The Flames struck first but the Lightning did all the damage that followed and cruised to a 5-2 opening challenge win over the visiting Surrey side. After killing off an early penalty, the Flames powerplay got its first look and converted the opportunity with an 8th minute Calle Ackered strike. The visitors dispatched a couple of other short-handed situations to hold the lead until late in the frame when Lightning levelled through Trevor Morbeck at 15:51. A string of stick infractions as the period closed resulted in some 4 on 4 and then a 4 on 3 Lightning powerplay, but with no further scoring the clubs settled on a 1-1 draw through 20 minutes.
Lightning jumped in front when Georgs Golovkovs netted near the midway mark. Radek Meidl tipped one in on a powerplay at 37:54 to make it a 2 goal margin and seconds from period time another extra man strike, this one by Joonas Huovinen, had the home team enjoying a 3 goal cushion to start the 3rd.
A full 2 minute 5 on 3 manpower advantage helped the Lightning extend the lead further to 5-1 with a Clay Anderson strike. Just outside the final 5 minutes Jamie Crooks netted his first goal with the club with a powerplay success to close out the 5-2 final.
“We would have liked to have been able to come away with a better result, but as we always do with challenge games we try to focus on the process and just getting a chance for everyone to get back into game action mode,” said Head Coach Paul Dixon.
“We would have liked to have played with fewer penalties for sure. It is always good to get some special teams practice in terms of PP and PK but it would have been better to keep some flow all night long and just roll over full lines to make sure we maximized everyone’s ice time.”
“It’s good to get that game out of the way and now look forward to taking a run out on Spectrum ice tomorrow night.”