ICE HOCKEY: A STUNNING hat-trick from Blaze forward Ben Lake helped Danny Stewart’s men earn their second pre-season win at the Skydome on Sunday night against Milton Keynes.
After losing out to the Lightening just 24-hours earlier, Danny Stewart was keen to get one over the Elite League’s latest addition – and Lake’s timely goals helped his side do just that.
Newbie Vojtech Kloz made his home debut while Peterborough pair Nathan Salem and Scott Robson were also added to the Blaze line-up. Daniel Paquette missed out.
The visitors were forced into an early goalie change when Przemysla Odrobny was forced to leave the ice early after falling awkwardly just two minutes into the game.
Brett Robinson opened Blaze’s account at 14.28, though it took just a minute for Milton Keynes to level the score again when Denny Kearney scored at 15.32.
Blaze Man of the Match Ben Lake was to then score the first of his three, – making it 2-1 – at 25.13.
Lake was then hauled down in a one-on-one battle on 33 minutes, and he comfortably converted the penalty shot to double Blaze’s lead.
The visitors wouldn’t go away though. Their Man of the Match Kyle Essery scored on 34.31 to end the second period 3-2.
Brython Preece then replaced Blaze netminder Kevin Nastiuk in goal.
Gustav Ahnelov extended Blaze’s lead to two goals once more moments into the third period with a blue-line shot through traffic.
Ahnelöv’s countryman Ludwig Karlsson brought Milton Keynes back into the game though with a marker on 47.24.
But Ben Lake stole the show, completing his hat-trick at 51.16, while Essery scored a consolation goal for the visitors four minutes from time.
Danny Stewart said: “There were a lot of improvements against Milton Keynes.
“The more these guys get into game situations, the more they’ll be comfortable on the puck.
“Ben (Lake) had a fantastic game. He threw the body around, finished hits, and blocked shots.
“Pre-season has been a good test so far. Four years ago they’d be little hitting and hardly any fighting during pre-season. But these games have been close to league pace.
“The ice was good too. I didn’t hear one complaint from either team.”
Picture: Scott Wiggins Photography.