MANCHESTER Phoenix 6 Bracknell Bees 3 (Agg 8-6)
Phoenix scorers: Frantisek Bakrlik x 2, Michal Psurny, Joe Graham, Tony Hand and James Archer.
THE game started with Bees flying out of the traps and putting some good pressure on Phoenix.
The home side eventually took control and dominated the period but the Bees’ defence and Alex Mettam in goal were up to their task and the period ended scoreless as Bees held on to their one goal advantage gained the previous night.
Phoenix started the second period in control but the Bees’ defence were still proving a tough nut to crack.
They finally were broken on 34.04 with a Michal Psurny goal.
Frankie Bakrlik played the puck and a lucky bounce meant that Michal Psurny was free, one on one with Mettam and the prolific striker buried the puck for 1-0. 2 minutes later Phoenix took a 2-0 lead with a Frankie Bakrlik power play goal.
Tony Hand and Michal Psurny worked together for Hand to find Bakrlik free just inside the blue line and the puck was dispatched with fearsome force past Mettam before he could react.
Phoenix made it 3-0 on 37.36 when defender Joe Graham scored a fine goal with a back hand shot.
Assists went to Tony Hand and Robin Kovar.
That ended the second period scoring and Phoenix went into the last 20 minutes of the tie with a 5-3 aggregate lead.
The Bees were never going to lie down and give up and they pulled a goal back on 45.25 with a Lukas Smital goal, however a minute later Tony Hand restored the two goal aggregate advantage with a goal through Mettam’s five hole after intercepting a defensive clearance on the blue line.
James Galazzi fired home from close range to again reduce the deficit with a goal on 52 minutes. Phoenix again came back with James Archer scoring on the power play on 54.59 but the resilient Bees again hit back with a Pavel Strycek goal.
The tie was finally settled on 57.53 when Frankie Barkrlik picked off a pass to send another rocket past Mettam and in off the crossbar.
That ended the scoring and Phoenix duly took their place in the final four in Coventry next weekend but Bees will take great credit back to Berkshire with a spirited display over both games.
Phoenix now move on to Coventry next weekend and will meet Swindon Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at 1pm.