknell Bees pulled to within a point of Raiders when they secured a 5-3 home win over leaders Telford Tigers, who continue to allow second-placed Swindon Wildcats gain ground, the Wiltshire side winning 5-3 at Basingstoke.

Ethan Hehir gave Leeds a 3-2 lead before the end of the first period, but the Chiefs could not hold on at Milton Keynes. Picture courtesy of Mark Ferriss.