Perfect winning weekend for Phoenix

Tony Hand

Tony Hand

First published in Sport

Phoenix 4 Swindon Wildcats 3

MANCHESTER Phoenix took the maximum six points from their three game weekend with a 4-3 win over the Swindon Wildcats.

Phoenix came out of the traps like men possessed as they took the game to the Wildcats.

Top netminder Stevie Lyle was called upon to make save after save to keep his team in the game. Swindon had their chances as well, especially on the breakaway, but Stephen Fone in the Phoenix net was also up to the challenge.

Phoenix took the lead nine minutes into the game with a Robin Kovar strike on the power play as Swindon’s Sam Godfrey sat out a two minute minor for tripping.

They doubled the lead three minutes later with a first class finish by James Archer.

Tony Hand and Michal Psurny split the defence and the Phoenix coach then found Archer on the left, who curled a shot past Lyle and into the net.

With tqo minutes left on the clock in the first period, Phoenix went further ahead. Stevie Lyle made two great saves from James Archer and Frankie Bakrlik but his second save rebounded out of the crease and the waiting Tony Hand swept the puck straight back and into the net before Lyle could re-adjust.

In the last minute of the period, Luke Boothroyd was the victim of a terrible boarding by Henri Sandvik and as a result the pair came to blows.

The result was a six minute penalty for both players.

Swindon came out strong in the second period, looking to take advantage of a tiring Phoenix side who were playing their third game in as many days.

They pulled a goal back with a powerplay effort by Jonas Hoog as he took a pass from Aaron Nell at the back post and sent the puck past Fone.

Although Phoenix tired after their weekend exertions, they created the better chances in the third period, and the pressure finally told on 52 minutes when Frankie Bakrlik scored.

Swindon then threw everything at Phoenix and made it 4-2 on 55 minutes with an Aaron Nell goal.

The same player made it 4-3 with a power play as Robin Kovar was in the box, having been assessed a delay of game penalty. Despite pulling the netminder, Swindon were unable to find the net and Phoenix closed out the match.

Phoenix man of the match, Jacob Heron, said at an after match interview: “It is great to be recognised for man of the match but tonight was a real team effort and we all played our part.”

Coach Hand also commented:” I am really proud of the lads for their efforts. It was a hard game at the end of a tough three-day schedule.

“I thought we were tremendous in the first period and all credit to Swindon for coming back at us. I have, however, become bemused of late by some of the calls by officials and have asked the league to look into the officiating.

“I am getting players come to me in frustration, asking about some decisions.”

Phoenix scorers: Robin Kovar, James Archer, Tony Hand and Frantisek Bakrlik.

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