Manchester Phoenix 5 Telford Tigers 4 (OT)
A GAME that had nothing at stake turned out to be a thriller at the Ice Dome on Sunday night.
Phoenix had clinched the title and Telford a play off place, but both teams went hell for leather for the win.
The visitors took the lead with a goal from Daniel Davies but Declan Ryan, who has a stellar game keeping the high-scoring Phoenix forwards at bay, was eventually beaten on 14 minutes as James Archer scored.
Telford upped their game in the second period and shocked the home side by taking the lead again. A lovely move between Richard Plant and Mika Kiviranta ended with Timo Kuuluvainen sweeping the puck home for 2-1. Phoenix fell further behind with a minute left in the period as Daniel Rose scored, assisted by Scott McKenzie and Daniel Davies.
Phoenix got the early third period goal they were looking for as James Archer hit his second of the night.
With 49.28 on the clock there was an altercation behind the Phoenix net that resulted in Michal Pavlu of Tigers receiving two minutes for boarding. Richard Bentham and Jack Watkins each received 2 minutes for roughing in the same incident which meant Phoenix would be on the penalty kill.
The Phoenix faithful need not have worried as James Archer and Tony Hand scored short-handed goals 30 seconds apart.
The first was James Archer’s hat-trick goal, assisted by Frankie Bakrlik and Tony Hand’s was a superb breakaway goal, assisted by Michal Psurny and Robert Schnabel.
Telford hit back as Mika Kiviranta made it 4-4, assisted by Richard Plant and Timo Kuuluvainen.
There was no further scoring and the game went into overtime.
The huge crowd were roaring with delight after just 60 seconds of overtime as Michal Psurny broke free and bore down on netminder Declan Ryan. A quick side step and a drag of the puck and Michal hit the net, giving Phoenix the win.
Phoenix were presented with their Championship medals and the trophy was held high by skipper Luke Boothroyd and the party began.
Highlight of the celebrations is a close thing between Robert Schnabel dancing to New York New York and the mad dive to the ice by Jacob Corson Heron all on his own as the rest of the team stopped dead to laugh.
A happy team now head for Bracknell next Saturday in the first leg of the quarter finals.
Coach Hand spoke to press oficer Jim Piper after the game and said: ”In a game that did not have anything hanging on it, I thought both teams served up an entertaining match.
“We got our goals at key times and deservedly won the game. Credit to Telford for making a game of it and fighting to the last.
“Now we will get ready for the quarter final at Bracknell on Saturday.”
Phoenix scorers: James Archer 3, Tony Hand and Michal Psurny.
- Phoenix will play Bracknell Bees in the quarter final second leg at the Ice Dome on Sunday with the usual face off at 5.30pm.