Sheffield Steeldogs found themselves with a rare one game weekend – however the single game did them no favours as they suffered their sixth defeat in seven games.
The short-handed Dogs went down 2-5 at home to Milton Keynes Lightning.
They were missing the goals of Pavel Mrna along with Liam Charnock, Cole Shudra and Callum Pattison.
However, GB under 20 forward Macaulay Heywood made his debut following his release from Telford.
Looking to find some form, a good start was important but when veteran forward Blas Emersic buried the puck at 3:38, Sheffield found themselves once again chasing a game.
The bad luck continued when Tim Smith took a puck to the knee whilst killing a penalty and the Lightning capitalised on him being out of the play to score their second.
Debutant Heywood was getting around the ice, trying to make an impression but his night was cut short after a clash with Sam Jones. The MK defence man delivered a high hit and Heywood reacted by cross-checking him which earned him a game penalty.
The second period witnessed more signs of life from Sheffield – but MK added a third goal before that revival. A Bosas power play blast soon after Carr’s goal led to the most competitive period of the game. MK still out shot the Dogs 14-12 but there were signs of hope going in to the final frame.
MK looked the stronger side but Sheffield had opportunities - however a Milan Baranyk strike in the 43rd minute looked like it might have finished the contest but within three minutes Liam Kirk set up Ashley Calvert for his first goal of the season. MK finished the scoring in the 51st minute as Baranyk once again beat Hadfield.
Lightning won 5-2, outshooting the Steeldogs by 56 shots to 35. For Coach Greg Wood the challenge doesn’t get any easier with 4 games out of the next 5 away from home.
Injured forward Charnock said; “The second period tonight was really strong for us. When we play like that, that's where we will pick up points, especially against teams at the top like MK. I think we dominated for one period. We just need to find that consistency.
“There are individuals who have played well but as a team we are struggling to get going. In the second period we were supporting each other, getting chemistry going on the lines. But it's that consistency that we lack. You can see the guys want to be putting in the effort.
“I've been in this position before when you say to yourself right this is my shift, I'm going to put some energy into this and make a difference. You step on the ice and you work as hard as you can but things just don’t go your way. We just have to fight through the adversity of it. Sooner or later those good periods will combine into games and then into points”.