Ice Hockey - Manchester Phoenix 5-2 Basingstoke Bison - Phoenix are champions

Messenger Newspapers: - Manchester Phoenix celebrate their title win on Sunday - by Richard Amor Allan - Manchester Phoenix celebrate their title win on Sunday - by Richard Amor Allan

TONY Hand’s Manchester Phoenix clinched the English Premier League title on Sunday night as they beat closest rivals Basingstoke 5-2.

With Phoenix needing to win by a two goal margin to secure their second league title in four seasons, Hand’s side put in an excellent performance in front of an electric Altrincham Ice Dome crowd.

Man of the match James Archer opened the scoring in the first period, but the Bison responded before the first intermission to keep the teams level.

But Phoenix pushed on in the second period with goals from Robert Schnabel, Michal Psurny and Hand leaving the home side 4-2 up at the second break with only a Joe Rand reply from second placed Bison.

With Phoenix leading by the two goals required, they showed defensive resilience in the final period to restrict the Bison’s chances.

And with time winding down, Robin Kovar lofted the puck the length of the ice into an empty net to finish the game and clinch the title.

Hand’s side will now await confirmation of their opponents for their playoff quarterfinal match up after the final games this weekend. Phoenix will be hoping to retain the playoff crown they won at the end of last season.

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